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The Kingdom in our magazines

THE MOVIE: The Kingdom

Jamie Foxx • Jennifer Garner • Jason Bateman • Chris Cooper • Ashraf Barhom
DIRECTOR: Peter Berg

Investigating team THE CONCEPT:
After a suicide bomber slaughters more that 100 oil company employees and their family members in a Gulf Oasis Western Housing Compound in Saudi Arabia, FBI Special Agent Ronald Fleury (Foxx) and his team (Cooper, Garner and Bateman) are sent on a secret mission to the area to locate the madman behind the bombing

U.S. RELEASE: September 28 2007, Nationwide • Rated: R


Director Peter Berg“I wanted to make a film that dealt with the Middle East and dealt with religious extremism, but I first and foremost wanted to make a film that was a thriller, where people would be scared and pumped up emotionally. That was the promise I made to the studio.”

Jamie Foxx“I’ve always admired Peter Berg as an actor and as a director, so to be able to work with him with a subject matter that is pretty intense [was great]. But, he would go, ‘Say this line here because we have to get the entertainment in at the same time,’ so it was a fun ride.”

JENNIFER GARNER on her vicious fight scene:
Jennifer Gardner“To be honest, I thought it wasn’t going to be much of anything. I showed up on the day and my stunt double, Shauna Duggins’ eyes were this big, and she said, ‘This is unlike anything we’ve ever done. We’re just going to try to beat the shit out of each other.’ It was so down and dirty that I had scratch marks that I had to cover up on my face for the next few days. It was great.”

Jason Bateman“The fact that my character gets kidnapped dictated the way I played him up until that point. One wants the audience to really have a lot of empathy for this character once he gets kidnapped, because it’s the final act of the drama and the jeopardy in the film. So as much as I was being a smartass in the movie, I still tried to make him as likable as possible.”

“I wanted to make as balanced a film as I could. I went to Saudi Arabia for three weeks. As far as I know, I’m the only American ever to get a visa to go there as a filmmaker. I have friends who are Saudi, I’ve shown them the film, and they responded quite well. It’s important to me, particularly through the character of Al Ghazi, played by Ashraf, to present a moderate Arab, someone who was as interested in battling religious extremism – it’s my experience that the great majority of the Saudi’s I’ve encountered were moderate.”

“When you watch Ashraf’s character, you lock onto him and say, ‘Wow, look at this dude who’s a cop in Saudi Arabia. How does he work within this [system]?’ You follow him and watch his plight. It wasn’t political, it was just about this guy trying to go to work and do his job.”

“The FBI was so incredibly helpful in the making of this movie. The women [there] are incredible. They are real women that are armed and ready to go into hairy situations. They have kids at home, and they go home most nights, but every now and then they have a bank robbery to deal with. They are amazing.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Images above © Universal Pictures
Feature © 2007 Visual Imagination.
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Film Review, #688, October 2007 cover

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