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The ultimate Road movie


Source: London Evening Standard.
Found By: Chris1
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Thanks to Chris1 for bringing us this interview with Joe Penhall and John Hillcoat.

BEWARE OF SPOILERS!!
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Image Macall Polay.
© 2929/Dimension Films/MGM.

It has been a long wait, but finally, at the Venice Film Festival last night, the big screen version of Cormac McCarthy's The Road was unveiled. Directed by John Hillcoat and starring Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall and a youngster called Kodi Smit-McPhee, the film is an extremely faithful, disturbing but deeply moving adaptation written by London playwright Joe Penhall.

When Penhall's agent first rang his 42-year-old client and said, "They've got this Cormac McCarthy book but you're too busy and you're not interested, are you?", he could not have been more wrong. "I told him, Get me that job or I'm going to come around and shoot your family'," Penhall recalls.

It was a typically gung-ho response, especially since a number of heavyweight Hollywood screenwriters had already declared the story unfilmable. On top of that, the Coen brothers had already set the benchmark for Cormac McCarthy adaptations with their Oscar-winning movie of his No Country for Old Men in 2007. But Penhall found The Road's vision unforgettable and knew that he couldn't pass up the challenge of putting it on film.

The Road, which achieved instant cult status and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2007, is a post-apocalyptic epic about a father and son trekking southwards through a ravaged, smouldering, sunless America to which climate change has come with a vengeance. Scavenging for food, they fight off bands of raiders who have turned to cannibalism because there is nothing else left to eat. Put simply, it is the ultimate road movie.

"My favourite moments in the film are things that have the least of me in them," Penhall admits. "I love the scene where he [McCarthy didn't name his characters] shoots the guy in the head because, for a writer who lives in west London and does theatre to be able to write, You look at me again and I'm going to blow your head off ...' -- that's a load of fun."

The dialogue in that scene is taken straight off the pages of the novel. "Exactly," says Penhall, "the only way to make this film was to do it exactly as it is written. The book is dramatically well structured; it's got great characters, great dialogue, great atmosphere. The only challenge was to stick to it and not futz around with character arcs and all that shit that screenwriting gurus like Robert McKee prescribe."
Inevitably, there was if not futzing around then some rejigging during post-production, particularly the addition of an opening voiceover. "It was something I'd always wanted," says Penhall, "but the director didn't, and we agreed to try and go without it. Then later we decided to give it a go."
Quote:
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Image Macall Polay.
© 2929/Dimension Films/MGM.
Penhall, who lives in Hammersmith with his partner, Emily, and their baby son, William, has known Hillcoat for 20 years and they have been trying to work together since the mid-1990s. Hillcoat, fashionably shaven-headed, is Australian; Penhall, somewhat more hirsute, is half so: born in the UK, he grew up in Melbourne and Sydney and still speaks with a slight twang. He had admired Hillcoat's cult debut, Ghosts of the Civil Dead, and the two of them had previously tried to get a Hong Kong-set crime movie off the ground. But it was Hillcoat's film The Proposition, written and scored by Nick Cave, that triggered the meetings that led to The Road. And, once he'd had them, he turned again to Nick Cave and fellow Bad Seed Warren Ellis for the soundtrack -- and to Penhall for the script.

It was not, on the surface, an obvious choice. Penhall's forte is dialogue, which has won him numerous plaudits, including an Evening Standard Best Play award for Blue/Orange in 2000, but there is little apparent similarity between, say, the word games of that play and the street talk of the gripping and controversial TV mini-series Moses Jones, which aired on the BBC earlier this year.

Penhall also worked on the screenplay for The Last King of Scotland for several years before the producers brought in another writer and he took his name off it. Otherwise, however, his only other feature-film credits have been a 2000 film version of his 1994 play Some Voices (which starred a pre-Bond Daniel Craig), and Enduring Love, an adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel, also starring Craig, which is about as far from The Road as you can get.

"I'd just written a play which the director [Roger Michell] liked," recalls Penhall of that particular commission, "and he asked me to write the script. I fart-assed around trying to do what I thought was a film script but I had no idea what I was doing and it's all over the place."
With The Road, though, he reckons he has nailed it. "I think this has got clarity and precision; it's hard and it's sharp and it works as a movie -- a big American movie," he says, eschewing false modesty. McCarthy, apparently, agrees: Hillcoat and Penhall flew to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the novelist lives. They showed him the film. He liked it. They then spent the rest of the day in a bar.

Perhaps they talked about screen-writing: that was McCarthy's original day job before he became a novelist. Indeed, No Country For Old Men began life as a screenplay and was only turned into a novel when he couldn't get anyone to make it. I doubt he has that problem these days.
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Image Macall Polay.
© 2929/Dimension Films/MGM.
The Road will be released in North America by the infamous Bob and Harvey Weinstein, but Penhall refuses to be drawn into the familiar litany of creative outrage at the brothers' style of doing business in general and the re-editing antics of "Harvey Scissorhands" in particular. In fact, he says, the Weinsteins wanted scenes put back in rather than taken out. "I'd love to be able to say they're a bunch of idiots and they don't know what they are doing but, with this film, they largely did know what they were doing. The trailer is a stinker, obviously, and that was an unwise thing to do. But everything else is damn good."

Yes, the appalling trailer cannot go unmentioned, padded out as it is with stock shots of natural disasters that aren't in the film. Fans of the book may be surprised, too, at Charlize Theron's equal billing with Mortensen, and Penhall admits that her character -- a shadowy, dream-remembered presence in the book -- has been considerably built up. "I liked the idea of this guy haunted by his dead wife," he says. "My first great love was killed very young in a car crash and I've written about that in two of my plays, so it chimed with me. But also Charlize gives a great performance and I think we all wanted to see more of her."

The film was shot in freezing temperatures late last year in Pennsylvania and around Mount Saint Helens, the Washington peak whose top blew off in a volcanic eruption in 1980. There was little glamour about the shoot, least of all the scenes where Mortensen runs naked into the freezing sea. "The insurance company told him not to do it," smiles Penhall, "but he's mad as a snake." And Hillcoat, whom the blogosphere has portrayed as being at odds with his star, pays tribute to Mortensen's unswerving commitment. "He was down and dirty, in amongst it and very intense," says the director.

Even so, says Penhall, the shoot was hard for everyone. "Viggo was running round half-naked most of the time with nobody but a boy [the talented Kodi Smit-McPhee, aged 12 when the film was made, but already with a dozen credits to his name] for company. I was there with nobody for company, getting addicted to cheeseburgers. John was there with nobody to back him up, just a bunch of Hollywood producers who thought he was a bald weirdo from Down Under. Everybody had a tough time because we weren't making Love Actually: we were making something about deprivation and starvation and terrible weather."

Despite this, there is no doubt that Penhall prefers the balls-and-all directness of making movies in the US to the chummy, collegiate world of the UK film scene. "Over there, it's a huge industry and that's all they do, all day every day," he says, "so they're ruthlessly expedient. If they really want to make your film, they really want to pay you a lot of money and they're ruthlessly expedient in achieving that. But also if they want to fire you or drop you or just mysteriously lose you, they're ruthlessly expedient at that as well."

And here? Penhall snorts. "I directed a short film for the BBC," he says, "and the deal was that that would be a pattern for a longer film. But the BBC is so overridden with ineptitude and confusion and chaos and childish behaviour. The film department has fallen apart; it's died. I get so much more encouragement to make films in America than I do here," he says, citing an upcoming adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith novel Deep Water, set in southern California, with Mike Nicholls as director. "Shit yeah! It's a waste of time here. It's like a cottage industry."

The Road will be released on 8 January, and screened in the London Film Festival which runs 14-29 October.

© 2009 ES London Limited. Images © Dimension Films/2929 Productions.

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At Venice Film Festival, Bleakness and a Comic Edge


Source: NY Times.com.
Found By: Chris1

Thanks to Chris1 for bringing us this quote from a longer article about the movies from the Venice film festival.

BEWARE OF SPOILERS!!
Quote:
004rfoto.jpg
Image Macall Polay.
© 2929/Dimension Films/MGM.

THE ROAD This is the Australian director John Hillcoat's film version of Cormac McCarthy's novel of the same title, and he has perhaps brought from his native land some of that sense of how man can be utterly dwarfed by the vastness of an empty landscape. Except in this story, which sticks closely to Mr. McCarthy's original text, the landscape is that of a devastated and almost peopleless North America.

The continent has been reduced to a virtual desert by some unspecified cataclysmic event, which has killed off most of the population. Among the few survivors are a man (Viggo Mortensen) and a woman (Charlize Theron), whose names we never learn, somewhere in the northern part of the country.

They have a boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee), but amid the great cold that has descended, destroying every kind of animal and vegetable life, the future looks completely hopeless. The woman walks off one freezing night, never to be seen again.

Driven to survive, the man and the boy set off southward in search of a warmer climate and the slender chance that they will ultimately outlive the disaster. But the wilderness they have to traverse, shaken by earthquakes and blazing with forest fires, is also full of dangers, and in the absence of any other food cannibalism is rife.

This is a menacing, bleak, suspenseful drama shot with an almost monochrome, austere beauty, with impressive performances from both Mr. Mortensen and Smit-McPhee, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Ms. Theron. She is still a poignant presence in the unfolding journey, appearing in flashback sequences.


Read the entire article here.

© 2009 NYTimes.com . Images © Dimension Films/2929 Productions.

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'The Road' UK Website OnLine


Source: iconmovies.co.uk.
Found By: Eriko

Thanks to Eriko for the heads up!




Click here for the UK Web Site for 'The Road'.

© Icon Film Distribution UK. Images © Dimension Films/2929 Productions.

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Clips From 'The Road'


Source: Cinema Blend
Categories: The Road
Not either for the feint of heart or those trying to avoid **SPOILERS**, but these five clips from The Road are riveting. From Cinema Blend...
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Image Macall Polay.
© 2929/Dimension Films/MGM.
The film stars Viggo Mortensen as a father in a post-apocalyptic future. He's on a journey with his son through the barren, depopulated remains of what's left of the world. The few remaining survivors are hungry, and not exactly friendly.

The clips are utterly depressing and emotionally draining... but don't miss a second. The Road looks brilliant. My favorite moment in the more than ten minutes worth of footage below happens in the last clip, when Viggo and his son find food. His son gives thanks for Cheetohs, but mispronounces the name, mistakenly calling them "Cheetahs". It's a great little moment, one of many in the following footage. Watch it all, and see if you can spot Robert Duvall.


You can view all FIVE of the clips here at Cinema Blend.

© Dimension Films. Images © Dimension Films.

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Venice Press Conference Videos


Source: repubblica.it.
Found By: sidhex3
'The Road' Movie Promotion: Venice, 9-3-09
'The Road' Movie Promotion: Venice, 9-3-09
Image D. Venturelli.
© Wireimage.
Our thanks to sidhex3 for the great job on todays videos from repubblica.it.

Press conference video clips are posted @ repubblica.it.

Download them here:

Viggo padre coraggio (3.91MB, flv)
Una storia d'amore (13.4MB, flv)
Quando ti rimane solo la vita (3.63MB, flv)
Il "figlio" di Viggo (6.05MB, flv)

© 1999-2006 Elemedia S.p.A. P.IVA: 05703731009 Gruppo Editoriale L'Espresso Spa. Images © Wireimage.


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Last edited: 21 February 2018 08:25:39