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Funny Games Interview


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IGN.com chats with Naomi Watts about Funny Games.

IGN Movies: What drew you to this movie, especially knowing how tough a role you would be playing?

Naomi Watts: Michael Haneke was the initial draw for me. I knew and loved his work, I’d seen three of his films, and I love what he does. I saw the original and it really got under my skin; it freaked me out and I reacted in many different ways. I felt angry, I felt played with, I felt violated, but overall at the end I thought all of my reactions were so visceral and it provoked a huge amount of thought and discussion and it stayed with me. I never stopped feeling engaged in this movie, despite the adverse reactions, and to me that’s a success. It wasn’t an easy, quick decision – I didn’t go right away, “Yeah, I’ve got to do this.” All of those reasons that I said made it interesting to me also kind of repelled me and brought up a lot of fear for me. And often when I feel afraid of something, it’s usually a good sign I know I’ll end up having fun. And then I bounced the idea off of a lot of people that I respect and unanimously they all said, “Go work with Michael Haneke.” Two or three of the directors I went to were familiar with this film and they all said this is worthy.

IGN: Because Funny Games is a critique or commentary on the filmmaking medium itself, did that affect the way you performed or the way you approached the material?

Watts: No, I think we just always played it for the truth of it, and you don’t think about that until you’re here [doing interviews], really. At the time we were just in the moment, and Michael Haneke and the way he works… he won’t ever let you get out of the moment, in fact so much so that I was bound and gagged for pretty much the whole day because it was too hard to get in and out of that setup. And the way he shoots, he’s not making fancy shots or quick cuts; it’s almost like an ongoing play, you know – endless, long takes, so you just have to be completely connected and truthful. It’s really exhausting, the way he works.

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