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Look out for more coverage of
Inkheart in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Inkheart

THE STARS:
Brendan Fraser • Paul Bettany • Helen Mirren • Andy Serkis • Eliza Hope Bennett • Sienna Guillory • Jim Broadbent
DIRECTOR: Iain Softley

Poster artwork THE CONCEPT:
Mortimer ‘Mo’ Folchart (Fraser) and his 12-year-old daughter Meggie ( Bennett) share an extraordinary gift for bringing characters from books to life when they read aloud, but when a character is brought to life a real person disappears into the book’s pages. Mo has been searching for years for the novel Inkheart, a medieval tale that he read to his daughter when she was three-years-old, and her mother, Resa (Guillory) vanished into its world – now he has found the book, and he and Meggie set out to rescue her.

U.S. RELEASE: January 23 2009, Nationwide
• Rated: PG

THE COMMENTS:

The
IAIN SOFTLEY on making a movie that both adults and children will enjoy:

Iain Softley“That was a bit of a balancing act. I think that what I remembered was the kind of fairy tales that have been charming kids for hundreds of years. First of all they’re very scary, and I think it’s often the parents who are more disturbed about what they think their kids [should read or see]. I take my children to see Harry Potter, and I know the darkness and excitement in those films, and we wanted to appeal to between eight and 14 and beyond. I think the characters that Jim, Helen and Paul play are of nice ironic wit, that will be something the parents will like.”

BRENDAN FRASER on the fact that the book’s author, Cornelia Funke, wrote the novel with him in mind:
Brendan Fraser“I was sent a copy of a novel and it had an inscription, “To Brendan, thank you for inspiring this character, sincerely yours, Cornelia Funke.’ I thought it was Ashton Kutcher punking me. What was most captivating about the novel was that each chapter is introduced by a lyric or an extraction of prose or a quote perhaps from a book you’ve never heard of. It had something to do thematically with the chapter you were about to read. It’s your challenge to figure it out. It also has a subtle message about promoting literature for kids without it being like ‘eat your vegetables.’”

SOFTLEY:
“Brendan was the guy that inspired the character, why wouldn’t I cast him? But he was very gracious, he flew himself over to London and said, ‘You’re the director, I want to do this part, but if you don’t want me to do it then I don’t want to do it, I don’t want to be somebody that’s been foisted on you.’ It was very gracious of him to say that.”

PAUL BETTANY (Dustfinger):
Paul Bettany, Brenan Fraser and Iain Softley“My son was reading Inkheart when the script turned up. It’s weird, what’s even weirder is in an entirely Machiavellian attempt to make him think I’m cool, I decided to play the part! There’s a sort of freedom that comes with playing a character from a book, because when you read a book you see it happen in your head. There have been six million people reading this book, and there have been six million versions of Dustfinger, and that gives you the freedom, as you can only do the version that happened in your head.”

ELIZA HOPE BENNETT:
Eliza Hope Bennett“I hadn’t read Inkheart, but I’d heard of the novels because they’re in my school library and my cousins had read them. After my audition I read the books and I’m not usually a Fantasy reader, so I was really surprised I loved them so much. I think the reason I loved them so much was they sort of dragged fantasy into reality.”

SOFTLY:
“The big question in my mind was how old should Meggie be? Should she be a young 12-year old who’s going to be more cute or an adult, wise beyond her years? The more I went through the auditions I realized I was going for the latter. And I went back and looked at some of the early tapes I’d done and there was just something very natural and strong about Eliza that was refreshing.”

FRASER:
“It was a privilege to be working with a young person who is so intelligent and thoughtful and so enthusiastic about her work. She’s remarkably talented as an actress, which is evident, but as a person, she’s just a terrific kid.”

BETTANY who has a pet ferret in the movie that he carries around on his shoulder:
Paul Bettany and ferret, probably a smelly male...“The male ferret is very docile and sits still and he’s a little bit stoned and chilled out, and the female ferrets are incredibly aggressive, they’re the stunt ferrets. So when we had a bit where the ferret is running up me to sit on my shoulder, they used the female ferret, and then they replaced it with the male ferret, and the male smells just awful.”

BENNETT:
“The ferret was really cute and I really liked him, but they do smell so bad. There were a lot of scenes where we’re driving from place to place and we’re sitting in the van and Paul had to go in with the ferret on his shoulder, and it’s a very small area so it was awful.”

BETTANY on his character’s belief that he, not the author, is in control of his future:
“I’ve a lovely idea that he’s saying no, I get to control my destiny. I think one does control one’s own destiny. But I also think it’s a very romantic notion that he wants to get back in the book to see his wife and children.”

SOFTLEY on the possibility of a sequel:
“We’ve done a lot of the work already. We’ve done 75 percent of the casting – that’s six months’ work. All the lead actors said that they would commit to doing Inkheart 2 if I was going to do the other movies, because they didn’t want a change of director.”

BETTANY:
“What the economy is right now I think that people would entirely wait for the receipts to come in for this one first, but the second book is beautiful, they’re just so imaginative.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official Inkheart site
Images above © Warner Bros Pictures
Feature © 2009 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #701, December 2008 cover

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