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BLINDNESS

The Doctor And His Wife
At the heart of BLINDNESS are the Doctor and the Doctor's Wife, two ordinary people plucked from their ordinary lives into a maelstrom of disorientation and confusion. The Doctor's Wife, the only person in the story who, through luck of the draw, is immune to the infection and can still see (despite pretending she is blind), becomes the audience's eyes in a sense and their conduit to everything that is happening to those whose vision is a blank. She guides the audience into the terrifying and threatening world of the abandoned sanitarium, where anyone can be killed at any time – whether by the frightened guards or the frantic inmates themselves. Surprising herself, with her back pressed to the wall, she becomes a true leader among her blinded fellow human beings, spurring them on to learn to live in the midst of their anguish and uncertainty.

To play the Doctor's Wife, the filmmakers recruited four-time Academy Award® nominee Julianne Moore, who is known for her subtly nuanced and deeply emotional performances in such films as "Far From Heaven,” "The Hours,” "The End of the Affair” and most recently Alfonso Cuaron's vision of a dystopian future, "Children of Men.” Moore felt an instant link to the character, who she views not necessarily as a heroine but rather as someone driven, like all of us, to survive, a drive that takes her to dark places but also to a strength inside her she had not understood was there.

"The Doctor's Wife is just a normal human being and I think that's one of the great things about the novel. She is fallible, and a lot of what she does initially just skims the surface of what she really could be doing, keeping things clean, tying up wires. Her biggest concern in the beginning is simply her husband. But her ability to see ultimately both isolates her and makes her into a leader,” comments Moore. "I think with this character, Saramago poses the idea of responsibility. He asks who are we and how responsible are we for one another, for the world we live in and for what we do in it? You have to consider how aware you are of the consequences of your actions, which really comes into play with the Doctor's Wife.”

Moore had long been yearning to work with Meirelles when she received the script for BLINDNESS. "When I heard he was making this movie, I really wanted to do it. He's a brilliant director with an astonishing point of view,” she says. "Then, after reading the script, I also felt that BLINDNESS was massive and important and a story we need right now."

The actress delivered a shock to the filmmakers when she arrived on set as a blonde.

Meirelles had asked Moore to cut her hair for the film, but she took the transformation a step further, an idea that occurred to her while reading the screenplay. "I just had an instinct that it was right for the character,” she explains. "Red hair makes you stand out because you are in the minority. I wanted the Wife to be a majority figure."

On the set, Meirelles was astounded by Moore's combination of skill and emotional tenderness. "Technically, she's like a machine; you say something and she responds immediately, she perfectly understands the story, the moment, the plot, and she knows precisely how close to be to the camera. At the same time, she is pure cinema. She has something, and I'm not even sure what you call it . . . Charisma? Expressiveness? Whatever it is, every day I was overwhelmed by her performance."

Contrasting with the Wife's upward swing of gaining courage is the tumbling descent of her husband, the Doctor. He begins the story as a strong, responsible community leader but, once blinded and interred in the hospital, he must grapple with a growing sense of powerlessness and despair that leads to subjugation. To play the Doctor, the filmmakers chose Mark Ruffalo, whose career took off with his charmingly vulne

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