Mia Farrow stars in Arthur and the Invisibles, directed by Luc Besson, as a grandmother whose grandson, Arthur (Freddie Highmore) goes on a quest in the land of the Minimoys to save her house from being demolished. Mia Farrow has been in Rosemary's Baby, The Great Gatsby as well as Woody Allen films such as Zelig, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Crimes and Misdemeanors and Husbands and Wives. She has recently co-starred in The Omen and her upcoming films include Fast Track and Be Kind Rewind.
The Weinstein Company will release Arthur and the Invisibles on January 12th, 2007.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Why did you choose this role?
MF: I think the reason I [chose] it was purely and simply Luc Besson. I felt completely compelled and privileged by the idea of working with Luc and Luc's very being is that he's Arthur all grown up but he's still Arthur the little boy and he's a man who would go on a quest. I think there are many levels to see the film on and he's on all levels, and we had spoken about this earlier, that some of Luc's childhood, his mom told me about and he had mentioned that he'd gone from reef to reef as a child with his mother being a deep sea diver, a professional. And in that adventure of a childhood apparently a lot of that time he spent alone too. He developed this profound, this connection with and respect for the environment and everything contained in our sphere and that is so fixed in him and expressed in everything he is and does and creates. That was fascinating to me. I could watch him brush his teeth, I just find him completely compelling and I don't pretend that I know him because he's a little shy and less transparent than I. [laughs] I'm so out there. [laughs]
NYC MOVIE GURU: How did you feel playing a grandmother?
MF: I've played stranger things than grandmothers. [laughs] Let me count the ways. It really was fun and I do think it's a project that has meaning. Given that it's Luc, I'm sure it's magical. I've not seen it yet. I hope it will be a gift for children and an affirmation to say, “Hold onto those dreams! And do go on those quests!'” I know it won't be precisely as in the movie but there are quests.
NYC MOVIE GURU: What was it like working with Freddie Highmore?
MF: Well, Freddie is a treat to work with because he's a fine actor and it's always better for us as actors when you work with another actor who's really as good as Freddie so that made my job loads easier. He was 100% present and spontaneous and enthusiastic within the creative reality of our story. That said, he has wonderful parents and one has to pay tribute to them who has raised this child and who are very much in his life in responsible ways. Plus, they're loads of fun and I got to know them and they too are my friends. And the other thing is, along with Freddie's gifts he really loves what he's doing. That is great because not all kids that I've worked with over a lifetime are all there of their own wish and are having a great time, nor do all of them have great parents so it has to be said. Freddie is all around good company and we had breakfast lunch and dinner together on location, we'd spend weekends on outings, went to the beaches of Normandy together and I brought one of my kids who is close to Freddie's age and we just had a great time off set too so three things: great to work with as an actor, loads of fun to hang out with, has great parents who are also fun to hang out with, so he's a friend for life. NYC MOVIE GURU: Do you see any of yourself in Freddie?
MF: I haven't even thought about that. I see something of myself in every single person. I just believe there is a common denominator that we all have if we're completely honest – you can take away a lot of things and you can part with them but there are some essential things that if you and I spent time together we would find that easily because everything else can fall away but not that. So yeah, Freddie is very much centered and truthful and principled and the core of Freddie is – he's always going to be a terrific person. NYC MOVIE GURU: Had you done any voiceover work before?
MF: Yeah, I did. Actually it was something called The Last Unicorn and I was the unicorn and there was a Beauty and the Beast thing too that I did. A few things I did but The Last Unicorn – I know there are Last Unicorn parties. People have Last Unicorn parties in New York so I know that happens in certain circles.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Did you regret you weren't converted to a fully realized animated character in Arthur in the Invisibles?
MF: Regret, you know what – I have regrets but this doesn't make my top 1000 list (laughs). I haven't wasted time thinking about…I guess it would be loads of fun to be a cartoon but it just didn't come my way. But I count my blessings (laughs).
Q. Are you also an environmental activist?
MF: Yeah, I have not taken on any environmental issues. They should certainly be in the front of all of our minds and I saw the Al Gore movie and I read the book before it – we should be buying land in the north Pole because it'll be great weather there soon. I speak ironically, but these are issues for all of us and I'm purely and simply working for Darfur right now. The people of Darfur and Central African Republic will be my fourth trip to the region. I feel we all need to be…it's been under covered by the press as some of us has talked about rather shamefully, I think it got less than 50 minutes last year on television and someone goes missing, perhaps a Caucasian person goes missing on an island and we have hundreds of hours, countless hours and I'm not saying that's not a tragedy, it is, but we need to prioritize when we're seeing literally millions of peoples lives hanging in the balance. I know I'm here to promote a movie but it goes without saying. I have on my t-shirt “[Genocide Olympics]” to say that China is financing the genocide in Darfur largely. 88% of the billions of dollars that pour into Khartoum are Chinese from oil industries in Southern Sudan and that money buys guns and ammunitions large and small to attack the people of Darfur and beyond through the border into Eastern Chad where there is immeasurable suffering. So that of course is on my mind and it's something that I feel that Arthur and I think that this would have been a quest of Arthur's and I think it's something that Luc took on in this film. The children are born with the kind of courage and imagination that would rightly be outraged at injustice and would take on enemies of every kind to correct that injustice and right the wrongs. I love that about children and this movie will appeal to children but hopefully it will appeal to the child in everybody that still remains, the complacency of my generation – I wish everybody would wake up and say, yes, there are quests here and we need to be engaged in that and we are a human family and we see this in Arthur. Arthur and the Invisibles is really about the human family, no matter how small or how tall or whatever their color. One really can't do without the other and they each need each other for different and essential reasons and to respect those differences and come together is a huge message and an important one.
NYC MOVIE GURU: How do you relate to this message?
MF: I can connect to the idea – as you know I have 14 children and 10 of them are adopted and so our idea of a family has nothing to do with bloodlines, it is about commitment and responsibly and those things and by extension, the global view of our collective human family is one that is very much in evidence in this film.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Do you plan to show the film to your children?
MF: I've never shown them any of my films. They've had to eventually come of age and go to the video store if they want them.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Where do funds for The Genocide Olympics go?
MF: The idea is to say that China is hosting the Olympics and that's their international calling card to say, hey we can join the international community and be accepted. Never mind their human rights records for now. It is they're complicit in a genocide in Darfur, that [the] money that they're pouring in through two oil companies Sinopac and PetroChina are financing a genocide – the Darfur genocide - so actually, if you really want to go off the record here, look up a Wall Street Journal article which my son Ronan, whom I'm extremely proud of. He's just a kid but he wrote a Wall Street Journal article called China's Crude Conscience and you'll see the extent to which the funds that pour into the Khartoum government from China are used to purchase gun ships, bombs, weaponry, uniforms, training, financing a genocide so I thought if we could associate this new calling card to say, 'Surely you don't want to be linked with this?' They and they alone could induce Khartoum to admit the peace keeping force and are strongly recommended by the UN and so vital for the people of Darfur, Eastern Chad and Central Africa so this is what we're hoping for. But it's like knocking on the door and saying, 'Excuse me Mr. Hitler, can we come in and liberate the Jews? No? Oh, okay.' We're faced with another genocide and we're in a position of saying, 'We can't come in? Okay.' So to move them on that decision China would have the power to either make them stop the genocide or to allow them to bring in peacemakers with sufficient numbers and with a strong enough mandate to effectively protect civilians and humanitarians that are there putting their own lives on the line each day, saving 4 million people.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Would you like to do a fictional film that deals with some of these issues?
MF: If it comes my way.
NYC MOVIE GURU: What’s coming up next for you?
MF: I have a Michel Gondry film, [Be King Rewind] with Danny Glover and Jack Black.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Is that a comedy?
MF: Yeah, it really is. Danny Glover is my boyfriend and it's like a dream. He is a sweetheart. The whole thing is a dream.
NYC MOVIE GURU: What particular message would you like people to walk away with after watching Arthur and the Invisibles?
MF: Well, I hope to have loads of fun with it but yes I think the message that we spoke of, of the human family no matter what color you are, no matter what size you are, no matter what your culture is, that we do need each other and we see The Invisibles and the Bogo-Matasalai, the brotherhood and the sense of community where they would do anything to save each other and protect each other, keep each other safe, we are complete.