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CHILDREN OF MEN

Casting The Children Of The Future
At the heart of Children of Men are the hot-button issues of immigration, environment and fertility. In the world of the film, each has adversely affected the other, setting most men on a dark march toward "the end.” Once at the forefront of hoped-for change, burned-out activist Theo has resigned himself to fitting into a harsh society with little foreseeable chance of survival. Hope is an unaffordable luxury that merely brings heartache.

But all that changes when Theo's former lover, Julian, re-emerges with a request, which pulls Theo out of his self-medicated haze and back into a life of having to care about something…and that something is the future of mankind.

Abraham says, "I have always loved the reluctant antihero; they were the staple of the '70s films that inspired me. The fact that a burnt-out Theo has to protect someone— who is the first pregnant woman on the planet in nearly 20 years—is a clear, concise and obviously dramatic idea. Alfonso has added to this premise themes that are relevant and current.”

Cuarón refers to Theo as "someone who's fighting to stay dead, a character who's given up on his journey.” But instead of revealing all of who Theo is up-front, the filmmaker chooses to throw the antihero into increasingly dire situations that erode away his years of uncaring and reinvigorate the activist fighting for a cause. Just as Kee is giving birth to the next generation, the battle to protect her is giving Theo a second chance—and helps him to find his passion to care again.

British leading man Clive Owen, cast in the role of Theo, was quickly drawn to the story, the role and working with Cuarón. Owen states, "Alfonso's work is visually stunning, and he's one of the very few directors who is in absolutely every wardrobe meeting, every makeup meeting and every props meeting. When something is produced and it's not quite right or in keeping with his vision, it's gone. Alfonso came to London and we sat down and talked about the film—and I just felt it was a strong, bold and unusual take on this slightly futuristic story. A lot of people were misled into thinking it was a sci-fi story, but then I read the script and found out it was a very different kind of animal. Alfonso had taken the original premise of the book and led it into very unusual areas.”

It was apparent to Owen when he first read the script that the writer-director was trying to create an unusual kind of hero: a flawed human character who is dragged into this extraordinary situation. This became apparent when confronted with one particular sequence. Owen explains, "Alfonso is the only director I know who would put their ‘hero' in flip-flops for a whole portion of the movie just to take the attention away from the classic notion of heroism. He wanted an ordinary guy in an extraordinary situation, but to make you really believe it, he kept pulling the rug from under Theo's feet.”

Cuarón offers his take on Owen's character: "Theo is a wounded soul—all of his cynicism is nothing but a mask for something more genuine that hides just beneath. At the start, he's a passive character who is part of the problem. And he acts for a lot of the wrong reasons. But he becomes a reluctant hero. He is re-awakened to possibility that man has a newfound chance of survival.”

Referring to Owen, producer Abraham says, "When you shoot a movie for some 80-odd days in the U.K. in the winter—and every one of those days you are at the center of the storm—that is a hell of a challenge. We knew the shoot would be taxing, but Clive was more than up to it. He is a naturally gifted, totally committed and, thank God, he also has a great sense of humor.”

To play the part of committed activist Julian, filmmakers cast versatile actor Julianne Moore in the part. Moore comments, "What was interesting for me about Julian first a

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