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Children of Men in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Children of Men

Clive Owen • Michael Caine • Julianne Moore
• Clare-Hope Ashitey
DIRECTOR: Alfonso Cuarón

Clive Owen and Alfonso Cuarón THE CONCEPT:
England in 2027: The world has fallen into anarchy following an infertility defect in the population. The world’s youngest citizen has just died at 18, and Humankind faces the likelihood of extinction. Disillusioned bureaucrat Theo (Owen) becomes an unlikely hero when he reluctantly protects a lone pregnant girl named Kee (Ashitey) in a desperate journey to a sanctuary at sea.

U.S. RELEASE: December 25 2006, Limited • Rated: R


“This is obviously a futuristic movie, because it takes place in the near future, but the reason it takes place in the near future is only because of a convention of story in which we’re talking about eighteen years of infertility. We use that infertility as a metaphor. In a science fiction movie you would have gone into the whys and the mystery of infertility. We decided not to even care about it and just take it as a point of departure.”

“I’m a huge fan of Alfonso’s. He’s highly original and talented. When he first sent me the script, I wasn’t sure about the part. I didn’t quite know why he wanted me to do it. It’s a highly unusual lead role. The guy’s dragged into the movie. He’s very reluctant. It’s unusual to play a lead character that is apathetic, cynical, depressed, drunk and sad. It’s not the kind of part where you can do your thing as an actor. It’s about sacrificing yourself to Alfonso’s vision and not getting in the way of it, which seems to me more important than doing any acting.”

“When Kee starts coming out of herself, it becomes clear that there are more layers to her character than you would have expected. When we first see her, she’s sullen and doesn’t give much away. As time goes on, we see that she’s mischievous and quite needy, but is also rebellious and has a little bit of an attitude – not exactly the vision of a girl who holds the hope of the future in her hands, right? Along the way, a father-daughter relationship grows between Theo and Kee.”

“Clare is a very talented and lovely actress, and it was really about making sure that she felt comfortable in the [working] environment. She hasn’t done that many films and this is a big, ambitious film. Everybody was very aware of making her feel confident and comfortable. It was great casting. I think Alfonso is a pure visionary director and he just casts the best person for the part.”

“Alfonso tends to build up his scenes in layers, and between each shot and each take, he’ll add comments, which really helps you to layer your performance. Soon, he’s created something so different from what you started with.”

“The scene at the beginning of the movie where the bomb goes off was the worst day of filming. It was really upsetting for everybody, because it was close after the bombings [in London] and I was amazed we actually got permission because it was a big explosion and we were right in the center of London, and it was just incredibly eerie, awful and very poignant.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Film Review, #679, February 2007 cover

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