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The Road Will Open November 25

by Anne Thompson
September 9, 2009 9:36 AM
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Thompson on Hollywood

The Weinstein Co. has been moving around the release date of The Road, trying to figure out what it has. Well, post-Venice and Telluride, where the film earned mostly glowing reviews, it looks like Harvey and Bob Weinstein are going for a holiday play after all on a prime awards season spot, November 25. (The movie carries the Dimension label.) TWC was going to go wide with the movie on October 16.

It's been a long haul for the film adaptation of the 2006 Cormac McCarthy bestseller, which producer Nick Wechsler acquired before it was published. With backing from 2929 Entertainment and distributor The Weinstein Co., he approached Australian director John Hillcoat after he had made the much-admired 2005 western The Proposition, a stylishly gritty take on the genre written by Nick Cave and starring Guy Pearce and Danny Huston as estranged brothers.

For his part, actor Viggo Mortensen was anxious at the naked exposure the movie would require: the man and his boy are on their own in a world stripped of all life but for roaming bands of violent human scavengers many of whom resort to cannibalism to survive. Mortensen was also worried about finding a child actor capable of carrying it off. But Kodi Smit-McPhee fit the bill.

After a rigorous shoot which was delayed by weather around Mt. St. Helens, the movie went through a lengthy edit. Hillcoat reluctantly submitted himself to the preview process, showed the film to many filmmakers and friends, took input and notes from the Weinsteins, and finally worked his way through to something everyone was reasonably happy with, including McCarthy. While certain things were missing--too tough for live-action reality --the writer said he liked the film and asked only that four lines from the novel be reinstated.

The two parts of my Hillcoat interview are on the jump:


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