Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

'Snow' Director Digs into a Historical Controversy ; Hollywood Stories

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

'Snow' Director Digs into a Historical Controversy ; Hollywood Stories

Article excerpt

Director Scott Hicks was faced with a challenge when he chose to make "Snow Falling on Cedars," a film based on real - and controversial - events.

"How [do you] involve the audience without preaching or teaching them a history lesson?" muses Mr. Hicks. "After all, film is entertainment not school. Nobody goes to the cinema to have a finger waved in their face, so it's very important to keep the events as human and real as possible."

The Australian-educated director, who emerged into the international spotlight with "Shine," his 1996 biopic of pianist David Helfgott, chose to dig into the period immediately following World War II as seen through the lives of a fictitious group of islanders in the Pacific Northwest.

"Snow Falling on Cedars," starring Ethan Hawke and Max Von Sydow, is based on the bestselling novel by David Guterson, and details the discrimination faced by Japanese-Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The film weaves together the story of the internment camps through a murder trial five years after the war and the romance of an interracial couple torn apart by bigotry.

Hicks says he likes the creative challenge of taking audiences into an unfamiliar world.

"I'm attracted to strongly character-driven stories of human emotion," says the director who helped to adapt the award-winning novel for the screen.

The director says that he has never shied away from bringing political viewpoints into his work.

"We need bold leaders and bold ideas or thoughts that sometimes aren't immediately [within] public reach. Even if they can't relate to [the idea] immediately," he adds, "audiences can be taken there," where they can decide for themselves.

The director says he was helped by Hollywood heavyweights like his producers Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall and on-screen legends like Von Sydow and Sam Shepard. …

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