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RENDITION

About The Production
Screenwriter Kelley Sane first decided to write Rendition after a lively debate with his friend, Mark Martin, about the American government's little-known policy of "extraordinary rendition,” which allows for the abduction of foreign nationals, deemed to be a threat to national security, for detention and interrogation in secret overseas prisons.

Sane remembers, "Mark Martin, who is a co-producer on the movie, and I were talking about the potential for abuse, and how it seemed to not follow the lines of the American ideal. Mark suggested that I write a script. I had to think about it because watching someone getting picked up and tortured doesn't necessarily seem that cinematically interesting. On deeper thought, what really struck me was the fact that if someone disappeared, their family would have no idea what happened. Thousands of people disappear in this country every year, for various reasons, and I could imagine the heartache of not knowing where a loved one is”

Producer Steve Golin first saw the script in its early stages. "David Kanter and Keith Redman, who work with me at Anonymous Content, had found the script along with Mark Martin, who was working with my company at the time,” says Golin. "We worked on it for about a year. It really was a team effort. The thing that impressed me about the script was that it avoided being too preachy and that it really tried to explore "extraordinary rendition” and what the effects are on the individual people. 

"I think it basically shows two sides to the story,” adds Golin. "I think a large majority of us are willing to accept that if there is imminent danger that will affect the lives of thousands of people, one likely way to get information out of someone who holds it is through forcible coercion. On the other hand, the United States government has, over its history, in cases of war and emergencies, abandoned civil liberties. I think by exploring this issue we are letting it be known that there is a reason for the Geneva Convention and that there are laws to uphold, because, in the long run, that's what makes society work. And I think by abandoning those things we are going down a dark path.”

When it came time to look for a director, Golin immediately thought of Gavin Hood, who won an Oscar® for Best Foreign Film for directing 2005's Tsotsi, a compelling drama which traces six days in the life of a ruthless young gang leader in the Johannesburg township of Soweto who ends up caring for a baby accidentally kidnapped during a car-jacking.

"Gavin is from South Africa, so he has dealt with a lot of very interesting political situations,” says Golin. "He's grown up in a political environment, more so than a lot of Americans. I thought he would be very sensitive to the material. He has had friends taken away who disappeared without a trace. I thought this material would be something he would have an affinity for and connect with.”

Hood happened to be looking for a special piece of material for his follow-up to Tsotsi and his move into American filmmaking. 

"When I am looking for a project I really believe a great film does two things,” says Hood. "First of all it entertains you and keeps you excited and thrilled to be in your seat. But I also believe great films leave you with something to talk about afterwards. These are the films where you go out afterwards and have a really good discussion, debate, even an argument with your friends or your partner. That was what was so great about reading the screenplay for Rendition. It was a real page-turner and a good thriller that had me wondering ‘what's going to happen next?' But at the same time it was raising profound and difficult questions that don't have easy answers. I remember finishing the script and just sitting for days wondering ‘what do I think about this?' It was an exciting story but it also left me with a lot to think a

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