Last night saw the London premiere of The Way Back; the Peter Weir (Master and Commander: the Far Side of the World) directed film, based on the true story of men who escaped from a Soviet Gulag in Siberia, during World War II, and walked over 4,000 miles to freedom in India.
In attendance were both Peter Weir, and the majority of the main cast; including Ed Harris (Apollo 13), Colin Farrell (Miami Vice), Jim Sturgess (21), and Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bones); who all seemed to be extremely proud of the film, despite Jim describing filming as “pretty intense”, and everyone admitting earlier in the day that the shoot was especially tough.
Despite the controversy surrounding the text upon which the film is based (The Long Walk), Weir conducted extensive research before filming, and even had the cast learning to speak Russian, learning survivalist skills, and reading as much about the history of the story as they could, so that he could make it exceptionally true to life; something which came across in the film, which Weir has said is “as real as I could get it.”
Real was a word often echoed by the cast at yesterday’s press conference and premiere; as not only did they all admit to getting food poisoning, and feeling deathly ill for certain scenes, but struggled to walk through real sandstorms, faced real snow blizzards, and actually felt what they believe their real life counter-parts would have felt; because, as Mark Strong (the Sherlock Holmes stars who also appears in the film) has stated, “it’s not difficult to act like you’re freezing cold when you are freezing cold.”
Yet despite the film’s obvious realism, and the impressive names attached (Weir has been nominated for 6 Oscars, both Ed Harris and Saoirse Ronan have been Oscar nominated, and Colin Farrell is a Golden Globe winner), this startlingly inspirational, character driven tale, will be released in the U.K. on December 26th (Boxing Day), but will only be receiving a very limited release in the U.S. (on December 29th).
The official trailer for The Way Back can be viewed here, photos from yesterday’s events can be viewed below, and our review of the film will be published next week.