Tom McCarthy’s film, twice Oscar winner in 2016, is in the spotlight tonight at Place au cinema, presented by Dominique Besnehard on France 5.
A story inspired by real events
spotlight retraces, through the prism of fiction, facts that are indeed real: the long-term investigation carried out by a group of investigative journalists from the Boston Globe (baptized Spotlight – the English term for “projector”) – with a prize Pulitzer to the key in 2003 – to update a pedophile network organized within the Catholic Church of the city, mixing religious, legal and political personalities. A twelve-month investigation which, in the process, triggered a wave of revelations around the world. It will take ten years for this story to become a screenplay, under the aegis of Tom McCarthy who had however at first refused the proposal to tackle such a subject, too intimidating in his eyes. And if ilo finally agrees to dive into it at the beginning of the 2010s, when he already has three feature films behind him: The Station agent, The Visitor and The Winners, it’s because he doesn’t tackle this Himalaya – and all the necessary research work – alone. He is teaming up with Josh Singer, screenwriter for the series To the White House and fifth estate by Bill Condon dedicated to Julian Assange. Placed in 2013 on the famous Black List of the most popular screenplays in Hollywood without having yet found a taker on the studio side, the script will have to wait 2 years to become a film and its producers were not mistaken. the spotlight by Tom McCarthy will win two Oscars: best film (notably against The Big Short: The Heist of the Century, The Bridge of Spies, Mad Max: Fury Road, the Revenant and Alone on Mars) and Best Screenplay, in 2016
A film under influence(s)
spotlight is part of a genre prized by American cinema, the whistleblower film, and Tom MacCarthy has totally claimed it from day one. So much so that at the very beginning of the adventure, the director invited his entire technical team to a triple screening of Revelations by Michael Mann, President’s Men by Alan J. Pakula and the Verdict by Sidney Lumet in order to make them understand how his staging intentions for spotlight.
A very involved actor
A year after his revival thanks to birdman, Michael Keaton was chosen to play Walter V. Robinson, the journalist at the head of the Spotlight team. And it is an understatement to say that the actor got involved in his character. First by dissecting the composition of Jason Robard who played the editor of Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward in The President’s Men to lean on her. Then by tracking, but without warning, the real Walter V. Robinson, going so far as to take an apartment near his home and secretly spy on his actions. And finally by exchanging with the latter to respect as closely as possible his way of moving and expressing himself. And this even if Robinson was at first very freaked out to know that the actor knew so much about him… and that he had spent weeks following him in secret.