Movies: Return of Roberts

2009-05-29 00:00

PRETTY Woman star Julia Roberts is back to being a leading lady in her new film, Duplicity, which opens at CineCentre today.

Written and directed by Tony Gilroy, of Michael Clayton fame, the film tells the story of former CIA officer Claire Stenwick (Roberts) and former MI6 agent Ray Koval (Owen), who have left the world of government intelligence to cash in on a highly profitable cold war raging between two rival multinational corporations.

Their mission — to secure the formula that will bring a fortune to the company that patents it first.

The former spies soon find themselves on either side of an all-out corporate war and that’s a bit of a problem as they’re in the middle of a clandestine love affair.

The idea for Duplicity emerged from Gilroy’s fascination with the intricacies of industrial espionage. Of his research and inspiration for the story, he says: “The statistics of corporate theft are somewhere between $50 and $100 billion every year.

“There isn’t a major corporation on the planet that doesn’t have a competitive intelligence department with some form of either defensive or offensive intelligence gathering, which are basically spy units.”

For Duplicity to be plausible, however, Gilroy knew the stakes for the characters had to be high. That meant imagining a race to patent a drug so hotly in demand that it would tip the market for any patent holder and render competitors impotent.

As for his cast, he was thrilled to lure Roberts, who has spent the past few years raising her children and starring in ensemble pieces, back to a leading role. The actress was fascinated by her character, Claire, and the fact that she was simultaneously romantically lost and completely focused on her mission.

She was also keen to work with Owen again. “Clive is the ultimate leading man. He’s great in this part, and I love when he plays like he’s at a loss. His earnest qualities are so truthful, and I loved acting with him … every minute of it.”

Owen was also keen to work with Roberts again, but it was the screenplay that convinced him to do the project. “I finished the last page of the script and grabbed the phone and called my agent and said, ‘This is the one. This is the script’.”

As for why film fans should head to the cinema to see the film, Owen says: “It’s funny, witty, very buoyant and unusual. It’s a guy and woman who are in love, but they argue a lot and they mistrust each other — as well as being crazy about each other — and that leads to a really entertaining experience for the audience.”

Also opening in the city this weekend is Zack and Miri Make a Porno, starring Seth Rogan and Elizabeth Banks, as two life-long, platonic, friends who decide to make an adult film to pay the rent for their apartment. In the process of filming, however, the pair realise they feel more for each other than they realised. See it at SterKinekor Scottsville.

NuMetro Cascades has two new films opening this weekend — Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, the second live-action film based on the Street Fighter series of video games, and Garfield’s Fun Fest, an animated film starring Garfield the cat, which was written by the cartoon character’s creator, Jim Davis, as a sequel to Garfield Gets Real.

Still on circuit:

• CineCentre: X-Men Origins: Wolverine; Hannah Montana: The Movie; Ghosts of Girlfriends Past; Slumdog Millionaire; Last House on the Left; Angels and Demons; Night at the Museum 2.

• SterKinekor: Night at the Museum 2; Hotel for Dogs; Fast & Furious; Monsters vs Aliens; Marley & Me; Slumdog Millionaire.

• NuMetro: X-Men Origins: Wolverine; 17 Again; Tornado.

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