Belfast Telegraph

Simon Curtis: I miss human drama in cinema

He said the dominance of blockbusters comes at the expense of smaller movies.

Simon Curtis (Ian West/PA)
Simon Curtis (Ian West/PA)

The dominance of CGI-filled blockbusters means smaller films that take audiences on an emotional journey are harder to find in cinemas, director Simon Curtis has said.

The British filmmaker, whose movies include My Week With Marilyn and Woman In Gold, added he hopes his latest project The Art Of Racing In The Rain, reminds audiences of the dramas he loved when he was growing up.

He told PA: “I hope this film harks back in some way to the film I grew up adoring like Kramer Vs Kramer and Terms Of Endearment, Ordinary People, these films about family and just getting on with your life and making the best of it and taking you on an emotional journey.

“Personally, just as an audience member, I don’t feel that too often in the cinema these days, so I do hope we have made one of those films.”

Curtis added it was a shame that the dominance of blockbusters comes at the expense of smaller films, but added: “The counter argument is they are being told in other ways, on TV or whatever, but for me I miss that, I miss that sense of going into the cinema and just seeing human nature play out in front of you.”

Based on the best-selling novel by Garth Stein, The Art Of Racing In The Rain is told from the perspective of golden retriever Enzo, voiced by Kevin Costner, and follows the role he has in the life of his owner, aspiring Formula One racing driver Denny (Milo Ventimiglia) and his wife Eve (Amanda Seyfried).

Curtis said: “In such a CGI world we live in, in the films, to have this real dog with a real face and real eyes and real emotion, has a power.

“There aren’t a lot of films that are just about human beings living their lives and I think that is what appealed to me.”

He added: “I think the reason the book is a massive success is the voice of the dog is so unusual and profound and funny and accurate and inaccurate and it helps us learn how do we live our life, what is important, and the dog working that out.

“I always wanted an iconic American voice to be the voice of the dog looking back on his life and I lucked out with Kevin Costner, because he has such a unique quality.”

The film used three dogs to play the role of Enzo, one as a puppy, one named Parker for the majority of the film, and one in his old age.

Curtis said: “Time and time again I was half jokingly saying that Parker, our main dog, is one of the best actors I’ve ever worked with and I do sort of feel that.

“As a director you look at the script the night before and think oh my god we might not make this day if the dog doesn’t do X and Y and Z but in fact every single day the dog and the trainers delivered, it was a miracle.”

The Art Of Racing In The Rain is released in UK cinemas on August 9.

PA

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