Clive Owen stars in The International, directed by Tom Twyker, as Louis Salinger, an Interpol agent who teams up with New York Assistant District Attorney Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts), to investigate the potential corruption of a bank, IBBC. They get into more and more trouble as they go on a mission to get to discover what's really going on and how it's linked to the death of an interpol agent, Thomas Schumer (Ian Burfield). In a powerful scene, Louis, has an altercation with Wilhelm Wexler (Armin Mueller-Stahl) plays an ex-Stasi colonel, who's now a shady security consultant working for the IBBC and caught up in the sinister corruption. Clive Owen has previously starred in Children of Men, Shoot 'Em Up, Inside Man, Derailed, Closer, King Arthur, Beyond Borders, Sin City and Croupier. He can also be seen played opposite Julia Roberts in Duplicity. It was a real pleasure and privilege to interview him.
Columbia Pictures releases The International nationwide on February 13th, 2009.
NYC MOVIE GURU: What appealed to you about the role of Louis Salinger?
CO: The ambition of the film is always to be a well-researched, well-informed, intelligent, mature, but ultimately, a sweeping international thriller. As for my character, thereís something about his passion and anger and obsession with how far heís going to go, which is the thing I liked about it and why I wanted to do it. At any given point in the film, most people would give up and not carry on pursuit to try to bring down this hugely powerful corporation. Heís a very fallible human because itís at the cost of everything in his life, but, in some ways, heís kind of heroic because heís prepared to go that far and has an innate sense of whatís morally right and wrong.
NYC MOVIE GURU: How do you feel about the fact that Louis and Eleanor donít have a love affair onscreen?
CO: I was very glad that it didnít descend into clichť, really, with the relationship. They are a partnership and there is an attraction there, but itís kind of based on their work ethic and their pursuit of the bank. Itís a very delicate, well-pitched relationship.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Where does your passion for acting come from?
CO: I did a school play, [ďOliver!Ē], when I was about 13. I [played] the Artful Dodger. From that moment on, I decided thatís what I was gonna do and Iíve been unwavering ever since. If it hadnít worked out, itís a terrifying thought because I never wanted or been able to do anything else.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Do you find it more challenging as an actor to perform dramatic scenes or action sequences?
CO: Theyíre not too dissimilar, weirdly. I agree with you about the scene with Armin [Mueller-Stahl], because thatís as good acting as Iíve seen close up, really. It was just a pleasure to be able to a very big, long dialogue scene like that with him. But in terms of the shootout, itís kind of the same things apply, basically. My job my is to put people in the position of what it might feel like to be in there, and itís not to run around the Guggenheim trying to look cool with a gun. If guys came in there and started shooting guns like that, [in reality], youíd be terrified. Itís about trying to make people feel that sort of palpable fear and intensity of what it might be actually like to be in the middle of that. The same acting instincts apply as it does for dialogue, really. Youíve just gotta put people in the position youíre in and try and make them understand and believe what it is youíre doing.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Do you consider yourself as an actor whoís often an action hero?
CO: I donít think of myself as an action hero. Iíve done one crazy action film called Shoot ĎEm Up which was a comedy action film. Every other film Iím in has got action in it, but thatís just the sweep of the story. I donít think of myself as an action guy.