We catch up with the director of one of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s final films…
A MOST WANTED MAN is an espionage thriller based on the novel of the same name. The film stars Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, Robin Wright and is one of the final movies made by Philip Seymour Hoffman before his death earlier this year. Below director Anton Corbijn talks about making the thriller which hits Irish cinemas this week.
Can you tell us about your adaptation of A MOST WANTED MAN? Anton Corbijn: We are dealing with a world that has changed so much since 2001. We judge people very quickly, everything has to be black or white. I feel this is something that is affecting all of our lives. I don’t always stick to exactly what’s on the page, I always listen to people who have more experience than me. But if they are not right, I won’t listen to them. Bovell wrote most of the script in Australia, I find it much easier to reach to the writing on the page. Once it’s finished I try to make it a little bit more mine. That’s the nature of how I work.”
The look of the film is quiet, cold and really fits well with the film, was this the direction you were going for? AC: I wanted the film to be autumnal in its look, with the colour palette of the autumn leaves. Philip wanted the summer off. So I told him to push for that with the producers!
What was it like working with Philip Seymour Hoffman? AC: Philip Seymour Hoffman is the best actor I have ever worked with. He brought so much to the role of Bachmann. He is Bachmann. To me, although it is to an extent an ensemble piece, Bachmann was always the main character and Philip made it undeniably his film. Interesting to observe how he also took really good care of his team off screen.
The female characters are very strong, did you have this in mind when casting? AC: In almost every situation, those are the people who are in the movie. Robin’s role is an important one and she was perfect for it, and Nina Hoss is fabulous and often understated. There was a really good camaraderie between her and Philip”
And what about the other characters, did you find them hard to cast? AC: Issa was a hard one to cast, Grigoriy was a good find. It’s great to find someone people don’t know. If you want to get goods to certain parts of the world, maybe you have to use middlemen who may be involved in other things. He is aware of that but I don’t think he means to support their other activities, Homayoun is a lovely man. It is a very dignified performance and he brought a real class to the role. You can see he has a good heart.
A MOST WANTED MAN is at Irish cinemas from September 12th 2014