Al Pacino Shut Down Direction on ‘Insomnia’ – IndieWire

Al Pacino tried to get Christopher Nolan to say hello to his perfect take.

Oppenheimer” director Nolan recalled in The Los Angeles Times that while filming 2002 thriller “Insomnia,” Pacino shut down his direction on set. “Insomnia” was Nolan’s last R-rated film prior to upcoming historical feature “Oppenheimer,” starring Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer, the scientist behind the atomic bomb.

“I had gone up to Pacino after a series of takes and given him a note on what I wanted,” Nolan said of “Insomnia,” continuing, “He told me, ‘I’ve already done that. You can’t see it to the eye, but I’ve done it on the dailies.’ I looked for it and I was like, ‘Oh, my God,’ because there it was.”

The “Interstellar” director added, “Great film actors can do that, and that’s what I had with Cillian.”

Nolan looked back on his 25-plus-year career, saying, “All the films I’ve made, one way or another, are film noirs. They’re all stories about consequences. And with ‘Oppenheimer,’ the consequences are the fastest to arrive and the most extreme.”

A remake of the 1997 Norwegian film of the same name and Nolan’s first picture for Warner Bros., “Insomnia” stars Al Pacino as a homicide detective investigating the murder of a teenage girl in Alaska. Robin Williams also played a crime writer tangled up in the killing.

And it doesn’t seem like Pacino’s approach to acting has changed either across his half-century filmography either. Nolan interviewed Pacino back in 2018 and asked the Oscar-winning actor, “How do you achieve a balance between script-based discipline and emotional spontaneity?”

Pacino responded at the time, “It depends on the script, but you need to rehearse. As a matter of fact, the strangest thing, the more you rehearse, the more spontaneous you become. It’s the opposite of what people think. Actors who aren’t used to rehearsal will say, ‘I want to be spontaneous when it comes.’ And that’s the way they make most movies now. There’s no rehearsal time. In rehearsal, you can do different things.”


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