Friday, June 22, 2007


Michael Winterbottom has long been accustomed to shooting on the run, on the cheap, in out-of-the-way spots. In In This World, the U.K. filmmaker told the story of two Afghan boys traveling from Pakistan through Iran and Turkey and onto Italy, France and England. In The Road to Guantanamo, about the arrest and imprisonment of three British Muslims at Guantanamo Bay, he again set his cameras down in Pakistan. He has shot in snow-cloaked rural Canada (The Claim), in Eastern Europe (Welcome to Sarajevo), and now, with A Mighty Heart, the 46-year-old director has returned to Pakistan, and also to India.

With Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in tow.

In A Mighty Heart, Jolie stars as Mariane Pearl, wife of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was abducted and murdered in 2002 by Pakistani militants. The film, produced by Pitt's Plan B company, is based on Mariane Pearl's memoir. It opened Friday, June 22.

"Brad and Angelina’s presence meant that we had to be slightly more careful in Pakistan, perhaps, than we would be normally, with a high-profile film based on a story that is itself quite high-profile," Winterbottom says. "It made things a little more complicated.... Whereas, perhaps if we did do it in a low-budget way with a cast of lesser-known actors, we might have shot the whole thing in Karachi. But I think in this case, we all felt that with Angelina and this specific story, we couldn’t risk staying in Karachi, we had to do [the majority of her scenes] somewhere else. And we went to India.

"That meant, of course, that we had to get all the Pakistani actors, and all the non-professional actors that we were using -- we had to get all those people to India. Which in itself was quite complicated, because Pakistan and India don’t have the best relationship. We had to get visas for all those people. In a way, it was a big headache for the production. But then we were in India, with Indian crews… and everyone got on really well."


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