Full Press Conference
The film [Anthropoid] opened the 51st Karlovy Vary International Film Festival Friday night and at a press conference the following morning, two different reporters tried to get something out of Dornan on the ‘Fifty Shades’ sequel, “Fifty Shades Darker.” The 34-year-old actor wasn’t having it as he kindly remarked, “I won’t talk about that project, because I’m not here to talk about that project.”
In “Anthropoid” Dornan plays Jan Kubis, a Czech exile that joined British Special Operations when the Nazis took over his homeland. He returned alongside Josef Gabcík (Cillian Murphy) on a covert mission to assassinate top Nazi Reinhard Heydrich, better known as The Butcher of Prague. Dornan says his decision to take the part in the prestige film wasn’t part of some grand plan he came up with following ‘Fifty Shades.’
“I don’t really view my career in that way that I’ve done this type of film or that I have to do that type of film,” Dornan says. “You’re drawn to the projects for a variety of reasons. Usually the script and a director being sort of key and a character you can relate to or bring something interesting to it. Regardless of what my project had been before ‘Anthropoid’ I would have done it. If I had done another movie about the Second World War just before I still would have done it just because I loved the script. I had just seen [Ellis’ previous film] ‘Metro Manila’ about three weeks before I was sent the script. I was desperate to work with Sean. That is what informed my decision rather than any previous work.”
Reviews for “Anthropoid” have been mixed (this writer gave it a B), and local press had some tough questions for the panel during the presser. At one point Dornan was incredulously asked whether the actions his character takes in the picture could encourage more terrorist-like acts throughout the world.
“The idea that this movie encourages suicide terrorism I think is pretty outlandish and pretty ridiculous to be honest,” Dornan says. “We made a movie about trying to stick to the facts as much as possible. People that were willing to die for their country and that’s something people still hold today in certain conflicts, but in terms of promoting that or glamorizing that I think that’s nonsense.”
Ellis, a British filmmaker who earned an Oscar nomination for his 2004 short “Cashback,” co-wrote the film’s screenplay and spent a good deal of time attempting to include as much historical detail in the storyline as possible. As you’d expect with an event that means so much to an entire country he inevitably found himself having to defend his choices.
“When you are doing a piece based on historical events you’re a detective in some respects and you are getting these key witnesses together and reading different viewpoints of a certain event,” Ellis says. “Obviously, you get different perspectives on that and there were conflicting reports on the operation. I think as someone who is going to author a new version of it you have to go with a feeling of what you feel would be the best representation for a piece of entertainment or a drama, not a documentary. In some respects you say, ‘Well, O.K., that event is kind of interesting but this is a conflicting view.’ So, you decide what avenue you need to take and you make a decision. It’s my version of it in that sense.”
He also tried to provide some perspective on why having a foreigner direct a story of such historical importance to one country can often can end up being a good thing.
“It’s an incredible story and [especially] for the Czech people because it’s part of your culture or history,” Ellis says. “I live in London, but I’ve never been up the Shard or I’ve never been to the British Museum, which is criminal really. But I know when you are in it sometimes you don’t see it or you’re blinded by it. So sometimes it does take an outsider to come in and point something out. For me I was completely in love with this story and was obsessed with it and just wanted to know how these people felt in that time.”
Murphy was notably absent from the proceedings as he’s just begun filming Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” (Ellis joked that Murphy was evacuating British troops from Dunkirk beach as he spoke). Dornan, on the other hand, didn’t seem to mind having the celebrity spotlight to himself.
“I don’t really mind where the fans are from, but the Czech people have been brilliant,” Dornan says. “I felt we got a really impassioned [response] to the movie last night from the Czech audience and I think that thrilled all of us. I am very warmed by the reception the movie has got instead of just me.”
HQ Pictures: FiftyShadesFan | Kultura
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