“There is a danger with being jingoistic—you can’t do that—but this film isn’t about the war,” said the director Ridley Scott at the Sunday night premiere of his new film Body of Lies, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe. “It’s really a spy film in the spirit of The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, The Third Man, or Spy Game, my brother’s film. And who doesn’t want to be a spy?” (Mr. Scott’s brother is the director Tony Scott.)
Mr. DiCaprio fielded questions about his personal life (still no comment as to whether he plans to settle down with Israeli model Bar Rafaeli). Mr. Crowe and his long pony tail were feeling moody. Mr. Scott explained why his film will fare better than the glut of films about the Iraq war and terrorism that have thus far failed to resonate with audiences.
“It was never anything I really thought about,” said Mr. Dicaprio of the film’s seemingly tired subject matter. “To me, it is a political film, but we tried not to bring any of our own politics into it and I think it gives the audience the negative and positive view of the U.S. foreign policy. If you get a chance to do a film that is topical and deals with an issue that everyone in the world is thinking about, combined with a Ridley Scott espionage thriller, you just do it and you worry about those things later.”
Unfortunately for the hopeful director and his leading man, reviews for the film have already been cruel.
From Variety: “Neither the location-based verisimilitude of Ridley Scott’s shooting style nor the estimable Middle East expertise of source-material author David Ignatius can disguise Body of Lies as anything other than the contrived phony-baloney it is.”
But at least the cast and crew had a good time while shooting in Morocco.
“There wasn’t much to do there, but we all had a great time going to the sea, playing volleyball, and jet skiing,” recalled the Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani.
Mr. Scott said he tried to get a game of tennis in every Sunday morning with a local tennis pro before heading in to work. “I was only there for a few days so I didn’t get to see that much, and I had shot there before, actually, for Gladiator,” Mr. Crowe told the Daily Transom. But when we asked Mr. Crowe if he had any time at all to frolic by the sea with Ms. Farahani and the cast, he seemed to get a little annoyed.
“I just went through that twice now,” he said testily. “No. I didn’t go out, and I didn’t do anything else. I just shot there a few days.” (Our apologies, Mr. Crowe!)
As the actor moved on to the next interviewer, he noticed a “Press” sticker stuck to the bottom of his shoe. Examining the word “Press” carefully, with a look of mild offense, Mr. Crowe proceeded to stick it onto the cameraman who was in the process of shooting him for his next interview. (The cameraman was surely relieved that that was a paper sticker at the bottom of Mr. Crowe’s fancy shoe and not a more unpleasant substance.)
When asked why he thought this movie would succeed above other films dealing with similar subject matter, Mr. Crowe replied: “Because it’s just so much better.”