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Mystic River - Laurence Fishburne and Brian Helgeland



Compiled by: Jack Foley

Q. Your role is intriguing because it is the outsider to all this, so that's obviously attractive in itself. But was there a sense of remaining the outsider when you were shooting? Was there a sense of sort of keeping yourself away from the characters?
A.
Not necessarily, no, I mean we were all sort of together, we were playing together, and Whitey, although he is removed from the familial situation, he's not a complete foreigner, in as much as he's a partner to Kevin Bacon, and that's a kind of marriage. He's privy to the goings and comings of people in this community; he's just not as deeply affected, because it's his work, so his objectiveness comes from the fact that it's a job to him, investigating this murder, he's not personally involved.

Q. What did you make of Clint Eastwood's directing style, and was it different from what you imagined, or exactly what you expected?
A.
I echo everything Tim has said and would only add that it is incredibly civilized working for Clint Eastwood. Quite often on movies, you end up working 18 hours, or 21 hours, but we never had any days like that; we started at a decent hour and we finished at a decent hour. It was a familial situation, so they had a kind of shorthand and welcomed us all into it, and made us all very comfortable.
But really, the most inspiring aspect was watching Clint work as a director and learning from him. His ability to be prepared and to know exactly what he wants, but also to make room for things that were going to happen, for happy accidents, and his composition style.
I would watch him composing and thought it was really beautiful that he was able to do it in almost an improvisational way on the spot.
So he has this very disciplined work ethic, but it's also an inventiveness. He's kind of like Bill Evans playing piano - he's got classical feeling, a great sense of swing and real poetry.

Q. What did you think about shooting in a very authentic location, and what do you think it gave the film?
A.
In Lehane's book, and Brian's translation of it, Boston is on the page, it was really authentic, even on the page, so it created a kind of texture.

Q. What do you think about the new governor of California?
A.
All I can say is that the man has got exactly what he wanted. He has really been after a position in politics for a very long time, so he's got what he wanted, and he told us all that he'd be back!

Brian Helgeland

Q. You had adapted a previous novel with Clint Eastwood, what was the brief to you when you got this?
A.
First was just to read it, and then we just had a talk about it, like two people who had read the same book. I think we responded to a lot of the same things, in different ways, which was good for both of us. It was after I had done a draft that we got into refining it and all that.

Q. What did you think about shooting in a very authentic location, and what do you think it gave the film?
A.
I think that's what really nailed it for me, that I could kind of slip into the rhythms of the dialogue I grew up with. I kind of recognised the place when I read the book.

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