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Lee Pace • Catinca Untaru
DIRECTOR: Tarsem Singh

Poster artwork THE CONCEPT:
Los Angeles in 1915: Roy Walker (Pace) is unable to walk after a movie stunt gone wrong. In the hospital he befriends a five year old girl named Alexandria (Untaru), who has broken her arm, and begins to tell her a saga he describes as ‘an epic tale of love and revenge,’ which is played out through the movie. But Walker refuses to continue the story unless the child steals morphine for him - so he can commit suicide.

U.S. RELEASE: May 9 2008, Limited • Rated: R


Tarsem Singh“I didn’t know if it would be a girl or boy [for the role of Alexandria]. I would send people out to schools and have them tell stories and video the children’s reactions. I came to realize that after about four years old, they were already acting as opposed to reacting naturally. I was afraid the film would become like A Little Princess – a movie I really like, but not the one I wanted to make. Catinca was just fantastic. She spoke no English; she could just communicate very basic things. [I knew] that this girl was going to be a different person in a few months, and we needed to make the film right away.”

Lee Pace, Catinca UntaruThe Fall was my second movie, I’d done Soldier’s Girl before it, and I learned so much from this movie. It was a project of a lifetime. We shot in South Africa, India, the story was terrific, the character was like none I had ever read, and Tarsem brought it to life in a way that is absolutely mind-blowing.”

TARSEM on asking Lee Pace to pretend to be disabled during the hospital scenes:
“Lee had only been in one TV movie [Soldier’s Girl], and in that he played a transvestite. Nobody but me, my brother, the costume person and two executive producers knew that he could walk. Everyone in the cast and crew traveled equal. If it was a luxury hotel, everyone stayed there, if it was a crappy hotel, everyone stayed there. But for Lee I had to make an exception, because I realized he would have to stay separately so everyone on the set would still believe he couldn’t walk.”

“It was hard. When I first got to South Africa I thought, ‘We’re really acting now, really going ‘method’ on it. I’ll be in a wheelchair and they’ll all think my name is Roy.’ But it was also about getting that performance out of Catinca, and making her feel comfortable with me, and putting the mood on set that she would be sensitive to. But at the end of the day I could see how it affected my performance, because I got really depressed in that wheelchair after two months. And also, I was lying to people all day, I was lying to the cameraman about a motorcycle accident, and what it’s like to be a disabled actor, and it takes a lot out of you having to lie to people. I do think it was valuable, because it caught a level of realism in those scenes with Catinca, a privacy and sensitivity that I don’t know we would have gotten without doing it.”

TARSEM on the reaction from the cast and crew when Pace got out of the bed after the last hospital scene was shot:
“Some people were laughing, some were crying and some were very, very angry. Everybody said, ‘You could have trusted me,’ but it had nothing to do with trust. People would have reacted differently to him if they had known.”

“I liked doing all the action stuff [in the Fantasy story], because I’d never done anything like it before; shooting guns, riding horses. The day we rode the horse next to the moving car was really fun. I had a great time working with Tarsem on this film; he’s such an incredible visualist. When you work with a director like that, you just surrender and let go.”

Story with large vistas

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Film Review, #696, June 2008 cover

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