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The Painted Veil in our magazines

THE MOVIE: The Painted Veil

Edward Norton • Naomi Watts • Live Schreiber • Toby Jones
DIRECTOR: John Curran

Based on the classic novel by Somerset Maugham, the story of a young English couple in the 1920s. Walter and Kitty Fane marry for the wrong reasons and relocate to Shanghai, where she falls in love with someone else. When Walter discovers her infidelity, in an act of vengeance, he accepts a job as a doctor in a remote village in China ravaged by a deadly cholera epidemic and forces Kitty to accompany him, which gives them both a new purpose as they rediscover each other.

U.S. RELEASE: December 22 2006, Limited
• Rated: PG-13


“I’ve been with this project for seven years. Simply put, I think that like anybody who loves movies, when you watch David Lean films, or a movie like Out of Africa, you cannot help as an actor to think how fun it must be to have one of those kinds of experiences, and what a challenge it must be to make films with that kind of scope. I don’t think many of those films get made, and I think a lot of times when they do get made they don’t get sent to me. So when I saw one that I thought had that potential it was very hard to stop ruminating on it. I thought it was such a complicated story, and it was the kind of romance that touched me.”

“Both Edward and I knew that this wasn’t a political story or historical epic – it was a personal drama set against the backdrop of China at the time. We wanted to infuse it with an authenticity. We wanted the background to comment on the foreground. Edward was great at getting me really excited about going deeper, researching more, and finding little details that we could pepper throughout the film to illuminate what was going on in the country at that time. We felt that it was much needed in this film.”

“When Naomi showed up in Beijing she was very tired. She was coming off King Kong, and the first week of filming we had to do a lot of (emotional) scenes in the house in China. I saw her take a deep breath and do what really good actors do, which is, instead of combating the state that she was in, she took it and put it right into the work, and it was perfect for the state Kitty was in. I haven’t done a film where the two roles were that inextricably intertwined with each other, and I could not have asked for a better tango partner.”

King Kong was so physically draining. I mean, eight months of 14-hours a day jumping, running, being punched, pushed and pulled. It really did take its toll and I’m not a big person. So this movie was a luxury. The emotional aspect of it is exhausting, but we actually had quite a luxury of time as we moved from place to place.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Images above © Warner Independent Pictures
Feature © 2006 Visual Imagination.
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Film Review, #678, January 2007 cover

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