The Tourist Cast
: Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Paul Bettany, Rufus Sewell, Timothy Dalton, Steven Berkoff Director
: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck Genre
: Spy Thriller / Drama Synopsis
: Johnny Depp stars as an American tourist whose playful dalliance with a stranger leads to a web of intrigue, romance and danger in The Tourist. During an impromptu trip to Europe to mend a broken heart, Frank (Johnny Depp) unexpectedly finds himself in a flirtatious encounter with Elise (Angelina Jolie), an extraordinary woman who deliberately crosses his path.
Against the breathtaking backdrop of Paris and Venice, their whirlwind romance quickly evolves as they find themselves unwittingly thrust into a deadly game of cat and mouse. The Tourist
: December 26th, 2010
When Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck presented his vision of The Tourist to producer Graham King, it took King all of 30 minutes to decide that he wanted to finance and produce the film. "I wanted to make a film that would be one of those experiences where you just sit back and enjoy life for a couple of hours," says Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck.
"When Florian sent me the script, there was a combination of factors that made me want to sign on," says Graham King. "In the past several years, he had seen a lot of scripts and passed on a lot of scripts - he had his choice of projects - so I was intrigued that he had taken to this one. Having Angelina Jolie attached didn't hurt, either."
The Tourist, directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, written by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck and Christopher McQuarrie and Julian Fellowes, is a GK Films and Columbia Pictures presentation in association with Spyglass Entertainment. Spyglass developed the property before GK Films stepped in to finance and produce.
Angelina Jolie had been attracted to the project by the potential of the strong female character and by the chance to work with director Henckel von Donnersmarck, and to have him co-write the script. After a very early meeting, it was clear that the director and star were on the same page about the kind of movie they wanted to make. "The Lives of Others is a beautiful, intelligent film, but also heavy," says Angelina Jolie. "When we met, he was very clear that he wanted to make a movie that was luxurious and fun, something that would be exciting for people to watch but didn't take itself too seriously. It was a perfect match."
Now the most important step for director and producer was to find the right male lead. Says Henckel von Donnersmarck: "We really needed someone who wouldn't be eclipsed by Angelina. When we brainstormed over what actor could be a true partner for her in terms of attractiveness, intelligence and acting skill, the only name that kept coming to our minds was Johnny Depp."
Johnny Depp and Oscar®-winning producer Graham King have been friends for years, and, recently, have teamed up on several projects. After wrapping one such collaboration and with an eye toward working together again, Graham King mentioned to him that Donnersmarck and he were looking for a leading man to star in a fun, exciting, sexy thriller opposite Angelina Jolie, and both felt that he would be perfect for the part.
So Donnersmarck and Johnny Depp had a meeting and talked about The Tourist: "I presented the kind of character I envisioned for him, and he liked it," says Henckel von Donnersmarck. "Our meeting lasted three hours instead of one, and we laughed so much that I realized I needed to introduce a lot of humor into the script to do justice to Johnny's charm."
Obviously, Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp are two of the most engaging, charismatic, and talented actors working in film, but as the film requires its characters to share an immediate attraction to each other, all felt it was a good idea to meet and talk before signing on. And believe it or not, that is how Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp met for the first time. Despite being two of the biggest movie stars, they had not entered each other's orbit until they sat down to discuss The Tourist with the director and producer. Graham King sat quietly and watched them interact, watching to see how the actors would get along. Perhaps it was no surprise that they clicked from the first moment. "There was complete instant chemistry between them both," says Graham King.
"Graham called me right after that meeting and was so excited," adds producer Tim Headington of GK Films. "Later, when we started filming and seeing dailies, it was just like magic on tape."
For Henckel von Donnersmarck, they were the perfect leads for this film. "They're great movie stars, but more than that, they are great actors, and I wanted to give them roles in which they could really show what they can do. Elise is charming and delicate and feminine and strong, all at the same time; Frank is winning and charming and funny, just like Johnny is in real life."
"Having either Angelina Jolie or Johnny Depp in this film would have been extraordinary, but the pair together is that perfect combination you dream about but rarely, if ever, happens," says co-screenwriter Julian Fellowes.
In The Tourist, Angelina Jolie plays Elise Ward, the paramour of the criminal Alexander Pearce, who has disappeared. "There are a lot of people looking for him," says Angelina Jolie. "He's stolen a lot of money from a gangster. The gangster wants revenge - and his money back - and the British want him for the taxes on the money he stole. Everyone's looking for him, including Elise, who hasn't seen him for a long time and isn't quite sure when he'll turn up again."
Playing off rumors that he has drastically altered his appearance, Pearce gets word to Elise: get on a certain train for Venice, choose a stranger of approximately Pearce's height and build, and make everyone else believe that man is Pearce. She chooses the American math teacher Frank Tupelo (Johnny Depp), who's headed to Venice to try to mend a broken heart. "She throws him into an adventure he's not prepared for," Angelina Jolie adds.
Of course, not everything goes according to Elise's plan. "Imagine a woman who is elegant, sophisticated, and educated, who falls for a guy who is not any of those things," says Henckel von Donnersmarck. "She has this grand master plan, and falling for him was not meant to happen."
"I wanted this to be a thriller that was simply a fun time at the movies," says Graham King. "Two extraordinary actors, with amazing chemistry, set in an exotic, bigger-than-life location. Who wouldn't want to go on an adventure in Paris and Venice with Angelina and Johnny?"
Johnny Depp says that he likes working with Graham King because "Graham is a renegade. He understands the rules of the game, but he doesn't necessarily adhere to them. He thrives on the risk factor, and that makes him unique. He likes a challenge, he's got great taste, and he doesn't care what other people are doing. He cares about what he believes in."
The screenwriters set the film in Venice, which, Henckel von Donnersmarck says, lent the film its entirely unique atmosphere of beauty and danger. "Somebody once said that Kodak owed most of its revenue to Venice," says Henckel von Donnersmarck. "In terms of art and beauty, it's the richest place in the world - there's nothing else like it. In reality, the city is sinking and falling to bits, but we wanted to show the glory of the place. We asked ourselves, how can we show the city from its best side? There are elements of the plot that are dangerous - but, thanks to Venice, not so dangerous that you might feel miserable about it."Production Designer Jon Hutman adds, "There is something about being there. The water, the architecture, and the history combined create something very special. What we have tried to do is take these existing visual gems and fit them into the story."
Not only was it the right creative choice to shoot the movie in Venice, but surprisingly enough, the choice made practical sense as well. "It seems like a crazy thing for a studio or producer to allow, but we had a very limited window in which to make the movie. We didn't have time to build the Venice interiors on a soundstage. For entirely practical reasons, we had to do the unheard-of thing."
The setting called for the film's action sequences to be striking and written especially for the city. Stunt choreographer Simon Crane - a stunt legend after working on films ranging from Cliffhanger to Saving Private Ryan to Hancock - was charged with planning character-driven action sequences unique to Venice.
"Anyone can dream up an action sequence," says Simon Crane. "But if it doesn't fit the tone of the film, it's totally worthless. It's all about believability."
A good example is the scene in which Frank, attempting to escape would-be murderers who are convinced he is Alexander Pearce, leaps across Venice rooftops - just as Casanova did as he attempted to escape jealous husbands. "It came to me when reading about Casanova. Of course, Frank is the anti-Casanova," says Henckel von Donnersmarck. "I thought, wouldn't that be a fun way to present him - not as a great, confident lover trying to escape the cuckolded husband, but running for his life from gangsters. It reinforces the character and also presents all the beauty of Venice - it was a lot of fun."
Another action sequence that made full use of everything Venice had to offer was the canal boat chase. Henckel von Donnersmarck captured the action with multiple cameras over seven nights. Angelina Jolie even learned to drive several kinds of boats for the sequence. Simon Crane has worked with Angelina Jolie on several films - including Salt and Mr. and Mrs. Smith - and says the actress, as always, was committed to getting the action right.
"Every day, we tried to add more detail and texture. One night, shortly before we shot the sequence, I came home from work in the early morning hours and saw this beautiful fog, all over Venice," says the director. "I thought, 'Oh, it would be really nice to have that in the film.' So we went pretty heavy on the fog to try to recreate that beauty. It was really a good way to use the dark side of the city, the danger that comes with the romance."
Creating such a stylized stunt sequence - and at night, no less - was a challenge, not least because the team was prevented from rehearsing in the actual location. However, it was a challenge perfectly suited to Simon Crane. "We rehearsed everything on open water, with buoys and other markers," he says. "It was a challenge, but you just have to do it."ABOUT THE CHARACTERS
Angelina Jolie plays Elise Clifton Ward, a beautiful (of course!) and mysterious woman involved in a romantic relationship with the wanted thief Alexander Pearce - but keeps her true motivations close to the vest. "She's instructed by Alexander to take a train from Paris to Venice, and while on the train find a man - someone of Alexander's height and build," says Angelina Jolie. "She finds Frank and throws him into this adventure."
"My character in this film is different than any other film," says Angelina Jolie. "Florian gave me very specific direction. My natural modern rhythm is quicker and harder. At the beginning of the shoot, Florian's note to me was to slow down, as Elise lives in a world of quiet luxury and elegance."
"Angelina wakes up in the morning and is glamorous and feminine, and I wanted to capture that about her on film in the character of Elise," says Henckel von Donnersmarck.
"Florian is probably one of the most intelligent human beings I have ever met in my life," Angelina Jolie continues. "Come on: he speaks six languages. When we shot in Paris he spoke French; when we shot in Italy, he spoke Italian. And a couple of our stunt guys were Russian and he would speak to them in Russian."
Opposite the extraordinary Elise Clifton Ward is Frank Tupelo, an American math teacher. "My main interest was to play the ultimate ordinary man," says Depp. "The people who are perceived as 'normal' are the ones I find the strangest, really: they have tics and flaws and weird mannerisms. This is a guy who hasn't really lived much of a life, so that was the great challenge - to play him as hyper-normal."
Depp also enjoyed the opportunity to work with Henckel von Donnersmarck. "Not only is he sweet, humble, giving, caring, loving, clever, and super smart, he was beyond collaborative," says the actor. "He was very much into the fact that things have to happen organically. He trusted that when Angelina and I got into the ring together, things would take shape."
The filmmakers surrounded Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie with a cast of actors and famous faces.
Paul Bettany plays Acheson, the policeman trying to track down the gangster Alexander Pearce. "He's become obsessed with catching Pearce," says Paul Bettany of his character. "He's been trying so long and has been foiled at every turn. But the thing about this movie is that nobody can be taken at face value - not even my character. His investigation is complex and twisted - his motivation is complicated for personal reasons."
"Florian is exacting, demanding, and specific," says Paul Bettany. "There is an enormous amount of detail in his direction. He does it in an entirely charming way, but he will not move on until he has exactly what he wants."
Timothy Dalton, best known, of course, for his portrayal of James Bond, takes on a very different kind of British government agent in The Tourist: as the policeman Chief Inspector Jones, he is ultimately in charge of the men leading the investigation into Alexander Pearce. "In The Tourist, I play the role of Chief Inspector Jones, a number-crunching, budget conscious policeman who is in overall command of the operation to capture Alexander Pearce. His concerns are not in the morality of either the crime or the criminal but in simply getting hold of the enormous amount of money Pearce has stolen. Alexander Pearce has 744 million in illegal assets that, given he is a British subject, we might seize! And interestingly, he goes about it using his own particular sense of what is right and what is wrong, his own decent and worldly morality."
Steven Berkoff plays the villain Shaw, a gangster who wants to find Alexander Pearce even more than Acheson does, if that's possible. "My character is a curious mix of devil, charm, and sophistication," says Steven Berkoff.
Steven Berkoff continues, "I have scenes with Angelina Jolie that are very intense and feature knives and guns. She made it so easy and kept her cool. She is fearless and very, very trusting. She doesn't bat an eyelid in an intense situation - she is so focused."