Harlin on Russia-Georgia war
Renny Harlin directing a true life drama based around actual events during the five-day war (let's not cosy it up as anything else) between Russia and Georgia is not something you expect to read.
Harlin's name is more associated with action than anything else, Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Deep Blue Sea, and some other titles we shouldn't really mention. However real life drama in a time of war that isn't far back in either country's history?
Harlin isn't talking about the film but he does reveal that the film will follow an American journalist and his cameraman who are caught up in the crossfire of the war and have to try and remain impartial and not get involved - sounds like a number of films we saw a little while back mainly around Bosnia.
However that's just the setup and this one sounds like it's going to be a much tougher drama, mainly because of that phrase at the end about them trying to remain impartial - why? What's happening around them that tests their otherwise steely impartiality? Not that all journalists are bastions of impartiality, however that's probably another film!
The rest of the film is being kept very much under wraps, but it's the kind of film that Renny Harlin has been looking out for. He was looking to make a film called Mannerheim which would have set him down the true life, dramatic route as this film is.
"I've waited a long time to find something with substance and reality," Harlin said. "I thought I had that in 'Mannerheim,' this historical epic on the Finnish war general who led Finland against Russia in 1939, but the financing fell apart. When I got this script two weeks ago, it was exactly what I had been looking for, a great human story, with tragic, serious overtones. I saw it as my opportunity to use my experience in action films to tell the story of a complex conflict that is impartial but makes a strong antiwar statement."
The five day war began on the 8th of August 2008, so not that long ago, when Georgian forces attacked the border in South Ossetia, however Russia stated publicly that they were supporting the territory's independence and sent troops in to push back the Georgian forces well into the country.
So it's surprising that Harlin is filming actually near the areas where the war took place, it's surprising considering that feelings will probably still be very raw regarding the events. Another surprise is that the budget will be much smaller than a Hollywood film that he's used to, so we definitely will see something more personal and, as he said himself:
"I want to make a film that says something about the human condition, and even if only a few people see this and feel its impact and its antiwar message, then I will have done something that's important and I will be proud of it"
Well it's going to be a challenge, but if it works out then we could see something rather special, especially if it provides an insight into the real stories behind the war as the world press was brought to bear on the country when Russian troops pushed forward.