“Buried”: Interview to star Ryan Reynolds and director Rodrigo Cortés
Posted 30 enero, 2011on:
<<< Extracts of the interview made by Peter Hall on September 2010 to Ryan Reynolds and Rodrigo Cortés. There, they talk about why Ryan rejected the project at first but then accepted to do it. Why Cortés chose Reynolds for his movie, something that he has no regrets. And what they think of each other >>>
“Buried” star Ryan Reynolds and director Rodrigo Cortés on setting an entire movie inside a box
By Peter Hall Posted Sep 28th 2010
(…)There are films that, regardless if you feel you’d be interested in the subject matter, demand attention based solely on their technical merits. “Buried” is one such film. Directed by Spanish filmmaker Rodrigo Cortés, written by Chris Sparling, and starring Ryan Reynolds, ‘Buried’ is one of the most unique films you’re likely to see in a theater all year long. Why? It’s 95 minutes of Reynolds trapped in a coffin. Sure, he talks to people on the surface via a cell phone, but the camera never actually leaves the coffin.
(…) How did each of you come to the project originally? It seems like a wonderful, rare alignment of the universe.
Cortes:- I was sent the script because it had been around Hollywood for a year, and everyone loved it but they thought it was impossible to shoot and produce so no one intended to do a movie with it. I was sent it just to consult because they didn’t think it could be done.
I asked what it was about and they said, “A guy in a box for 94 minutes,” and I was instantly interested. I told them to send it right away. Immediately when I read it I thought of Ryan. It was a one-man show so you need the perfect actor with endless runs of emotions.
When I saw ‘The Nines’ three years ago I discovered an actor that was able to do the most comedic and sensitive and emotional things with the smallest of details —
Reynolds:- He and my mom saw that movie.
Cortes:- [laughs] Well I thought he had the perfect sense of timing. It’s alien. So when you intend to do a movie with such few elements you need that. It’s about nuance and pace and rhythm. It has to be music, like a symphony, it cannot be linear. It’s more like a roller coaster, so you need that control.
So I sent it to him ready for the “No!”, which I immediately received.
Reynolds:- That’s sort of true. I was sent the script and was told that this was something… I hate to bring up the business end of all of this crazy sh*t wheel merry-go-round we all work in to the table, but I, like most actors, have an agent and he had to read it first. And he loved it and he doesn’t like anything. He absolutely loved it so he sent it over and I read it. It was a pretty brisk script, a scant 79 pages or something like that, so I read through it and thought it was the most amazing, terrifying piece of writing I had ever read and it got into me in ways that I didn’t expect.
So I said no, I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to ruin the great thing I just read by jumping into a movie that’s impossible to shoot. It’s impossible. No one can make this film!
So that’s the feedback that got back to Rodrigo, and the next thing I got in the mail was just a letter a couple of pages longer than the script. And that letter was the most passionate, committed letter I’d ever read, and the most convincing. I think after reading it in the back of my mind I was already in, but he flew out and we had a lunch that lasted all of 40-minutes and then we just shook hands and said, “Let’s go get ‘Buried’ “.
I think it’s a great story just because that is not how sh*t gets done in Hollywood. Stuff gets done through a very elaborate, bureaucratic system that you wouldn’t believe – much like Paul’s dilemma in this movie. So I just like that this all happened over a handshake in a cafe in L.A. No one discussed anything about anything, we just wanted to do the movie together and two months later we were ‘Buried.’
(…) Since everything was a logistical nightmare, was there one particular thing you were dreading to do and then you got to it and realized, “Oh, well that was easy”? Or was the entire shoot a nightmare?
Reynolds:- Some of the most impossible feats of engineering that Rodrigo had come up with worked rather smoothly, I gotta say. The 360 dolly shot around the coffin… I think we only did a couple of takes of that. Maybe three?
Cortes:- When you have an impossible shot, it takes the whole day. It’s like a totem. You’re on your knees and you pray to that impossible shot. But when you have 35 shots a day, the impossible one is one of those 35! So you cannot treat it like a totem, which is pretty lofty. Somehow you have to get it.
For some reason, this guy [Reynolds] can do whatever. He can break your heart in the most organic or truthful way. You can add more and more instructions with every take and he does it. I remember in one take saying “And now that, and that, and that, and say this, now do that.” and he just looks at you and says, “Okay.” He makes everything easy.
Reynolds:- I do what I’m told. I come from a family of cops, and you learn early that you do what you’re told.
Was there anything in the script that you were dreading, Ryan, that ended up being a breeze?
Reynolds: I don’t think anything on this movie was a breeze. I found as I went on that I got better about instinctively lighting myself (with the Zippo Fighter or the flashlight or the cell phone) than I was at the beginning. That was a huge challenge. Obviously I have to convey a huge range of emotions in every scene, but I also have to make sure I’m seen, so those were difficult. I can’t say anything was a breeze.
I’m working with what I would classify as one of the most talented, inventive directors on Earth. I’m not jerking [Rodrigo] off here. But there’s also a generosity and a trust that he brings to the table. He says, “Okay, we don’t have to rehearse, we’ll let you discover as we go”, and he says, “You know, we’ll just do one take of that”. And that’s generous. Most directors would say, “What if something happens in the lab? What if we lose this?”
The guy’s a gunfighter. I never worked with a director that said, “We did that whole take in one shot and that’s all we’re going to do, we’re moving on”. I was pretty impressed by that.
(…) So what’s next for you guys? When are you two going to work together again?
Reynolds:- Every script I get I say, “Well what about Rodrigo? Would Rodrigo do a broad comedy? Would Rodrigo do another thriller? An action movie?” Honestly I can say, if [Rodrigo] came to me with any script, I’d be amazed if I could pass it up. I don’t think I ever could.
Cortes:- That’s going to happen for sure when we find the right script. Things are better and easier with him. I’m dying to do it.
Reynolds:- When you have a shorthand with a director that I’ve been lucky enough to have with him … It’s chemistry, is what it is. It’s like chemistry with a great co-star and you say, “I wish we could do every movie together.” But nobody wants to see two people in every movie together, but with directors you can kind of get away with that. I would love to do 10 movies with this man.