Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Jon Hamm Says Criticism of 'Beirut' Film Is Part of Online 'Outrage Machine'

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Jon Hamm Says Criticism of 'Beirut' Film Is Part of Online 'Outrage Machine'

Article excerpt

Jon Hamm on why 'Beirut' was shot in Morocco


TORONTO - Between the five languages spoken on set, bureaucracy issues and speedy month-long shoot during Ramadan when Muslim crew members were fasting, producers on the new hostage drama "Beirut" "moved mountains" to shoot in Morocco, says star Jon Hamm.

Much has been made of the fact that filming took place in Morocco to tell the story of a U.S. diplomat, played by the former "Mad Men" star, who flees Beirut after tragedy strikes at his home in 1972.

His character reluctantly returns 10 years later, during the Lebanese Civil War, in a bid to negotiate for the release of a colleague kidnapped by the fictional Militia of Islamic Liberation. Rosamund Pike plays a CIA operative who helps him.

When the trailer came out, some viewers and news organizations criticized the film for being shot outside of Lebanon and lacking actors of Lebanese descent.

But Hamm says the film that hits theatres Friday "was exceedingly well researched" and shot in Morocco not because it was easy but out of necessity.

"If people are wondering why a movie isn't cast with all Lebanese people, that's not how movies are made, at all," said Hamm, who won two Golden Globe Awards for playing enigmatic Manhattan advertising exec Don Draper on "Mad Men."

"Why it wasn't shot in Beirut is because you can't get insurance issued in Beirut and because Beirut doesn't look like Beirut did in the 1970s and '80s.

"There are just practicalities of moviemaking that I think a lot of people either don't understand or they're a part the outrage machine that just exists to create controversy and therefore either create clicks or page views or what have you," continued Hamm, in a phone interview from Los Angeles.

"That's the world we live in now. If you're not outraged by something, it's like you're not even trying. So it's a shame, because I think it devalues actual, legitimate anger and outrage, it seems. If everything is a 10 on the 'I'm serious' scale, then what's the measure, really?"

Hamm noted the story was told from an American perspective rather than that of someone in Lebanon because that's the nationality of himself as well as screenwriter Tony Gilroy and director Brad Anderson. …

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