Navigation Bar - Text Links at Bottom of Page

A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE

About The Production
When Producer JC Spink read John Wagner and Vince Locke's graphic novel A History of Violence, he immediately recognized its film potential. Spink and his producing partner Chris Bender were inspired by the internal struggle the main character faces. The team, who has a first look deal with New Line Cinema, presented the project to the studio, which responded with enthusiasm and secured the rights. Josh Olson wrote the screenplay, which he extrapolated from the novel, published six years previously by Paradox Press, which also published Road to Perdition.

"The title was intriguing,” says Olson. "It sparked a lot of ideas. What would happen to real people in this situation was my approach.” Olson developed the characters using the book as a launching pad. "It's a wrong-man scenario. A man must prove his innocence to a group of bad men.”

Director David Cronenberg, who joined the project in the winter of 2003, found the screenplay compelling. "Loosely based on the graphic novel, Josh's script is a Midwest American small town story,” says Cronenberg. "There was something classic about it without being imitative.”

Adds Olson, "What really interested me about the story was taking this classic middle America family and putting them into an extreme situation, and show how it affected them – what happens when you inject violence into an ordinary, happy household.”

Although he doesn't normally undertake family dramas, Cronenberg felt for the characters and the Stall family. "It does have a powerful emotional resonance. A married couple with two kids are trying to live an open, straightforward honest life, and finding it difficult to do that. So I fell for that classical element.”

"It's mainstream to a certain extent, but it has some very disturbing and interesting undercurrents,” continues the director, whose unique body of work has been acclaimed around the world. "I thought it was an interesting kind of thriller, because it's not a normal kind of thriller. It's like a Hitchcock thriller where an innocent man is mistaken by some very scary people for someone else and drawn into a world that he'd rather not know anything about. His life and the lives of his family are endangered because of this mistaken identity. The film clicks into several intriguing things, but then derails in a very interesting way,” observes Cronenberg, who collaborated on revisions with Olson, changing the organized crime members' names to from Italian to Irish in order to distance them from the mafia, among other alterations.

"A lot of David's movies have to do with identities, what's real and what's not,” remarks producer Chris Bender. "What ties this movie to his others is Viggo Mortensen's character Tom Stall, who is struggling with an identity problem and questioning the reality he is living.”

"Although A History of Violence is not a typical studio film, in some broad ways, it ties in thematically with David's interests, but it really doesn't feel like anything he's done before,” says screenwriter Josh Olson.

Once New Line Cinema gave the project a green light, the production set up offices in Toronto, Canada, Cronenberg's home town where he remains loyal to his "family of collaborators” – key crew members who have worked with him over the years.

Among them is Director of Photography, Peter Suschitzky (Spider, eXistenZ), working on his seventh film with Cronenberg, who notes, "When I first read the script, I knew it was quite different and more narrative-driven than anything that David had tackled before. To encourage him to take it, I asked him to think about the movies of Fritz Lang because one of the main themes running through Lang's movies was that of a character who can't escape his fate – an interesting link.”

Clearly Cronenberg was hooked, as he enlisted Viggo Mortensen and Maria Bello to join the cast, his fi

TOP

Home | Theaters | Video | TV

Your Comments and Suggestions are Always Welcome.
Contact CinemaReview.com

2014 16,  All Rights Reserved.

Google

Find:  HELP!

Google