12: Mikhalkov and his Actors about the Russian Remake of Lumet's Classic Coutroom Drama
The Actors About the 12 Project
Nikita Mikhalkov's “12″ is a loose Russian adaptation of Sidney Lumet's 1957 classic film, “12 Angry Men.” “12″ was on of the five nominees for the 2008 Foreign-Language Oscar Award.
The script work has produced a totally new and original piece, which is very current to a viewer of the beginning of the 21st century. I am confident that for a movie which in the 1960s became a revelation of the world of cinematography, today a totally new cinema language should be found, which would not leave the modern viewer indifferent.
It is not only a film about jurors. There are many associations in that film, many thoughts and themes. And maybe the answer to the question how we should exist in this world. Who we are and how we treat ourselves and the next of kin. 12 Angry Men is a film-revelation, film-parable. You will see in the film an absolutely open soul of Nikita Sergeevich and every character on the cast.
It was my first film working for Mikhalkov and that was the case when I improved my qualification as an actor. We had an extensive pre-production, when we rehearsed, worked on the text and, what is most unique, the film was being shot in the script order (i.e. we did not, as it often happens on the set, jump from one piece at the end of the story to an episode in the middle). It was my first experience with consecutive work like this. The two months of the shooting proved to be a fascinating experience for me as an actor.
12 totally different people are sitting at the table. Each represents a profession, some social sector, some ethnicity. They dont have names, just numbers. I think everyone can recognize oneself in those 12 characters. And that means that the film is about us.
My character is different from others in that he is the only person who changed his opinion four times in one day when they were sitting in that gym behind the locked doors to work out a verdict of guilt or otherwise for a Chechen boy. I change my view four times and once even forget what my view was after I changed it the last time.
It is responsible matter when in an argument; a real personality comes to the surface. The authors of the film insist that the story of 12 will be purely Russian. There are not so
many parallels with the Lumet picture. Our script writers added a line with the crime set up. That will be the key in the picture and may change the finale of the entire story.
Interesting Facts About 12
As all the 12 actors were to be on the set all the time, Nikita Mikhalkov signed a strict contract with each. The main condition was actors were not to take part in other projects while shooting this one. The exception was Valentin Gaft. He was excused to play his scheduled parts in the theatre, while Nikita Sergeevich rehearsed with the rest of the
crew. There is one, in a way, unique element in the picture–a 10 minute monologue of Sergey Makovetsky–a wide shot done non-stop, seamlessly without a hitch.
How Sergey Makovetsky was confirmed for his part in the film. Late autumn 2006, Mikhalkov called Makovetsky and, without wasting time for hellos, just asked: Matkovetsky, do you believe in God Whos that Never mind. Just say yes or no But who is that Not important. Just say yes or no well ues And do you go to church Yes Your prayers have been heard.
A pretext for shooting 12 was an unavoidable pause in the work on Burnt by the Sun 2. Mikhalkovs idea was not to let the crew get inactive by keeping them busy shooting the Lumets picture remake. Let us remind you that in 1978 he in a similarly smart move shot an excellent film Five Evenings based on a play by Edward Volodin in-between sessions of making his Several Days in the Life of I.I. Oblomov.
Mikhalkov was proud about his film being among the contenders at the Venus Film Fest: It is very honorable event, very prestigious to represent my country at a festival like the Venus one. But for me the best option would be, if as any people as possible in Russia could see that picture. And the thing is not in class and in glory, but, for some reason, and I hope that I am not mistaken, that this picture is very, and very, important today. I put a lot of hope, as a human being and a citizen, on this picture.
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