Deliverance, John Boorman’s breathtaking exploration into the nature of man, is easily one of the most profoundly upsetting and nihilistic films ever made. What on the outset appears to be a simple man vs. nature tale (four men on a weekend getaway attempt to conquer a soon-to-be-extinct river valley) reveals itself to be far more complex – for it isn’t so much men fighting the untamed natural world but a discovery that they are one and the same. Stripped of their loved ones, their jobs and their material possessions, the quartet are forced to confront that deep down they are the beasts, no more civilized than the wild rapids they travel across. Civilization: merely a mask to a hide their base amorality.
Forty years later, Deliverance is just as disturbing (and downright brilliant) as it was upon release. It is the definition of timeless. To celebrate the forty-year anniversary and in conjunction with the re-release of the film on Blu-ray, Warner Brothers invited us interview the primary cast (Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox). In the following interview, Burt Reynolds discusses the ‘rape scene’ auditions, Jon Voight reenacts Boorman’s long one-shots and Ned Beatty & Ronny Cox weigh in on how their novice acting backgrounds affected the group dynamics in the film, among many other topics of conversation. Hit the jump to watch.
Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ronny Cox and Ned Beatty Time Index:
- 00:00 – Was there ever a sense during the making of Deliverance that the film was something special and would one day be regarded as the classic it’s become?
- 00:50 – Jon Voight reflects on first seeing footage from the film.
- 01:50 – Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox weigh in on how their backgrounds affected the group dynamics of the film.
- 03:40 – Ned Beatty contrasts Boorman’s vision from the novel on which it was based.
- 04:20 – Ronny Cox analyzes the thematic undercurrents of the picture.
- 05:20 – Burt Reynolds regales Herbert ‘Cowboy’ Coward’s audition tale for Deliverance.
- 06:48 – Jon Voight discusses working with John Boorman and his penchant for long takes.