Urban Cinefile
"If I had to juxtapose myself with somebody, I'd probably juxtapose myself with Jeremy Irons!"  -black actor Samuel L. Jackson
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Saturday March 23, 2019 

Search SEARCH FOR A FEATURE
Our Review Policy OUR REVIEW POLICY
Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE

Help/Contact

THE DEVIL'S OWN

DEVIL OF A TIME

It took a long time and a lot of hard work to get The Devil’s Own made; at one time, even Brad Pitt wasn’t enough for the studios, as Louise Keller discovers.

"This was one of the most complex movies I have ever made," says director Alan J. Pakula. "The subject matter is so rich because there are so many different ways it can be viewed. And as much as I love filming in New York, you’re constantly fighting the weather, the people, the traffic and sometimes even City Hall. With the help of an enormously talented cast and crew, I believe we’ve met the cinematic challenges. If this movie could serve as a model for the struggle it depicts, it would be one in which all parties work unrelentingly toward creative solution."

The project had been conceived nearly a decade prior to filming and developed by producer Lawrence Gordon. "It’s been quite an odyssey over a period of nearly ten years," Gordon recalls. "This movie began as a pitch for which we hired screenwriter Kevin Jarre to write a script. He disappeared for a couple of years and came back many months overdue with a wonderful screenplay." recalls Gordon.

"I’d been sending Harrison every script I’d had for 20 years, so it was to my great pleasure and surprise when he said ‘yes’ to this one." producer Lawrence Gordon

"Brad Pitt committed to the story five years ago. But at that time, no studio thought he was bankable. Harrison had always been one of Brad’s favourite actors and Brad suggested we send him the script. I’d been sending Harrison every script I’d had for 20 years, so it was to my great pleasure and surprise when he said ‘yes’ to this one. We then set about to find a director and everyone agreed Alan Pakula was the perfect guy."

Casting Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt, two of the biggest stars in the film business created challenges. Both actors were willing to sacrifice ego to serve the story, but each wanted the fullest possible development of the character he had to portray.

"I say a star is someone who holds an audience’s attention on the screen." director Alan J. Pakula

"They are two quite remarkable actors, possibly the two greatest stars of their generations," says Pakula. "People ask me what a star is, and I say a star is someone who holds an audience’s attention on the screen, someone who involves the viewer to such an extent that he or she becomes part of the story in a way that is beyond acting. It’s a factor of personality. Each of these actors is capable of keeping an audience wide-eyed and holding its collective breath as his character moves the mystery along."

Harrison Ford, who was voted The Star of the Century by America’s Theatre Owners, had worked previously with Pakula on Presumed Innocent.

"Harrison Ford has this extraordinary decency in the characters he plays," explains the director. "He is a moral man in an immoral time. He has the ability to convey a high standard of integrity into any part,"

The ‘ordinary’ aspect of the role of O’Meara appealed to the actor. "I liked this part because it was different from any I’ve played recently," says Ford. "He’s a blue collar guy, a responsible family man whose world completely changes as a result of complications that ensue from taking this young man into his home. O’Meara is a character who is fated to play a part in this young man’s life. His life would probably continued without incident if it weren’t for the introduction of Rory, who brings with him a moral conflict that has not yet been a part of his experience. It’s like a grown son, someone you can go out and have a beer with, play a game of pool; someone who’s not a policeman."

"Tom accepts Rory because of their shared heritage, their shared faith and also a common wild side." says Margaret Colin, who plays O’Meara’s wife. " Both have this Celtic spirit of the warrior pounding inside. Each seems to instinctively understand and respect that in the other."

"I liked this part because it was different from any I’ve played recently," Harrison Ford

Brad Pitt has now become the biggest box office draw of the new generation of actors, since starring roles in Legends of the Fall, Seven, Interview with the Vampire and 12 Monkeys. Native Midwesterner Pitt knew little of the situation in Northern Ireland when he signed on for the role of Rory. "I did all the research I could," he says. "Unfortunately, the troubles in Ireland have gone on for three hundred years and I don’t think there’s any way to completely understand them if you haven’t grown up in them, but I travelled there several times. I read all the books and met with several people who had been involved in the struggle first hand." Rory sees Tom as "the father that Rory lost," says Pitt, "maybe he’s a best friend. He’s a figure that Rory looks up to."

"He’s a young man who could just stick with romantic lead parts and be adored by women…" Alan Pakula about Brad Pitt

"Brad is very courageous in what he does in this movie," Pakula relates. "He’s a young man who could just stick with romantic lead parts and be adored by women and admired by men for years. Instead he has chosen to play parts that are not exactly him. He’s spent months practicing a Belfast accent. He has an intensity and passion for his character and what the character believes in. That makes one understand, if not accept, some of the tragic actions he must take in fighting for what he believes."

 

Email this article

See Reviews








© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2019