"A Mighty Heart" Director Michael Winterbottom Talks Terrorism, Angelina With RT

by | June 19, 2007 | Comments

Featuring a performance from Angelina Jolie that has already drawn praise as one of the best of her career, director Michael Winterbottom‘s "A Mighty Heart" is the latest from a director who has carved out a unique niche in the world of cinema.

Fidgeting constantly while answering questions in a quick, British monotone, Winterbottom resonates with the nervous energy of a young artist brimming with ideas but without enough time to share them all. Winterbottom‘s newest film, "A Mighty Heart," opens this Friday and is based on the book by Mariane Pearl about the frantic search for her husband, journalist Daniel Pearl, during his abduction by terrorists in 2002. Angelina Jolie plays Mariane in this harrowing real-life drama about the lengths that people will go to for the ones they love, and the labyrinthine, often life-threatening difficulties facing souls who pursue truth and compassion amidst an embattled world.

A prodigious filmmaker behind the recent "Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story" and "The Road to Guantanamo," Winterbottom has teamed up this time with Brad Pitt‘s Plan B Entertainment to craft Mariane Pearl’s story in his trademark minimalist, documentary style. Sitting down with Winterbottom for a roundtable Q&A in San Francisco, we discussed Angelina Jolie’s strong performance, terrorism, and the "Rashomon" Effect that comes with piecing together a complex story.

Q: You’ve been praised for your directorial finesse in downplaying Angelina Jolie’s celebrity status. Could you talk about how you affected that?

A: It wasn’t about me letting her do her thing. She did her thing. I suppose that’s true of all the actors. I think my part as a director is choices about people, and then you try and create the environment in which they can do their work. The starting point of the performance is that Angelina knows Mariane, she’s a friend of Mariane’s, she spent a lot of time talking to Mariane and she really wanted to be Mariane, to represent Mariane in the film. I think, then, within the film, Angelina was really trying to be Mariane on set as well, in a sense of being part of the group and being as generous and welcoming to the people, like the taxi driver from Karachi who got flown over to be the taxi driver in India, people who have no experience of acting, people in the catering crew. She was great on set. She was on set the whole time. I assume she consciously put the equivalent of Mariane on our set and made everyone feel they were all together as part of the group. She was great to work with.

Q: In writing the book, Mariane says that she wanted to continue Daniel Pearl’s goal of journalistic dialogue and mutual understanding between cultures. I wonder if with this film you have the same hopes?

A: Look, to be honest, when you’re making something, you’re engaged with just doing that story and the concrete problems of how to tell that story. I’m not a big fan personally of "the message." But I was impressed by Mariane’s book. I think it’s amazing that she’s willing to be that forgiving, to be that constructive after what’s happened. She refuses to be negative and to give in to hatred, and thinks more about what is possible to be positive about, and how maybe she can pass it on to Adam, her son, and how you can pass it on to the next generation, to be more positive about what’s going on. It’s incredibly impressive.

But I think also it’s incredibly impressive how well she tells the story, given that it’s her story, that it must be so emotional to her. that she manages to find a way of telling it incredibly clearly and interestingly. So for me, really, it was just a question of how to make this film accurate, simple, engaging, rather than what’s the message of the film. I’m not trying to think, "Well, if we make Angelina do this here then that will make this message in the end." It was more like, "Does this seem true, does this seem believable, does this seem interesting?"

Click here to read the full interview!

Tag Cloud

science fiction Peacock lord of the rings Neflix casting Rock MTV Awards Sundance TV Musical medical drama Cosplay Academy Awards Quiz Best Director The Walt Disney Company Black History Month cats news jurassic park canceled TV shows Musicals Disney streaming service Pacific Islander docudrama Lifetime Christmas movies Syfy El Rey sopranos South by Southwest Film Festival Baby Yoda TNT Fox News biopic teaser Creative Arts Emmys talk show Chilling Adventures of Sabrina scene in color Black Mirror politics VH1 Shondaland Vudu Biopics Netflix child's play 20th Century Fox PaleyFest Legendary die hard stand-up comedy based on movie superhero renewed TV shows Anna Paquin Apple Fargo police drama documentary dreamworks cancelled television venice witnail YA comic book movies IFC Films CBS GIFs 2017 E3 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards nbcuniversal hispanic heritage month sports Watching Series fresh worst movies twilight indiana jones CNN obituary biography Animation rotten movies we love Thanksgiving VICE prank comic book movie comics cars CBS All Access GoT spinoff live action Amazon Prime Western FXX HBO video ViacomCBS OneApp National Geographic diversity Wes Anderson President cartoon Comedy Central Rocketman quibi DGA Masterpiece football Trivia Superheroe universal monsters Rocky genre video on demand NBC Marathons social media sitcom Binge Guide DirecTV Pet Sematary CW Seed Adult Swim BBC hispanic Television Academy james bond VOD boxing Paramount IMDb TV chucky Tokyo Olympics 93rd Oscars Winter TV ESPN NBA directors screen actors guild Disney+ Disney Plus saw best dragons elevated horror First Look TV Sneak Peek Cartoon Network 90s blaxploitation Paramount Network hidden camera heist movie king arthur Music robots PlayStation A&E rom-coms TCM critics NYCC blockbusters werewolf BBC One Endgame dceu black olympics Ovation RT21 classics action-comedy Funimation mockumentary psycho crime thriller Nat Geo BET Awards Hear Us Out stop motion GLAAD singing competition romance TBS jamie lee curtis The Witch The Arrangement Best Picture Marvel ITV Drama LGBT screenings razzies Photos spy thriller Exclusive Video Marvel Studios feel good Writers Guild of America women Hallmark Christmas movies christmas movies spain kong BET comic Super Bowl Heroines HBO Max Amazon Studios posters Warner Bros. game show archives FX crime drama spider-verse space satire BAFTA Emmy Nominations WarnerMedia mutant romantic comedy movies disaster telelvision Epix 72 Emmy Awards godzilla 24 frames 94th Oscars hollywood Fox Searchlight transformers Disney Trophy Talk Ellie Kemper cooking marvel cinematic universe TV Land Kids & Family reviews documentaries movie Hulu Sci-Fi San Diego Comic-Con Holiday harry potter A24 comic books festival adenture anthology dc comedies black comedy cancelled Universal Pictures miniseries slasher 99% HFPA Trailer Comic Book Chernobyl Pride Month south america Comedy 007 Crackle Schedule comiccon The Academy Reality Competition TCA Awards suspense kids The Purge deadpool Film Festival worst Winners Video Games Star Trek CMT Hallmark boxoffice aliens obi wan vampires Family kaiju legend Best and Worst high school joker MGM monster movies spanish royal family Oscars streaming movies Nominations new star wars movies SDCC nature indie facebook trailers Pirates Pop Crunchyroll Disney Plus TCA 2017 Arrowverse doctor who Country SXSW 2022 zombie Infographic Summer docuseries FOX ratings Election Song of Ice and Fire WGN YouTube Premium Grammys History Tomatazos richard e. Grant SXSW Dark Horse Comics Apple TV Plus Mudbound DC Universe TLC zombies halloween tv Sundance Now live event Holidays Tarantino laika Best Actor composers Stephen King Showtime what to watch aapi TCA Winter 2020 justice league emmy awards international rt labs Starz strong female leads 2016 know your critic 2015 Awards Tour stoner spider-man Valentine's Day Brie Larson E! franchise foreign Classic Film Universal Star Wars trophy Countdown popular TCA mission: impossible Comics on TV 73rd Emmy Awards Premiere Dates MCU USA Spring TV nfl Prime Video children's TV Certified Fresh Toys Red Carpet Logo series new york Fall TV crossover 2018 blockbuster latino Elton John adventure Lifetime war young adult theme song PBS 71st Emmy Awards Spike TV movies Best Actress summer TV preview Fantasy french true crime Netflix Christmas movies Tumblr rt labs critics edition Women's History Month batman dark zero dark thirty Paramount Pictures free movies wonder woman Year in Review travel Martial Arts Christmas a nightmare on elm street Captain marvel TIFF Amazon Prime Video Film USA Network asian-american Lionsgate dexter hist mcc HBO Go Image Comics Broadway Pixar thriller political drama Spectrum Originals The CW Interview sequels remakes ghosts ID serial killer Travel Channel green book new zealand 21st Century Fox Superheroes historical drama sequel cults period drama 4/20 AMC Plus Acorn TV TV renewals natural history revenge Character Guide book adaptation Esquire Lucasfilm festivals discovery Podcast leaderboard IFC supernatural Cannes gangster Set visit animated Sundance 79th Golden Globes Awards marvel comics Mary Tyler Moore vs. rt archives Sony Pictures ABC dogs summer TV Action Opinion TruTV name the review Amazon anime Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt superman LGBTQ basketball streaming cancelled TV series ABC Family pirates of the caribbean APB award winner Alien The Walking Dead spanish language Box Office unscripted Shudder Mary Poppins Returns versus American Society of Cinematographers binge 2019 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Tubi slashers RT History target Disney Channel scary movies mob independent sag awards YouTube Red Polls and Games all-time scary japanese Horror TV One films Mindy Kaling ABC Signature SundanceTV Avengers Extras Instagram Live concert Reality Calendar DC Comics parents fast and furious dramedy Comic-Con@Home 2021 Turner Classic Movies Apple TV+ cinemax Discovery Channel 2020 japan Television Critics Association reboot golden globes tv talk cancelled TV shows X-Men 45 Ghostbusters breaking bad First Reviews australia toy story Food Network See It Skip It italian finale technology golden globe awards television Emmys game of thrones Oscar debate halloween Teen streamig 2021 Columbia Pictures book art house YouTube Nickelodeon BBC America criterion Marvel Television MSNBC Focus Features psychological thriller canceled Tags: Comedy adaptation Bravo Turner toronto rotten Rom-Com New York Comic Con Britbox FX on Hulu Freeform scorecard critic resources Walt Disney Pictures Mary poppins Pop TV 1990s summer preview cops Paramount Plus crime OWN AMC king kong Mystery DC streaming service