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Vantage Point in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Vantage Point

Dennis Quaid • Matthew Fox • Forest Whitaker • William Hurt • Sigourney Weaver
DIRECTOR: Pete Travis

Secret Service Agents Holden (Richard T Jones) and Thomas Barnes (Dennis Quaid) assist a fellow agent THE CONCEPT:
Eight strangers with eight different points-of-view, including two Secret Service Agents, Thomas Barnes (Quaid) and Kent Taylor (Fox), an American tourist, Howard Lewis (Whitaker) and a TV news producer (Weaver) try to unlock the one truth behind the assassination attempt on the president of the United States (Hurt) in Spain, during a summit on the global war on terrorism.

U.S. RELEASE: February 20 2008, Nationwide
• Rated: PG-13


Dennis Quaid as Thomas Barnes“There’s the way we see ourselves, and there’s the way others see us. I play my character one way when the story is told from my point-of-view, but when the film’s vantage point shifts to another’s POV, I play him as that character sees him – and change again for the other characters. A person isn’t seen the same way by any two people.”

Matthew Fox stars as Kent Taylor“I loved working with Peter Travis, he’s a real actor’s director in that he gets right in there with you. He’s thinking about the character from the point-of-view of the character. He really tried to orchestrate those little opportunities [for all the characters] where in your mind you go, ‘Oh I should have seen that the first time.’ But you can’t push that too far.”

Forest Whitaker as Howard Lewis“The vantage point I think my character represents is every man. He represents the normal citizen that gets caught up in the politics of the world. I think for him, he’s a guy who’s trying to find his life again that he’s lost. He’s breaking up with his wife and he’s leaving his kid, and he goes to Spain to try to find passion, to feel involved. He doesn’t feel like his life is really that important. Then all of a sudden, he’s caught up in something that makes him sort of important, and he realizes that he will step up if he’s put in that situation. His humanity is what’s most important, and I think that’s what he represents about humanity, about not walking by a kid who’s crying in the middle of a bomb zone.”

WILLIAM HURT on contacting President Clinton for research on playing President Ashton:
Secret Service Agents Kent Taylor (Matthew Fox, left), Thomas Barnes (Dennis Quaid, center right), and Holden (Richard T Jones, right) protect U.S. President Ashton (William Hurt, center left)“President Clinton was extremely refreshing and honest. I asked him what it is like to have the knowledge that you represent something that a lot of people want dead? He said that if you weren’t ready for that before you tried to get the job, then you shouldn’t even take the next step. It was amazing how available he was. How personable. It was a quick conversation, because I was pressed for time when I got through to him, and I said, ‘Mr President, I gotta go. I’ve got a plane to catch.’ [It was] absurd for me to be telling him that!”

“I didn’t realize while reading this script how much action there is in this movie, but we’ve got gun shots, bombs going off, terrific car chases – all exciting stuff and fun to do. For me, it was like being a kid again to do all the action. I’m over 50 and I was running for the first part of this film. [I thought] we should put in the line, ‘I’m getting too old for this.’”

“It was always very important to Pete that we pull off the logistics of what we were doing as Secret Service agents and we did have consultants. The Secret Service is a fairly secretive organization. We had consultants that were affiliated with them enough to give us advice that was accurate, so I hope that any Secret Service agents that see the movie would feel like we didn’t make any glaringly bad mistakes.”

“I didn’t try to change my performance [when it was shot through other characters’ eyes]. I kept the same attitude pretty much throughout most of it. It’s always difficult when you’re continually doing things over and over for days and days, particularly because there’s so much action in the movie, just the running through the streets of Mexico [where the movie was shot] from different points-of-view for days [was difficult]. But it wasn’t difficult from the acting part of it.”

“I think the great value of Vantage Point is that it’s very simple and complicated [he laughs]. It is a recognition that life is perceived very simply from different vantage points by every participant. Vantage Point is so story-oriented that I can’t even talk about it really without betraying the premise – that premise being that you want the audience to walk through that story!”

Secret Service Agents Thomas Barnes (Dennis Quaid, center) and Kent Taylor (Matthew Fox, right) look at video footage shot by an American tourist, Howard Lewis (Forest Whitaker, left)

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Images above © Columbia Pictures
Feature © 2008 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #694, April 2008 cover

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