Sigourney Weaver, two photos below, and what a treasure this actress remains!) and her assistant Tom Buckley (the ever versatile Cillian Murphy) are on their way to a supposedly haunted house to do their job: debunking phony ghosts and what-ever other would-be para-normal activity is going on.
Leonardo Sbaraglia (above), as another, noticeably less clever charlatan; and American up-and-comer Elizabeth Olsen (below), who is equally good here, with less screen time, than in either Silent House or Martha Marcy May Marlene.
Red Eye, Breakfast on Pluto, In Time -- and bringing it fully to life. This time the actor plays a character who is learning what's going on at approximately the same time as the audience is learning it too, and the effect is surprising, stunning.
Millennium Entertainment, opens this Friday in New York City at the AMC Empire 25, and in the Los Angeles area, too -- but at what theater? At this point in time, I cannot locate one. Click here, get rid of the trailer, then click on CITIES AND THEATERS to see all other currently scheduled playdates and cities.
TrustMovies sat in on a roundtable with half a dozen other movie journalists, as we spoke with writer/director Rodrigo Cortés (below, right) and his star Cillian Murphy (below, left). Cortés proved to have an excellent command of English, nicely accented via his Spanish heritage. Murphy -- with those incredibly large, luminous blue eyes and the highest cheekbones this side of the Andes -- being Irish, spoke English quite well, too. Both men were relaxed and easy, answering any and all questions, the first of which had to do with their own experiences regarding the paranormal. Both declared themselves virgins to any kind of supernatural experience.
Rodrigo Cortés: I am exemplary boring. But I wanted to explore two things in this film: the idea and possibility of the paranormal --magic which cannot be explained -- and then the idea of the hoax: lying, which is very physical, touchable. I am more interested in understanding than in believing. And it is about the understanding rather than the believing that is important to the film.
How did you become attached to this project?
CM: In the usual way, via the script. What I loved about the script was that I could not tell at all where it was going. Unfortunately, with so many scripts these days, you can easily predict where they are going.
Had you also seen Rodrigo's Concursante?
CM: You mean The Contestant? Yes. That, and Buried, together with this script, hooked me. For me it was never just a “twist” movie, because it is so much more than that. You have to just play the character as you find him and take him on that arc. It’s a story of self–acceptance and obsession.
Do you feel you are influenced by Alejandro Amenábar?
RC: Not really. I have never worked with him. But I think that, because we are around the same age, we probably have the same influences from other directors like Scorsese and Kubrick and so on.
What was it like to work with DeNiro?
CM: He and Sigourney were very giving and generous with their time and their efforts. I think people like that tend to recognize the effect that they and their status have on people like me. I mean, they are living legends. They could not have been nicer and more supportive. Consequently, you just do the work and do the acting. And then you go home that night and say, Wow--I just did a scene with Robert De Niro!
Does the movie have a basis in fact?
RC: Well, everything you see in the film is based, not on actual facts in the usual sense, but on things that have actually happened regarding the paranormal (or hoaxes about the paranormal) from the 1970s through the present time.
Do you have a fascination for certain types of characters?
CM: I just am drawn to good stories, that’s all. Every project seems unique for me. I don’t see any connecting threads.
Has your growing fame become difficult?
CM: Not at all. I think that If you behave normally, then people will treat you normally.
It seems to me you’re a very versatile actor. So I wonder if it’s a matter of your choosing roles for their versatility, or it is merely luck.
CM: The constants for me is that you have to be really brave And also that you don’t repeat yourself. If I read something and then say, I wonder if I could do that. Then I’ll want to try it.
Do you like to let your actors improvise?
RC: You work a lot on what you do an you reflect a lot. But you have to be alert, too. Movies are a learning process. If an actor tells you, Iwould prefer to switch it this way, you say, OK: Let's try that. At the end of the day it is kind of collaboration. Ninety percent of actors may not know about storytelling, or about structure. But they do know about language. That’s what they work with. That’s their material. So you’d better listen to them.
CM: It’s exactly what he said. It’s all about making dialog sound truthful.
Do you have any inclination to direct?
CM: Not for awhile. What will happen, a friend told me, is that you will get a script that means so much to you, that’s when you’ll have to do it. So far, that has not happened. In any case, they say it take 20 years to make a good actor, and I’ve only been doing it for 15. So I have a ways to go there.
If you both had one supernatural power to posses, what would that be?
RC: The ability to cut my nails properly.
CM: That was what I was going to say! No, there's nothing I'd want, really. I’m just fine with the five senses we already have.
After the roundtable, yours truly got a few minutes for a one-on-one with Rodrigo, whom I had not seen for nearly five years. We first met at a luncheon for Spanish Cinema Now, where we talked at length about his then new film Concursante. Since then, he's made Buried and Red Lights, as well as writing a script for the film Apartment 143, which we haven't seen over here as yet. He also looks totally different from when I last saw him. I could have passed him in the street and not recognized the man.