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Battle in Seattle

Home Forums Martin on the big screen Battle in Seattle

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  • #1350
    Rachelle
    Keymaster
    #1698
    Rachelle
    Keymaster

    Article from 2007…where Charlize called Marty a “man whore.” LOL!…
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    LINK DEFUNCT:
    http://www.centredaily.com/entertainment/story/204413.html
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    Posted on Tue, Sep. 11, 2007
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    TORONTO FILM FESTIVAL — Charlize’s boyfriend makes a movie
    By RYAN PEARSON
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    For a first-time writer-director, Irish actor Stuart Townsend had an ambitious agenda: Dramatizing three days of street protest during the 1999 WTO meeting in Seattle.
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    He also had a not-so-secret weapon: his A-list girlfriend Charlize Theron.
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    This is a connected couple, as you can see when they sit down for coffee the morning after their movie “Battle in Seattle” premiered at the Toronto Film Festival.
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    Clustered in a circle around them at the Four Seasons hotel lobby is New Zealand native Martin Henderson, who stars as Jay, “Lost” and “Girlfight” star Michelle Rodriguez, and Andre Benjamin, the Outkast rapper turned actor.
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    Woody Harrelson, Ray Liotta and Channing Tatum, all of whom are also in the movie, couldn’t make it.
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    Very Hollywood, this bunch. Theron teases Henderson about exploits the night before, calling him a “man whore” – and making accompanying bump and grind motions – during a photo shoot. Rodriguez arrives wearing sunglasses indoors and sporting a hickey on the right side of her neck. Benjamin looks ready for a hipster fashion show.
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    And yet. The $10 million movie also comes with all the trappings of a smallish effort by a wide-eyed first-time filmmaker: too much backstory for key characters, a polemical and melodramatic plot, last-minute scrambles for actors and money.
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    MAKE IT PERSONAL
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    Inspired by photos of the riots in Anita Roberts’ book “Take it Personal,” Townsend spent six months writing the script’s first draft back in 2002.
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    “Charlize, she was more nervous than I was,” Townsend said. “You never know. ‘Oh my God, my boyfriend’s written a script.'”
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    He showed her the rough copy.
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    “As it was coming out of the printer, you actually got so nervous that you left the house,” Theron tells Townsend. “I was like, seriously, you shouldn’t be here. I was sitting in the kitchen and I was reading it. I said I’d read 30 pages because we had plans that night. We never made it. I finished the whole script. It was amazing.”
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    “I was really impressed. For a first draft, it had such a cohesive story, and emotionally had a beautiful arc. I was really impressed.”
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    It wasn’t ready, though. Townsend went through a second draft and says his third draft took another 1 1/2 years to complete. He began shopping it around Hollywood, aiming at independent production companies with a liberal social bent.
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    He was too inexperienced. Sure, Theron was involved, but could this guy run a set? Nobody was interested.
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    Finally last year, a Canadian production company bit on the idea.
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    STARS ALIGN
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    As Townsend began planning out the shoot, everything fell into place. Except the one element you’d think would be easiest: actors.
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    “It was hard, it was really hard,” Townsend says. “We had people waiting in the wings. But agents, managers were all like ‘Well, I’m not putting my client in until we see someone else.'”
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    Producers began making plans to shut down, Townsend says, because two weeks before the shoot was to begin, “we had no actors.”
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    Theron jumps at this. “You had me! Don’t belittle me!”
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    “I had you, but everyone’s like ‘Eh, she’s his girlfriend.'”
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    Townsend got a break when Harrelson agreed to join the cast, then Benjamin, then Liotta. Rodriguez signed on just before shooting began. The stars had aligned.
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    LIVING IN CUBA’
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    Theron was busy producing and acting in another small film called “Sleepwalking,” and ended up on set for just three of the 29 days of filming. Snow and rain disrupted filming, and a crew union in Seattle threatened to strike over pay, an embarrassment that made it into the local paper.
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    But the other actors say they were impressed by Townsend’s calm and the equal footing he gave them in creating characters.
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    “He let us play and he made us feel comfortable,” Rodriguez says. “There was this feeling of community. Sometimes you lack that. It was like living in Cuba for a while.”
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    This cracks the group up, and Henderson adds, “If we were all rich.”
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    ACTORS AS ALIENS
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    When shooting had finished, Townsend says he realized mistakes in his script: underdeveloped relationships, characters with too much backstory. He edited some out.
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    “That’s first-time scriptwriting I think,” he said. “It’s part inexperience. You think all your characters need backstories, then you realize they don’t, actually – maybe just one or two.”
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    If he had to do it over again, he says, he’d cut out more of the exposition that introduces key characters.
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    On set, Townsend says he was struck by how removed he felt from the actors, who on another set would be his colleagues.
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    “Actors are like this alien world,” he said. “I noticed that from directing for the first time. Normally when you’re an actor you come in and you get to know the crew. But when you’re directing, it’s all about your crew. And then the actors come on and they live in this magic world.
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    “They’re the magic. And then everyone on the production is these worker bees trying to make everything work for this other world.”
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    The magic world he created is still up for grabs. It’s set for release in Canada but producers still haven’t secured a distributor for the U.S.
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    Staff reporter Ryan Pearson is covering the Toronto film festival for asap. Tomorrow, he chats with Jason Reitman, the young filmmaker behind “Thank You For Smoking” and the new “Juno” – and current king of creative opening credits.
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    Accompanying photo:
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    #1722
    Rachelle
    Keymaster

    “Battle” scenes…
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    #1777
    Rachelle
    Keymaster


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    #2895
    Rachelle
    Keymaster

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