Premiering at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival was director Sergio Castellitto‘s Twice Born. Based on the novel of the same name by Margaret Mazzantini, the film stars Penelope Cruz as a single mother who returns with her teen son to present-day Sarajevo where her son’s father (Emile Hirsch) died during the Bosnian conflict of the 1990s. As she tries to repair the relationship with her son, new revelations force her to rethink everything. The film also stars Mira Fulran and Jane Birkin and you can watch the first trailer here.
Before the world premiere, I landed an extended video interview with Hirsch. We talked about premiering at TIFF, why he signed on for the role, how the finished film compares to the script, his research, and more. In addition, with Hirsch about to start filming Peter Berg‘s Lone Survivor (which films in Mexico for three months), he discussed how he’s getting ready for the role, David Gordon Green‘s Prince Avalanche, and Speed Racer. Hit the jump to watch.
- Hirsch liked the script well enough during his first read. Then he got to the sex scenes that he would shoot with Penelope Cruz, and knew he would do the movie. “First and foremost as a dude, I was like, ‘Okay, yes.’” The quality of the writing/talent attached is a bonus.
- 2:00 – Tells a story about Margaret Mazzantini—the director’s wife and author of the source novel—picked out his entire wardrobe.
- 3:00 – There are sequences that are in the book that didn’t make it to the movie. But by and large the movie is faithful. Hirsch praises Mazzantini’s poetic prose.
- 4:00 – Hirsch thinks the finished movie is better than the script. The script is a great blueprint.
- 4:50 – He did very little research. He read about the war, but he practiced the mood and energy of the character moreso than creating a character background. He also did a lot of painting, which helped him develop the character. He got oil paint all over the floors, and the hotel threatened to kick him out.
- 7:50 – The character is very positive and happy. He enjoyed the process, which allowed him to be in a good mood all day. It helped that the character’s motivation for this happiness is clear in the movie.
- 9:20 – Talks about the TIFF experience.
- 10:00 – Talks Lone Survivor. They start shooting in a couple weeks. He is playing a SEAL, so he has done a lot of training at the gym and a lot of running.
- 11:00 – Director Peter Berg has given them books to read and philosophies to consider to get into the role.
- 11:30 – The Lone Surivor shoot is about three months in Mexico.
- 11:45 – Talks Prince Avalanche. Hirsch hasn’t seen a rough cut yet because director David Gordon Green wants to show it on the big screen. Says it’s a very different kind of performance from Paul Rudd.
- 12:20 – Says, “In a perfect world, we’ll take [Prince Avalanche] to Sundance.” They wrapped a couple months ago.
- 13:10 – Talks about the reputation of Speed Racer four years later.