The director-screenwriter received a best original screenplay Oscar nomination for 2004’s “Hotel Rwanda,” which he also directed and produced. Born in Belfast, and now living in New York, George has written or directed other classy, meaty films, including “In the Name of the Father,” “The Boxer,” “Some Mother’s Son” and “Hart’s War.” His new movie, “Reservation Road,” starring Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Ruffalo, opens today.
You’re best known for making political films. Is “Reservation Road” political? I think it is, in its subtext. It’s about revenge and creating a monster.
How would you classify it? It’s a psychological thriller with heart and human drama. It’s Greek tragedy in its purest form.
How did you come to make the film? Joaquin Phoenix gave me the script; I knew I’d get great actors.
How is it different from your other movies? It’s more personal, American, contemporary. In a way, it’s much more accessible; people can find themselves in the shoes of these characters.
Will you ever make a romantic comedy or a lightweight film? Well, my movies are a harder sell in that their subject matter can be uncomfortable. But I seem to be able to get money to make them. Why give that up?
What do you want people to take away from your movies, particularly something such as the acclaimed “Hotel Rwanda”? I’m gratified by the effect it had; I hope people won’t just see the movie, but use it as a starting point for their participation in making changes in Africa — that they get out and do something.
What’s your next project? It’s a biopic about Sergio Vieira de Mello, the U.N. peacekeeper who was killed in one of the first al-Qaida bombings in Baghdad.
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