New Delhi, Sep 29, Dutch director Anton Corbijn says his film “The American” can help boost tourism in Italy’s Abruzzo region which was hit by a natural calamity that caused multiple casualties last year. Major portions of the George Clooney-starrer were shot there.
“I met with Clooney to finalise the plans (for him) to produce and star in the movie. I remember discussing our shared hope that filming ‘The American’ would help boost the region’s economy, what with the money spent during production and the finished film encouraging tourism in the future,” Corbijn said in an e-mail interaction with IANS.
“The terrain is rugged and rocky. It’s not generally where tourists go. But it’s a wonderful area that needs preserving – beyond even the earthquake, oil drilling is harming the landscape…(But) the production firmed up its commitment to the region,” he added.
Having already topped the US box office after its release Sep 1, “The American” is hitting Indian screens Friday.
It is his third feature film after “Control” (2007) and “Linear” (2009). Corbijn, 55, says Italy was critical to pre-production planning of “The American”.
“The surroundings had to be a character in the movie. I had a clear idea of how the landscape should look, and I wanted to use towns and villages as a backdrop.
“In terms of specific Italy locales, all of us had been transfixed by Abruzzo – remote and majestic, the area has a raw environment, an honest landscape of a type that is rarely seen in movies,” he said.
A mountainous region located east of Rome, Abruzzo was hit by an earthquake in April last year. According to reports, there were over 300 casualties and 60,000 people became homeless while many parts of the ancient town of L’aquila – less than 70 miles (112 km) northeast of Rome – lay in ruins.
Abruzzo remained the preferred location and Corbijn and his team shot at places like Castel del Monte, Sulmona, Campo Imperatore there. They also canned some scenes in Rome and some parts were filmed in Sweden as well.
A big screen adaptation of Martin Booth’s novel “A Very Private Gentleman”, the film also stars Italian actress Violante Placido, Thekla Reuten and Paolo Bonacelli and is being released by PVR Pictures here.
The story revolves around Jack (Clooney), an American assassin, who retreats to the Italian countryside after a job in Sweden ends more harshly than expected. He relishes being away from death for a spell as he holes up in a small medieval town.
While there, he takes an assignment to construct a weapon for a mysterious contact. Meanwhile, he befriends a local priest and also pursues a torrid liaison with a prostitute, Clara. However, by stepping out of the shadows, Jack tempts fate.
“This is a character George hasn’t played before. It is always interesting when an actor finds something new. He’s so good with dialogue and in this movie he is playing a man of few words who is always on the lookout and constantly in a state of tension,” said Corbijn, who is also a renowned photographer and music video director.
Corbijn also had to wipe the sweat off his head while shooting steamy sequences for the first time – between Clooney and Placido.
“Directing intimate scenes was new to me. I wanted to impart a raw feeling to them, given the darkness in Jack’s character. I wanted to achieve tension and sensuality, without cutting away,” he said.
Not many know that Corbijn is also the creative director behind the visual output of popular bands Depeche Mode and U2 and has handled the principal promotion and sleeve photography for both for more than a decade.