Interview with Rampart Writer/Director Oren Moverman

13 02 2012

Millennium Entertainment’s Rampart stars Woody Harrelson in one of his darkest roles since Natural Born Killers .  The ironic side is this time he’s a cop.  I was able to chat with the Writer/Director of the film Oren Moverman.  Click thru for an enlightening and expansive look into Oren’s career and into the finer points of his latest film, Rampart.

The Israeli-born New Yorker reunites with Woody and Ben Foster for another tough film.  Oren’s work on The Messenger gained himself as well as Woody and Ben critical praise and awards.  The National Board Review gave Oren the Spotlight Award for his screenplay to The Messenger.  His choices of script material has varied subject matter wise but he’s certainly not shied away from difficult and tough material.  His first foray into writing was the wonderfully chaotic and structureless book, Jesus’ Son, by Denis Johnson.   I jumped into my chat with Oren by discussing how the heck he had the balls to adapt (along with Elizabeth Cuthrell & David Urrutia) such a tough structureless book like, Jesus’ Son.

James Ellroy wrote the original first draft of the Rampart script.  Oren came aboard to rewrite the massive vision of Mr. Ellroy’s L.A. Police Department.  I asked him what was it like adapting a script originally written by James Ellroy.

Oren was awesome enough to explain what elements he added and tweaked to Ellroy’s original script.

Even though the film is a calling card role for Woody Harrelson, young star Brie Larson stole every scene she was in.  I asked Oren about writing for such a dynamic young female character and he responded by opening up about his own family.

This next clip is a bit of a spoiler to how the final scene of the film developed, so skip to the next one if ya like.  Brie Larson’s character Helen plays an important role in how Woody’s character, Dave closes out this chapter of his life.

The shot selection and boldness in angles by Oren and his DP Bobby Bukowski gave Rampart a unique quality.  I asked Oren about the intentions that he and Bobby Bukowski had with those choices.  In particular, Oren broke down a scene that had Woody, Steve Buscemi and Sigourney Weaver all huddled around a table.

The visual components of Oren’s film truly showcase the details that he wanted to highlight.  The shot above is from one of my favorite scenes in the film.  Woody is in Robin Wright‘s character Linda’s pool and it is raining heavily.  At one point Woody dives in and starts to just relax in the bottom of the pool.  The zen like moment is one of the most visually stunning shots in the film and really encompasses Woody’s entire character.  I asked Oren about the set up for this scene and he explains how it was really a last minute choice to do this particular shot.

Oren talked about one of the more emotional scenes that involved Dave just with his two daughters, Helen played by Brie Larson and Margaret played by Sammy Boyarsky, in a hotel room.

We discussed what it was like working with such a dynamic actor and producer, Ben Foster.

Denis Johnson, my personal favorite author, material spans a wide variety of subject matter and even style.  James Ellroy is easily one of crime fiction’s most recognized and beloved authors.  L.A. Confidential  is easily one of the best written modern film noirs of the last few decades.  Here’s Oren short but honest response to my question of why choose such tough voices to follow with your scripts.

Rampart opens in Dallas Fort Worth on February 17th.

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24 07 2014
Mid-Year Report - Top Films of 2014. | Selig Film NewsSelig Film News

[…] Time Out of Mind.  Director Oren Moverman.  […]

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