Wednesday, June 22, 2005

New York Times article on Vendetta

This past Sunday's New York Times has a brief article on titled From the Wachowski Brothers, an Ingenue Who Blows Up Parliament

The article rehashes most of what's already been published about the Trafalgar Square location shoot, although the article does spend some time discuss the dubious nature of V's methods. Interestingly, the article says:

The story, as told in the much-praised graphic novel, raises sharp questions about the morality of using violence to fight oppression and asks, how far would you go in the service of what you believe in? As far as the filmmakers are concerned, the film provides no easy answers, no overt message; instead, it is meant to challenge audiences to come up with their own conclusions.

This indicates the movie is striving to keep much of the comics ambivalence--something rather in contrast to what's already been leaked about the movie.

Also of note is what the article says of the titular character, and the men who have been cast to play him:

One of the biggest decisions was how to design the costume that V wears to cover a face and body ravaged by fire. (It's part of his complicated back story and has to do with his stay in a government-run concentration camp.) [Production Designer Owen] Paterson has more or less been faithful to the mask imagined by the original authors. It is a classic Guy Fawkes mask, driving home the sense in the film of a connection to a long-ago British past that can be interpreted in several different ways, depending on your point of view.

Mr. Paterson said the mask was meant to create a feeling of theater, mischief and mystery. But it proved hard to pull off as a plausible costume when filming began and a different actor, James Purefoy, was playing the title character.

After a month or so, the filmmakers decided Mr. Purefoy was not ideal for the part, and Mr. Weaving was called as an emergency replacement.

"The challenge to me was that the mask wasn't working, and I had to make it work by figuring out what I needed to do physically in each particular scene - thinking, 'what is he saying and why?' " Mr. Weaving said. (Clever lighting to suggest different facial moods helped, too). Crucially, V is never unmasked, a detail meant to show that he is more symbol than particular person.

"He isn't just a human being; he's an idea, and what he's saying and doing is more important than who he is," Mr. Weaving said. "This was more important to me as an actor than getting my face up there."

To view the full article requires online registration, which is free.

Good. Weaving understands the importance of V as a symbol, not a person. I think he'll do the role justice.
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