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City of Ghosts in our magazines

THE MOVIE: City of Ghosts

Matt Dillon • James Caan
DIRECTOR: Matt Dillon

Writer/Director MATT DILLON also stars as Jimmy THE CONCEPT:
When a bogus insurance company is investigated by the police, the front man for the scam, Jimmy Cremmins (Dillon), flees to Asia to regroup with his mentor, Marvin (Caan) only to find himself on a road to further deception that becomes a path of self-discovery.

U.S. RELEASE: April 25 2003, Limited • Rated: R


“I’ve always had an interest in directing and writing. I thought that the process of writing and directing was very rewarding. The part that was difficult for me was the politics of it; raising money, that short of thing. I had a simple idea about a story of a guy who travels to Asia to regroup with his mentor, but the catch was that he wasn’t supposed to go there because of some criminal activity that they were involved in, and what happens as a result of his going there. I wanted it to be a story of redemption, and a guy who goes through a spiritual transformation. I had never written a story before, and discovering myself as a storyteller was really great.”

“Matt called me up and told me everything that I wanted to hear about myself, ‘You’re wonderful, you’re great!’ (laughs) No, I like Matt. He told me about the movie on the phone and sent me the script, and it seemed like something that would be a lot of fun. I didn’t know we’d be shooting in a place (Cambodia) where they had to sweep for landmines three times before we got out of the car – I thought I was back in rehab!”

“I don’t think that there’s an actor of his generation that would have been better for the part of Marvin than James, because he has all the dark qualities and intensity that the character needs to have, and that kind of command and strength; but he’s also got this persuasive kind of charm that that guy needed, and that kind of humor that Jimmy has naturally, and he brought that to the role.”

JAMES CAAN on Dillon being a first time director:
“No, it didn’t worry me, because (as I learned when I directed for the first time) you’re intimidated and you listen to people. You’re really basically stupid not to listen no matter how much experience you have, because you have experts in every single field. I can’t know as much as the stunt guy, or the cinematographer, so to hire them and tell them to shut up is stupid. So Matt had that good sense to listen to them.”

MATT DILLON on shooting in Cambodia:
“I was struck by the beauty of that country, and the duality of the life there, the extremes; the dream-like quality and the nightmarish-quality that was there. I always wanted that to be a part of the movie.”

“Matt is really in tune with that culture. I guess that he traveled over there for seven months. That was his idea of a vacation and he loved it.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Feature © 2003 Visual Imagination.
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Film Review, #630, May 2003 cover

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