Fireside chats seem to be a thing in Last Days in the Desert. Jesus (as played by Ewan McGregor) had one with Tye Sheridan in a clip that I posted last week; then he had one with Satan (also played by McGregor) in a clip I posted yesterday. And now he has one with Sheridan and his parents, played by Ciaran Hinds and Ayelet Zurer.
Here is the 32-second clip in which that chat takes place:
The distributor has also released this (spoiler-ish?) behind-the-scenes B-roll footage:
Meanwhile, a few more interview pieces have popped up since the last update.
McGregor spoke to Paste magazine about his approach to the role:
“There’s really a sort of side that’s ‘What did you do to yourself to play this role?’ that we award now,” McGregor says about the extremes that some actors chase, which he tries to steer clear of. “But actually, like great design and like great music and like great cinematography—if you’re aware of it, it’s not as good as it could be. If you’re not aware of it, if it’s feeding you subliminally—it’s brilliant. And I think acting should be like that, too. Being truthful and real is what I’m always striving for.”
Writer-director Rodrigo Garcia talked to my fellow Patheos blogger Paul Asay:
“I think that Jesus went to look for something in the desert, [and He found it],” Garcia says. “But not all. Not all. He didn’t find in the desert other human beings.” He suggests that Jesus needed to not only spend that time in prayer and fasting and temptation to begin his ministry, but to spend time helping other people. Jesus’ whole ministry, after all, was about helping the hurting people in his midst in myriad ways. For Garcia, it makes sense that he’d embark on that path before ever leaving the wilderness.
“I refer to it as the adolescence of Jesus,” Garcia says. This was a period where He grew into the religious leader He was meant to be.[”]
Garcia also spoke to Nell Minow at Beliefnet:
How do you cast the role of Jesus, especially when you are going to have the same actor play the devil who tempts Him? In my opinion, the first requirement is kind eyes.
Well I think you know what I’m looking for because you’ve already said it. Ewan McGregor is a very good actor. I already knew that about him. I didn’t initially think of him because Ewan is in his early 40s and I was looking at men who are around 30, 31, 32. So I didn’t initially think of him but then I meet him socially and spent time with him and the kind eyes are there. Literally what Ewan has is a great human thing about him. He’s very likeable and he is very empathetic. You know he’s interested in other people. Her feels for other people. He is interested in human things. He doesn’t have a prejudiced bone in his body. He is just that person. That was very important to me. What I wanted was someone who has the kind eyes but also projected a real humanity, not a starry-eyed Jesus that seems of another world. Jesus is at least half human so I wanted him to feel like a person. I wasn’t going to deal with the divine side because how do you deal with that? How do you cast that? How do you play that? So we concentrated on the human side and his empathy and his kindness. It’s not without complication. Sometimes he says the wrong thing or might not make a good choice to intervene in the problems of the family. You could even argue that he helped but in helping he also hurt. He makes mistakes like humans make mistakes but he does have kind eyes and not just literally but as a metaphor. He sees the world and other with kindness.
Garcia admitted he “had some concerns about my ability to raise money to about a movie set in the desert with Jesus,” saying he was unaware of the surfeit of religion-themed movies that were being made.
“When I wrote the movie and was trying to get it off the ground, there were not that many movies. If I were doing it now, I would be a little more wary,” he told CNS. “But I think the movies that are made, regardless of the quality and the talents, sort of stay strictly in the Gospel — certainly theologically or from the point of view of faith. They are very aligned with … the conservative Christian storytelling.”
Even so, Garcia said, “the figure of Jesus is big enough and the circumstances are extraordinary enough, that they can withstand many different interpretations. I think the Jesus in (Italian director Pier Paolo) Pasolini’s ‘Passion According to Matthew,’ or (Martin) Scorsese’s movie ‘The Last Temptation (of Christ)’, or (Denys Arcand’s 1989 film) ‘Jesus of Montreal,’ they’re all very different visions of Jesus that probably resemble the artists that created them.”
Garcia has also spoken to a couple of podcasts, including Aslan’s Paw …
… and Newsworthy with Norsworthy, in which he indicates that some nudity may have been deleted from the film recently to ensure that the film got a PG-13 rating.
Check out earlier trailers and other videos here:
- The first trailer (March 24, 2016)
- The ‘Premiere Events’ trailer (April 11, 2016)
- The three-minute featurette (April 26, 2016)
- The four-and-a-half-minute featurette (April 28, 2016)
- The ‘Give Me a Hand’ clip (May 2, 2016)
- The ‘What Are You Building?’ clip (May 4, 2016)
- The ‘Good Intentions’ and ‘father and son arguing’ clips (May 9, 2016)
- The ‘Nothing Surprises You’ clip (May 11, 2016)