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Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca Talk Controversial 'Captain Phillips,' Rating, 'Fifty Shades of Grey' UPDATED

Interviews
by Anne Thompson
October 18, 2013 5:17 PM
1 Comment
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Tom Hanks as "Captain Phillips"
Tom Hanks as "Captain Phillips"

De Luca: Dakota Johnson [the daughter of Melanie Griffiths and Don Johnson] was in "The Social Network." She has a scene with Justin Timberlake, who's pretty charismatic and holds the screen like a movie star. What we noticed about Dakota is that she held her own with him. It is a short scene but it's Aaron Sorkin's writing and she delivered the lines like she'd been doing Sorkin, we thought, for years and she had kind of an old soul quality to her skillset for that early in her career. When you get to know her in person she does remind you of Anastasia in the books, a young woman but also kind of an old soul and you feel there's kind of a mystery there to be solved. The film starts shooting in November.

Audience: Where were the scenes in Somalia actually filmed?

De Luca: Morocco. We used Moroccans.

Audience: All the external scenes were done in a real environment. What about the scenes inside the boat? How much of that was built and how much was real location?

Brunetti: It was all real. Every ship, CIC, everything was all real, it was all Maersk. Our only sets were the interior of the lifeboat and the control center who calls for help, with the woman who says, "They're probably fishing." That was a set.

Audience: I want to commend you on the lack of profanity. Kids can go see it and have a wonderful time.

Brunetti: If you're making "Goodfellas," something that needs to be true to a certain environment, that's one thing. But we just felt that the story was a little bit sacred ground because of what happened and what people have gone through and who has suffered and what the price was for everyone who went through this experience and we just wanted to treat it with integrity. Paul is a humanist with a great big heart.

Audience: I'm curious about Captain Phillips himself. I assume from a psychological standpoint that writing the book might have been a cathartic experience, but has he seen the movie? From a medical standpoint I can imagine some PTSD. Has this been a healing process?

Brunetti: He has seen the movie multiple times. I can't speak for him as far as how it has affected him. One of the guys that work for me, he saw it for the first time in New York, he had a motorcycle accident about a year ago and the only thing he remembered was waking up in the hospital. He watched the movie and by that last scene, afterwards he was hyperventilating outside and he remembered the medics talking to him on the ground. It brought it all back to him. So it does have that effect on people.

De Luca: I always got the impression that the healing happened privately with the family. Whatever catharsis happened by the time he and his family visited our set. When we were shooting the Vermont scenes in Massachusetts, he was driving funny, he was cracking jokes, he didn't seem upset by anything. He was tickled by the fact that this movie was being made with Hanks and at the screenings in the lobby you talk to him, he cracks jokes. He's just very humble, dryly funny and has been really a joy to deal with and I think whatever catharsis that needed to happen happened privately with the family but way before we started pursuing the movie. I think the book probably was a big part of getting it out of his system, and also just getting back to sea. He went back to sea right after, so he just got back on the horse. We wanted him to come out here to see the film in LA but he couldn't. He was going back to sea and wanted to spend time with his family. That's just what he does.

Audience: I'm curious about the green leaves that the Somalis used. Could you tell us about that?

De Luca: It's really an herbal hallucinogenic and they were going through pretty bad withdrawal by the time the fourth day happened, and it contributed to the hysteria on the lifeboat, and the window to negotiate was closing. You start to go through pretty harsh withdrawal.


1 Comment

  • belatedadvice | October 19, 2013 9:20 PMReply

    Captain Philips is a horrible title for a movie. It sounds like the guy those apocalyptic kids were waiting for in Mad Max, Beyond the Thunderdome.

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