Peter Farrelly, Viggo Mortensen Talk 'Green Book' at Zurich Opening

By Mitchell, Wendy | Screen International, September 28, 2018 | Go to article overview

Peter Farrelly, Viggo Mortensen Talk 'Green Book' at Zurich Opening


Mitchell, Wendy, Screen International


14th edition of festival got underway on Thursday (Sept 27).

Fresh from their success winning Toronto’s coveted audience award, Green Book director Peter Farrelly and actor Viggo Mortensen kicked off the 2018 Zurich Film Festival on Thursday night (Sept 27).

Peter Farrelly, Viggo Mortensen at the Zurich 2018 opening.

The crowdpleasing film, now a frontrunner in the Oscar race given its Toronto success, is adapted from the true story of an accomplished black pianist (Mahershala Ali) and his Italian-American driver (Mortensen) navigating a tour of the racist Deep South in the early 1960s.

At the Zurich press conference yesterday, Farrelly said he hoped the film could impact people’s attitudes today. “I think [film] can make a difference, I know it can. It changes you, it changes your perception of things, it makes it real. I remember seeing Schindler’s List and being devastated - I’d known about [the Holocaust] my whole life but seeing it up close like that, it was so well done, it changed my perception about what had happened. On another level, I still can’t go in the ocean without looking around for sharks (laughs). Film can affect you greatly, and hopefully in a positive way.”

He continued, “When we set out to make this movie, it wasn’t like, ‘here’s a message.’ We set out to tell a story about these two guys. That is an interesting story, but ultimately at the end of the day there is a message in there and you hope people get it: f you walk in someone else’s shoes and see what they go through you’ll feel empathetic towards them and feel how similar we all are.”

Mortensen said he had loved the script but at first had been reluctant to take the role, because he wasn’t sure he could pull off an Italian-American character. …

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