About The Film
The President of the United States is in Spain to deliver a major address on terrorism. As he approaches the podium in a crowded square, shots ring out, and pandemonium breaks loose. The president falls to the ground.
This is the setting for Columbia Pictures' new film Vantage Point, an action-thriller that, for director Pete Travis, was a chance to explore the idea of "the truth" - and the fact that truth is in the eye of the beholder. As Vantage Point unfolds, the film explores the period immediately before and after the assassination attempt from the unique points of view of eight key participants - ranging from the president himself to the Secret Service agents assigned to protect him to a tourist in the square only by chance. "If you were to follow only one story, you wouldn't find out the truth about what really happened," says Travis. "As you see each story, you see something else that you never knew before. It's only when you get to the end that you figure out what really went on."
Travis points out that in addition to the five well-known American stars and four highly regarded international actors that topline Vantage Point, there is one more star: the story. "You've got eight different people, eight ways of seeing the world, eight pieces of a puzzle. It's a dream for a director: you can't solve the mystery of this film without seeing the world from different people's point of view. It's a story that you can only tell through cinema. A movie about ways of 'seeing'-how cool is that!"
For Dennis Quaid, who stars in Vantage Point, the film was a chance to subtly shade a performance based on point of view. "There's the way we see ourselves, and there's the way others see us," he explains. "I play my character one way when the story is told from my point of view, but when the film's vantage point shifts to another character's POV, I play him as that character sees him - and change again for the other characters. A person isn't seen the same way by any two people."
Screenwriter Barry L. Levy adds that those multiple points of view lead to chaos - and only through mutual understanding can the truth come out. "Everyone knows only what they can see before their eyes, what they can figure out, which limits everyone's understanding of what's going on," he says. "Only when the audience sees the collective, all eight stories, all eight pieces of the puzzle, will they understand what really went on. Ultimately, the movie is a single story, a hero's journey - but told from eight points of view."
To bring Levy's idea to the screen, producer Neal H. Moritz tapped Travis, whose first film as a director, Omagh, focused on a 1998 bombing in Northern Ireland. "The way Pete captured reality, the characters, the sound, was entirely original," says Moritz. "Pete's fresh approach to the material made it clear to me that Vantage Point would be in good hands."
Travis and Levy were keenly aware that the film they were making, by its nature, required seeing the same actions over and over again, from different points of view. "We had to keep it fresh," Travis says. "When you see something more than once, we tried to make sure that you were seeing something different. For example, when you first see the square, you see it as the news cameras see it - lots of cameras, but far away and static or up close and handheld, the way a news program would shoot it. When you see it from a Secret Service agent's point of view, it's like walking into an amphitheater, and you hear a noise you didn't hear before. The crowd, which had previously seemed friendly, looks different to a Secret Service man who's just coming back a year after being shot. Every face in the crowd is a potential assassin; every wave of the flag could be a signal to somebody. &n
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