|by Mel Valentin
Ryan Reynolds’ career trajectory has taken him from light comic roles on television and on film (e.g., "Two Guys, A Pizza Place, and a Girl," "Van Wilder") to romantic comedy lead ("The Proposal") to more challenging, if underseen dramas ("Chaos Theory," "The Nines") and, next summer, headlining a big-budget comic-book adaptation, "Green Lantern." Before Reynolds signed on to "Green Lantern,"a role likely to catapult him to the A-list, Reynolds took the lead in "Buried," a one-character, indie-financed suspense-thriller written by Chris Sparling (the upcoming "ATM" and "Reincarnate" for M. Night Shyamalan) and directed by Rodrigo Cortés ("Dirt Devil," "The Contestant," "Dentro").
I interviewed Reynolds and Sparling earlier this week when they flew in to San Francisco for the "Buried" press tour. Here's what I learned:
1.Introducing Chris Sparling: Who? Sparling, an actor-turned screenwriter, has worked as a screenwriter for 13 years before seeing Buried, an original screenplay, made into a film. He was the only screenwriter on Buried.
2. Length of Shoot: Cortes and Reynolds shot Buried over 17 days in Spain (standing in for Iraq). It was Reynolds’ shortest shoot in his career in front of the camera (not counting television, of course). It was also the most intense of his career. Once you see Buried, you’ll agree.
3. Why Iraq? Why 2006? Sparling wanted to make a film about a subject, non-mercenary, U.S. contractors in Iraq and the very real risk of kidnapping by Iraqi insurgents that he felt received little media attention. He chose 2006, one of the worst years in the U.S. occupation of Iraq (due to insurgent attacks on U.S. forces and inter-ethnic violence).
4. One Character, One Coffin, No Flashbacks, No Exterior Shots: Sparling resisted suggestions by Buried’s producers to add flashbacks, exterior shots (of the attack on an American convoy), and reaction shots to “open up” the film.
5. Conroy’s Guest Changed From Earlier Drafts: Sparling wanted an action scene without leaving the coffin. Sparling considered spiders and ants before settling on a non-insect, non-arachnid “special guest star” for Conroy.
6. The Ending is the Ending: The ending audiences saw this past January at the Sundance Film Festival, the Toronto Film Festival recently, and now theatrically is the ending Sparling wrote. He rejected the producers’ suggestions to change the ending.
7. Future Projects (Reynolds): Reynolds has multiple projects in development, but two are a go, The Change Up, a body-switching R-rated comedy co-starring Jason Bateman and Olivia Wilde, and Safe House, a suspense-thriller co-starring Denzel Washington. After Reynolds completes Safe House, he’ll move on to either R.I.P.D., a supernatural-themed actioner based on a comic-book series, or Deadpool, the big-screen adaptation of the Marvel Comics character, the “merc with a mouth,” Reynolds played all too briefly in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It’s either/or, though, not both. And if Green Lantern proves to be the mega-hit Warner Bros. expects, Reynolds will return for the sequel.
8. Future Projects (Sparling): One of Sparling’s scripts, ATM goes into production within weeks. On the strength of Buried, M. Night Shyamalan recently tapped Sparling to write the script for Reincarnate, a supernatural take on Twelve Angry Men initially developed by Shyamalan.
link directly to this feature at http://www.efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=3080
originally posted: 09/25/10 04:34:02
last updated: 09/25/10 04:37:47