Two Hollywood actors have are debuting as directors in films opening in Philippine cinemas this week.
Two-time Golden Globe nominee Ewan McGregor stars and debuts as a director in the deeply affecting father-daughter story American Pastoral based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Philip Roth that chronicles the profound changes in the last half-century of American life. The adaptation focuses in on the Swede’s search for his daughter and the resonant themes of uncertainty, shifting fates, family and loss, that took the filmmakers nearly thirteen years to bring to the screen.
American Pastoral follows a family’s idyllic existence that was shattered by social and political turmoil that will change the fabric of American culture forever. McGregor makes his directorial debut and stars as Seymour “Swede” Levov, a once legendary high school athlete who is now a successful businessman married to Dawn (Jennifer Connelly), a former beauty queen. But turmoil brews beneath the polished veneer of Swede’s life. When his beloved daughter, Merry (Dakota Fanning), disappears after being accused of committing a violent act, Swede dedicates himself to finding her and reuniting his family. What he discovers shakes him to the core, forcing him to look beneath the surface and confront the chaos that is shaping the modern world around him.
McGregor, known for his wide-ranging roles in films spanning from the innovative and edgy Trainspotting 1 and 2, Velvet Goldmine and Moulin Rouge to the acclaimed dramas Ghost Writer, and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen—was attached the movie’s central character long before signing on to direct the film. Knowing his was a rare opportunity, it was his love of the material that ultimately led to his decision to take a leap into his feature film directorial debut.
“I was very moved by the script and I was completely taken by the Swede and the study of father daughter relationships,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to direct, but I didn’t want to just direct for the sake of it. I wanted to have a story that I was compelled to tell.”
The movie exclusively opens today in Ayala Malls cinemas.
‘Going In Style’
American TV’s favorite doctor from Scrubs, Zach Braff is the director of New Line Cinema’s Going in Style, a fun and fast-paced comedy starring film legends Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Alan Arkin.
In the film, Freeman, Caine and Arkin team up as lifelong buddies Willie, Joe and Albert, who decide to buck retirement and step off the straight-and-narrow for the first time in their lives when their pension fund becomes a corporate casualty. Desperate to pay the bills and come through for their loved ones, the three risk it all by embarking on a daring bid to knock off the very bank that absconded with their money.
“The script has so many funny twists and turns and surprising reveals,” said director Braff. “Plus, you’re watching some of the true Hollywood greats, which was a real pleasure for me, and I know audiences will appreciate how beautifully they balance the comedy and action with some of the more touching, soulful moments that are also an important part of the story. I love these guys. Who doesn’t? They really make you believe that these characters have been best friends for 40 years, weathered the highs and lows and have each other’s backs.”
“It’s so interesting to watch these distinct characters come to life,” he continued. “Sometimes it’s the small, subtle things that reveal so much, and these three are very aware that you can create tiny moments of great impact by doing just what’s needed and no more. There’s an understanding with these guys, and a trust that they know the camera is going to pick up those small details to evoke something powerful. I’ve learned so much, watching and working with them.”
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, Going in Style opens in cinemas nationwide on April 6.