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360

From Page to Screen
I guess I am asking Was I always going to be here, Asking these questions.

At the heart of 360 are themes of love. We all have options and we all make choices, but how many chances do we have? Which path to take? To turn right, and then at the last moment turn left? What if a decision we make is changed by the deed of another? How many of our actions are based on good intentions towards others, or on a deeper level according to our own secret wants and desires? How did we get to be where we are today? Are our lives a web of coincidences, or is it all mapped out for us?

360 is an expression of the world's interconnectedness, and interdependence - and not just through the miraculous internet which connects the world. Peter Morgan's idea for the original screenplay came about as financial crises spread from one country to the next, toppling banks and governments in a sequence of dominoes - and a flu pandemic raged in such a way that each corner of the world was connected to its polar opposite.

Morgan, as befits his profession as an multi-award winning screenwriter with scripts which have been set, and shot, in locations across the globe, spends a great deal of time travelling, in particular moving between Vienna, London, New York and Los Angeles. As he explains, this life he leads along with the global events he watched unfurl influenced the foundations of the script, "In many ways 360 is a reflection of the way I live and that I spend far too much time in airports and on the move. If you put yourself in a jet lagged haze and imagine life in those four cities that are all metropolitan centers filled with multinational communities and you combine that with the impact of the internet - you can't help noticing the degree to which boundaries have become obsolete and that modern 21st century life has become one global community. I wanted to write something that would reflect that, and the fact that all actions have consequences. The fact that the economic actions of one country, or bank, or Government can so dramatically affect others - the fact that one person carrying a virus in New York get on a plane and pass it to someone in Mongolia 24 hours later - the fact that a stock price falls in Tokyo making people redundant in Stockholm - that people are playing online poker with somebody in a different time zone and different country - the extent to which we would become - and already have, become one community. I wanted to write a story to reflect that. But I didn't want to write it head on, I wanted to write it as a metaphor. And what better subject to channel it through - than love, romance, sex and relationships."

David Linde, a globally respected producer and executive who has been responsible for numerous groundbreaking, award-winning and commercially successful films involving some of the world's most talented filmmakers, knew when the script for 360 came to him exactly who he had to send it to. As Linde elaborates, "Like many people I was very strongly affected by Fernando Meirelles' City Of God. I was running Focus Features at the time and made every attempt to try and find a way to work with a filmmaker who seemed so in sync with what we were trying to accomplish at Focus, which was to concentrate on directors' whose perspective towards material really defined the film. The Constant Gardener proved to be that chance and it was a tremendous experience to see that film come to life in his hands. When I came on to produce 360, I sent the script to him precisely because of his real interest in people and global culture and how they interact. I think of Fernando as a director who really cares about his characters and he has an almost unbelievable ability to make them feel personal to our own interests, fears, and emotions. In 360, we really relate to each character's experience, no matter who they are, and that's what makes the film so special."

360, a film which spans several continents with seven different languages spoken as the stories intersect and collide, found its perfect director in international filmmaker Fernando Meirelles. Meirelles has been honored with critical praise, awards and plaudits the world over for his visceral style of filmmaking from the moment his seminal feature City of God hit screens and opened the world's eyes to the pain and the beauty of life in the slums of Brazil told through the lives of two young men. This made him the perfect choice to direct 360 with his tour de force of intelligence, energy and enthusiasm, and his understanding of humanity, which meant he could bring a realistic quality to the contemporary lives of the central protagonists.

The attraction for Meirelles was the script that Morgan has created and the fact that, in his eyes, there is an underlying theme that connects all of the characters, as he explains, "I think what connects the stories for me, and what I like about them, is that they are about people trying to do their best, trying to do good things and be good people, but they are not always capable of doing it. It means it is a very human story as it is about impulses and desires, and the fact that sometimes something inside you can take you in a different direction. I thought that was fascinating and I wanted to explore it."

For Andrew Eaton, the prolific award-winning independent producer, who is highly respected and recognized for actively seeking challenging projects to bring to the big and small screen explains, it is the interlinking stories zigzagging across the world, and the very different protagonists and situations that exist within each, that give the audience the opportunity to connect with at least one individual in one way or another, "I think people will see parts of themselves when they see this film, parts of experiences they've had in their own lives, and I think it's that normality, but told in a larger than life way that's really attractive about it. I think it is about hopefulness, that despite the mistakes we make in our relationships that life does goes on."

The process of writing a script from the initial ideas through to the final result is a process which involves instinctive decisions, and as Morgan explains the script in itself became a journey for him as he developed the series of relationships based on modern society, "The journey that you go on when you write a script and the changes of direction and forked roads, I prefer that, you know. I was constantly going into directions I never expected."

Eaton observed the close collaboration between Meirelles and Morgan, and he describes it as an organic process which led to subtle moments unfolding onscreen as the stories gradually come to life, "Watching the process between Fernando and Peter has been fascinating for me because Peter's a genius writer, and with such an interconnected story I think Fernando's taken it to another level. If you look at his work, like City of God and Constant Gardener, they're quite complicated structures that move back and forward in time, and with 360 Fernando has done the same with subtle little changes, like not finding out that Rose is married before you see her having sex with another man, so he's actually over emphasized the surprise which I think is a good thing."

For Meirelles, the decision to take on this delicate, complex piece about relationships which takes the audience in many directions was in part due to the milieu of differences between the stories, which greatly excited him, as well it being a unique opportunity to play with genres and settings within one film. As he explains, "There are several tones to the film and I think that's what I en

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