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The Green Book director Peter Farrelli about racism, the quiet charm of Viggo Mortenson and the upcoming Oscar

In the Russian hire goes "The Green Book» Peter Farrelli - One of the main candidates for the Oscar and an example of an amazing metamorphosis of not only the actors, but also the director. Usually Peter Farrelli makes his films with brother Bobby - but this time he had to work alone. The result was a movie in which you can still recognize the author.Stupid and dumber". But now this movie from the highest league is respectable, socially responsible and already marked by a bunch of awards, including the main prize of the US Producers Guild.

The director told us what he thinks about modern political correctness, how he transformed the Dane Viggo Mortensen in Italian and what it is like to work without a brother.

The theme of racism is always relevant for America and the whole world. But you’re podgadali to release this film right now - under current authority?

Well, I immediately realized that the story will cause a resonance with the present day. But in fact, this is not the reason why I took it. Even if the situation suddenly changed dramatically and we entered an era where there is no hint of discrimination, I would still make this film. It is important to talk about what happened in the past. It is a pity, of course, that since then we have not made so much progress on the issue of human rights, and now we are rolling back completely. In general, yes, unfortunately, we chose the right time to shoot a picture.

The prototype of the main character of the film has a son - Hollywood screenwriter. He participated in the work on the film?

Yes, indeed, Nick Vallelonga — the son of the bouncer Tony Vallelongi nicknamed “Boltun”, played by Viggo Mortensen — wrote the script with Brian and me. But I did not know him before. It turned out Nick is a lot like Tony - the same unceremonious Italian healthy. (Laughs.) Twenty-five years ago, he realized that his father’s biography could be a great film, and asked him to retell the story in front of a video camera. It was a piercing record for an hour and a half. They did not miss a single detail.

Frame from the movie "Green Book"

Frame from the movie "Green Book"

And the truth is that our film tells only a part of this story. We focused on that part of the journey that Don Shirley and Tony made before Christmas 1962 of the year. But in fact, after the holidays, they continued their journey. So we have a little accelerated the course of events, but we did not invent a single adventure. When we say that the whole movie is based on real events, it is so. Story with Kennedy? It was! The clash with the police, after which the heroes were in prison? It was! Arrest in the Youth Christian Association? Also! All this happened, but not during the period shown by us, but during the year.

So you learned the era with the words of the hero?

Yeah, when I watched the interview that Tony gave to his son, at some point I paused and said: “So, wait,“ Green book for black motorists? ”I heard a lot?” And then we got into Google and found out that such a guide really existed. But none of us had heard of him before, including all my dark-skinned friends.

We started digging and found out that these directories were only sold at Exxon gas stations. We had no money for the film, and then we thought: what if you contact Exxon? After all, this is an ideal advertisement that will remind Americans that the company fought racism half a century ago. Think about it: all other gas stations simply did not serve blacks! The people who drove Exxon were far-sighted: they saw that more and more freeways were being built in America and that for the first time in history, African Americans were beginning to travel behind the wheel - after all, they had simply never had the money for this luxury. So the company turned out to be a monopolist in the new market. We thought that they would want to become part of our film, but they never called us back. And the book, by the way, is called “green”, because it was published by a man named Victor Green.

She must be a rarity today.

Yes, they are selling a copy of it now, but the original can be bought from collectors somewhere for thirty thousand dollars! I told all of my black friends about this: “Look in the closets and in the attics of grandparents — suddenly there is such wealth somewhere, but you don’t know.”

Peter Farrell

Peter Farrell

And today's racism in America - is it more urban or rural?

Alas, it is still in the cities. Especially in the south. I ran into him in Atlanta when I was shooting there "Three dunces"And"Celibate week". As you know, Atlanta is located in the south. This is a beautiful city, there are many people of different nationalities, half of them are white, half are colored. And it seems to you that here it is - an oasis of progress. Until you go to the pub with some local dude. After the third glass of bourbon, his tongue is untied, and he will definitely begin to say such things that you do not expect to hear from an educated, successful white person. When someone breaks the word "nigger", I always stop the conversation and ask, "What did you just say? And most importantly - why? ”And it begins:“ I didn’t mean it, you misunderstood everything. ” It seems from the outside that everything seems to be good, the situation is changing for the better, but it is worth digging a little deeper, and you understand that all the same stereotypes live inside. And you need to fight them.

Well, how did you get the idea to shoot Viggo Mortensen in the role of Italian?

Viggo is my favorite actor. In my opinion, he is a genius. I realized that it was unbelievable when I looked at “Defect to export”, and that was in 2007. Two years ago, when “Captain Fantastic” came out, I thought it was a superhero movie, and I hate it. And I decided not to watch. And then my wife told me that the picture is actually about something else. And when we looked at it, we just had the roof blown off by Viggo. Although he is good at any movie.

I must say that at that moment I was already developing the Green Book. And if not "Капитан Фантастик“I would not have thought of Viggo as an Italian. But suddenly I remembered that I never wondered: “And that guy in“Vice for export“Is it really Russian?” Because if Mortensen is taken for the role, then it turns into a real Russian. Because Viggo dissolves in his character - he is immersed in the image in such a way that you cannot even imagine anyone else in his place. I remember when I asked my wife what she thought of Viggo as an Italian, she laughed back and said that she was worth a try. I am like this: “Really?” She: “Well, yes, I love him, he is awesome!” And not only women, but also men love him. You know, there is such a type among the actors: men, from whom women are crazy, but who are unpleasant to men. Viggo is not like that. He has such a quiet charm of a very worthy, noble person. He is talented in everything. When he does not act in films, he goes in for sports and writes poems. In general, this is the perfect actor.

You and brother Bobby released the first 24 movie a year ago. Compared to previous works, what does this Green Book picture say about you as a director?

All our films are designed in the same style. I can not say that this project is very different from the past. I had no task to do something completely different. Is that in this film, I tried to avoid excessive humor, because I did not want to go away from the main theme. I needed people to believe in history, to make the characters seem real. I had to give up some funny replicas. I was often restrained from comedic improvisations right on the set. But do not think that our paths diverged with my brother, I didn’t take up this film on purpose alone. It's just that since Bobby's son died four years ago from a drug overdose, my brother decided to take a break from filming. I am waiting for him to recover, and we will immediately begin a new joint project.

Peter Farrell

Peter Farrell

You always pushed the limits of the genre when you made comedies. Is there a feeling that you have reached a certain limit?

Now it’s harder to work with comedies. We discussed this topic last night with the screenwriter and his girlfriend director. He said: "She is my muse when I write - I represent her in the image of my heroine." And I joked in response: "Soon it will be forbidden to have muses, they will be outlaws." (Laughs.) There are a lot of changes in society, and they affect comedy, it’s just impossible to joke about many things now. It seems to me that now it’s impossible to make a film like “All crazy about Mary". Although ... I do not know, maybe you can.

Are you afraid of political correctness?

Partly yes. Now it is difficult to imagine the release of the film "Simulator", which we released 14 years ago. According to the plot Johnny Knoxville plays a guy who decides to pretend to be a person with a disability in order to win the Olympics and pay back debts. Of course, real people with disabilities immediately recognize the scam artist. He explains to them that he needs help, and becomes their coach. This is a pretty sweet movie. Ask any Paralympic - most of them have watched this movie. But that was then. Now this is impossible. Because of political correctness. And this is sad. Of course, it’s great that now you can’t pronounce the word “n” and many others, but those that you can laugh at have become much smaller, so the comedy genre is going through difficult times.

Peter Farrell

Peter Farrell

Do you still think that you and your brother are anti-Coens?

In fact, I do not think so. It was just a joke when we all met at a ceremony. They were then given a prize, but we are not.

And now your film broke into the Oscar Race. What are the sensations

I swear, I don't care. I never dreamed about it. I am not one of those who rehearses speech in the hope of a statuette. Even in thought this never happened. If this happens, then of course I will be happy. But it would be even better if they awarded Viggo Mortensen and Mahershalu Alibecause it's a great duet for acting! This is their world. Viggo deserves it. He is so long in the profession. It is necessary that he took the statuette.

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