Thursday, July 31, 2008

Actor Stuart Townsend discusses his film directing debut,"Battle in Seattle"

Cole Abaius writes:
Battle in Seattle tells a story of the protesters, riot police, and governmental officials that clashed in the streets of the city during the Third Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization. Protesters came for myriad reasons, but once violence broke out, they had the world’s attention - and the meeting stalled, having to be reconvened two years later. It may have seemed like triumph, but the mainstream media mostly blamed protesters for the violence that erupted.

“It took me a year just to research,” Townsend (right) said describing his preparation for writing the script. Six months to write the draft and several rewrites later - the third finished during “ten days locked up in some apartment” while he finished photography on Chaos Theory and it turned into a “four year process before [they] even got started.”

But research was crucial in creating a fictional account based on the factual evidence of such a broad-based, dynamic event in modern history. Especially one that was covered so irresponsibly by the mainstream media. “Sadly, it’s to be expected,” he said elucidating on how “the mainstream media had misrepresented the event. “They often focus on spectacle instead of content, so when they saw anarchists smashing downtown…and riots,” that become the story.

Battle in Seattle features an ensemble cast including Townsend’s longtime girlfriend Charlize Theron, Michelle Rodriguez, Martin Henderson, Woody Harrelson, Andre Benjamin, Ray Liotta, Joshua Jackson and Channing Tatum. Another structural element of his directorial vision - having an ensemble cast - lent itself to giving balance to an otherwise convoluted event, one wrought by conflicting points of view. “There were just so many stories begging to be told,” Townsend said. “The goal was to make it as factually accurate as possible, and to make it as entertaining as possible.” READ MORE