Far North: Love in a cold climate


Far North: Love in a cold climate
Source: CNN International
24 September 2007
  Actor Sean Bean talks to the
Screening Room at the
Venice Film Festival
LONDON, England (CNN) -- Avoiding polar bears and hanging by rope over
icy crevasses isn't in an actor's job description for most movies. But then
most films aren't shot in the Arctic Circle.
Bean plays Loki in Asif Kapadia's latest film, 'Far North.' Much of the film
was shot within the Arctic Circle.
The unforgiving beauty of the polar landscape inspired director Asif Kapadia's
new thriller, Far North. The film showed out of competition at the Venice
Film Festival this year and confirmed the promise of Kapadia's first picture,
BAFTA-nominated "The Warrior."
It is the story of two women living at the limits of survival whose fragile
equilibrium is shattered when they find a half-dead man in the snow.
Kapadia wanted to capture the unique world of glaciers, icebergs and
snow-capped mountains by shooting inside the Arctic Circle but the
logistical considerations were massive. Kapadia was also walking a
seasonal tightrope by waiting around to catch the onset of the harsh
Arctic winter, which was vital for some scenes.
Stars Michelle Yeoh, Sean Bean, Michelle Krusiec and crew spent four weeks
living on a Russian ice-breaker and shooting in Svalbard, a Norwegian
archipelago in the Arctic Ocean.
Cast and crew were shooting in temperatures that could plummet to minus
30 degrees. Equipment seized up causing delays and severe cold and
tiredness caused some crew members to pass out. Four armed guards
had to be on the lookout to protect actors and crew from the constant
threat of polar bears.
CNN's Screening Room talks to one of the film's stars, Sean Bean about
acting in the Arctic Circle and the British film industry.

CNN: How did you end up making this film?
Sean Bean: I met Asif Kapadia, the director, nearly two years ago. I got
sent the script and I was very impressed. I thought it was a great story.
Quite a simple story but very raw. I thought there was a lot of potential
to do a hell of a lot with it and having met Asif and seeing his real sort of
passion I was very enthralled by the prospect of making his film.
CNN: It took a long time for the film to be made. What happened?
SB: It kind of died off. Something happened or the finance disappeared.
The usual kind of thing where something is off and then it's on again and
about a year later he gave me a call again and said it's back on again. I
was in New Mexico at the time which was very hot, the desert, so I didn't
really know what to expect when he said we were going to the Arctic and
living on a ship. I thought, "well, fine" but when we got there I realized
just how bleak it was.
CNN: The script doesn't have much dialogue. How did you go about building
your character?
SB: There's not a huge lot of dialogue as you said. It's more about how
they interact. I mean, there's not a great deal of background to the character.
With my character Loki you don't know where he's come from. He just
appears out of the wilderness, freezing to death. There wasn't a great
deal said between the characters but there was a hell of a lot going on.
The power of this film is that it's what's not said -- how Asif managed to
capture the moments between the three characters where each one is
thinking, "what is the other thinking?" Where does the shift of power
lead to, how are they attracted to each other? That's what I found
fascinating, that there were these three people in a very peculiar,
disturbing triangle. They are stuck in the middle of nowhere. Their
main aims are to find food and keep warm and I suppose the third is
to be close to someone and be comforted by someone and to have
someone love you and care for you. It is this constantly shifting
relationship between the three of them that I found very haunting
and ultimately very sad.
CNN: Your character is also quite mysterious.
SB: Yes, in the sense that he doesn't seem to have any history, which
I thought was quite interesting. It's usually good to know something
about the background of the character but in this case I thought it was
good that he just appears like a ghost.
CNN: What is your take on the much maligned British film industry?
SB: I don't really make a great deal of films in the UK so I don't really
know...I suppose that tells you something about it. I think it's been
the case for few years now that things like tax breaks have been taken
away and it's made it more difficult to get British films off the ground.
There are films being made but it's so difficult to get those films
distributed, publicized and promoted that it often puts investors off
putting their money into British films.
The main loss is the fact we have so many people that are talented,
not just on the acting side but on the technical side, the artistic side
and the craftsman. I think we are probably the best in the world at
putting films together and coming up with fantastical stories that
should be being told now.
I'm not trying to criticise other countries for making films like they
do but you often have to go to the American market in order to get
films made. That's probably what I do a lot and it's a shame because
I think the same stories are been told over and over again. There are
so many stories out there and so much talent in the UK that's not
being tapped into. I wish it wasn't the case. Maybe it won't be soon.
  Bean plays Loki in Asif Kapadia's
latest film, 'Far North.' Much of the
film was shot within the Arctic Circle.


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