Opening tomorrow in New York City, and next week in Los Angeles, is writer/director Owen Moverman’s first movie The Messenger. The film is about two U.S. Army officers (Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson) who are responsible for notifying families when someone has died while serving our country. Foster plays an officer who has just returned from Iraq and he’s assigned to Harrelson to learn how to do the job. Through these two soldiers, we learn how military families get notified after losing a loved one in war. While the film deals with strong subject matter, I cannot recommend the movie enough. The performances are incredible across the board and it almost feels like a documentary, rather than something scripted.
One of the reasons it feels this way is director Owen Moverman didn’t rehearse the notification scenes. While the actors knew their lines and how the scene would play out, they didn’t practice how to deal with people’s reactions after hearing the news. They had to play each scene in the moment. It’s truly powerful stuff. So to help promote the film, I recently spoke to Ben Foster/Woody Harrelson as well as Samantha Morton and Director Owen Moverman. Both sets of interviews are after the jump:
Sometimes dreams really do come true and the amazing Ben Foster, one of the best actors not headline movies, is finally headlining movies. He was the only draw for me to see “Pandorum” and if the response to that movie wasn’t so overwhelmingly negative (with Foster getting a pass of “OK”), I would’ve seen it. But I’ll definitely be in line to see “The Messenger” where he plays a soldier who informs the next of kin when their loved one is killed in action. I don’t want to categorize this as an “Iraq War” movie because these soldiers have always been around but simply as a war movie which is one of the reasons I think this year’s critically acclaimed “The Hurt Locker” was so effective. With talented actors like Woody Harrelson, Samantha Morton, and Jena Malone backing him up, I hope that “The Messenger” lets studios and audiences know that Foster deserves to be on the A-list.
I hadn’t heard any casting news for “John Carter of Mars” lately. The last we heard was when Willem Dafoe happened. It was a joyous time and my worries were put to rest. But it’s been over a month since then and when you don’t hear news about “John Carter of Mars”, you worry because the project hasn’t had the easiest time making it to production. I ask director Andrew Stanton to call me on the cell phone I gave him for emergencies but I haven’t heard from him once. It makes me upset and disappointed not to mention that I’m pretty sure he’s just using it to text his friends.
But it’s a relief to hear more actors are coming on board: Samantha Morton, Dominic West, and Polly Walker. Hit the jump to find out which roles they’ll be playing.