The nice thing about writing an intro to an interview with Russell Crowe and Christian Bale is I donít have to explain who they are. I really donít think there is a person on this planet that couldnít identify at least one of them.
So rather than give their background, how about what ď3:10 To YumaĒ is about.
The film stars Russell Crowe, Christian Bale, Peter Fonda, Gretchen Mol and Ben Foster, in a modern take on the classic Western short story by Elmore Leonard. The film was directed by James Mangold (WALK THE LINE) and produced by Cathy Konrad, from a screenplay by Halsted Welles, Michael Brandt & Derek Haas.
In Arizona in the late 1800's, infamous outlaw Ben Wade (Crowe) and his vicious gang of thieves and murderers have plagued the Southern Railroad. When Wade is captured, Civil War veteran Dan Evans (Bale), struggling to survive on his drought-plagued ranch, volunteers to deliver him alive to the "3:10 to Yuma", a train that will take the killer to trial. On the trail, Evans and Wade, each from very different worlds, begin to earn each otherís respect. But with Wadeís outfit on their trail Ė and dangers at every turn Ė the mission soon becomes a violent, impossible journey toward each man's destiny.
A little while ago I posted a number of movie clips, so in case you missed them you can click here.
During the short press conference, the two of them talked about the challenges of filming in freezing conditions, location filming, and the special relationship between a man and his horseÖ.
As always, you can either read the transcript below or download the audio as an MP3 here. And since I wonít be transcribing the other interviews I was able to participate in for the movie, hereís the links to the audio for Peter Fonda and Ben Foster, writers Michael Brandt/Derek Haas and director James Mangold and producer Cathy Konrad.
ď3:10 to YumaĒ opens everywhere this Friday.
BALE: Morning all, I recognize a number of faces here (to Crowe) Iíve had to do Rescue Dawn just recently.
BALE: Iím like a regular right now.
Q: Youíve played American roles before, but were you surprised to be asked to be in a western?
BALE: Not for a second, no.
CROWE: No, it didnít surprise me. Iíd spent quite a bit of time with Jim Mangold about six years ago. I didnít realize that he was spending time with me Ė I was recording an album in the studio at the time, and he was spending time with me because he was prepping Walk the Line. I didnít realize that at the time, but we became conversational friends. So when he sent me the script I read it and I enjoyed the dynamics between the two characters, so thatís basically decision made, you know.
Q: Russell youíre known as an actor who does a lot of research and preparation for period roles, whatís the real story of the level of work you put into things like this?
CROWE: Well, I think we should decide not to talk about preparation just this once, because then it just all becomes about the preparation and not about the movie. The thing is, I was working on another movie right up Ďtil this, and then promoting another film in Europe, so I didnít really do that much preparation, but as you may know I have a working farm, so thereís a lot of things on this movie thatís just part of my day to day.
Q: Would it be okay to ask if there was anything from the other western you did, The Quick and the Dead, that also applied here?
CROWE: I had the good fortune of working with a guy called Thell Reed who was an armorer on Quick and the Dead in a period in my life where Iíd never actually touched a handgun, so he utilized that, put a lot of information in my head because he didnít have to get past things that my dad had taught me incorrectly, or my uncles had taught me badly, as he finds with a lot of American actors when he works with period guns. So it was just a matter of taking that same information and refreshing it in my mind and then changing the style of how this particular guy killed people.
Q: Can you guys talk about being in New Mexico and filming on location and also working together?
CROWE: Youíve been silent for awhile Batman - Iím going to do that all day you know.
BALE: I was kind of guessing that. New Mexico, I donít really Ė now that I think about it I have no recollections of Santa Fe particularly, but the canyons, being out in the high desert, that was nice; being out, riding your horse, shooting your guns, thatís a lot of fun.
CROWE: It was really cold.
BALE: It got to be bloody freezing, especially some of the night shoots; it got cold.
CROWE: Terrifyingly cold
BALE: We had the worst winter storm in recorded history came in.
CROWE: And we were surrounded by four and a half feet of snow doing scenes that talk about the drought. It was one of those sort of movie experiences.
BALE: And he (meaning Crowe) was just a real bastard to work with.
CROWE: And Peter Fonda started something that I think SAG should pick up on. One day he actually said that he couldnít act in period costume, on location, below 13 degrees.
BALE: Which is superb, Iím having that put in my contracts.
CROWE: I reckon SAG should work on it, because I reckon thereís - like you shouldnít do Shakespeare in a draughty hall in tights below, say, eight degrees, there should be a whole scale.
Q: Christian, you had just come from a very uncomfortable location for this when you were shooting Rescue Dawn, was that more uncomfortable than this one or was this one a little more challenging for you?
BALE: I kind of like movies where I just get to just be dirty and crawling in the mud, Rescue Dawn it was all very primordial stuff, and with this one it was all about wearing the same clothes day after day and getting sweaty and dirty and sun exposure, and itís meant to be like that; westerns are meant to be dirty, they shouldnít be all nice and clean. And I like getting my hand dirty.
Q: Russell did you like the fact that the bad boy had a conscience?
CROWE: I didnít really read it that way. Heís just very efficient at surviving whatever situation that heís in. The end result is an example of that. Obviously that group of men that heís gathered together, theyíre probably a little dangerous now, so letís just move on and clean the slate.
Q: Iím from Equestrian News so I have to ask a horse question
(both actors nay and Crowe hits the desk with his hand like a horse would count with his hoof)
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