Scott Hicks, the Australian director responsible for the Academy Award-winning Shine, returns to his native country for the adaptation of Simon Carr’s bestselling memoir. The Boys Are Back deals with a recently widowed father of two boys who has to come to grips with fatherhood. Academy Award-nominee Clive Owen stars and gives the best performance of his career as a loving father who, with little guidance other than his instincts, opts for a chaotic, Boys’ Own-style existence with his sons. I sat down with the actor recently to discuss his latest film.
From Men to Boys
Clive Owen Discusses The Boys Are Back and His Starring Role as a Lenient Father
Thursday, October 8, 2009
That is not your typical role. What was it about this character that made you want to commit to it? It is different. I was very attracted to it because it’s a movie that really is exploring the ups and downs of parenting. And I am a parent, I have two girls. It is a huge problem of mine, but I’ve always considered it very separate. I go off and make movies and I come home and I’m a father, and I have that sort of very full experience at home.
It was a script that I was incredibly touched by-the examination of single parenting. I was devastated when I read those opening scenes of him telling the boy that his mother might not be around much longer, and I thought that was deeply upsetting and really moved me. I thought it was a very exquisitely written exploration of a father and two boys trying to make their way.
It’s funny, because a lot of people have said that it’s a very different film for me, but I never plan it that way-I never make choices in movies thinking of genre or what kind of role it is. It is literally an instinctive response, the career, and then there are days I do look back and see all the films together and notice patterns. I didn’t think it was some huge departure. I was very taken with the script.
I read an interview that Scott Hicks gave where he said he’d never worked with an actor so much on a script before. I indeed like to do a lot of work before I start shooting. I like to be very clear and to discuss with the director anything that feels to me it’s not working. Scott and I just work very closely together. We were both very passionate that it wasn’t going to be a sentimental film, that the film had to feel real, and the incidents were real, and that we’d all be working to achieve that. It was just really about honing and talking and making sure that the thing played and the physical beats were right. And the all of it felt as real as possible.