Chronicle gets ‘Buried’ with Ryan Reynolds and Rodrigo Cortes

By The Columbia Chronicle

by Sean Lechowicz, Freelancer

The Chronicle got a chance to sit down with Ryan Reynolds and director/editor Rodrigo Cortes about their new film “Buried.” The movie tells the story of a man (Ryan Reynolds) who wakes up trapped in a coffin underground in the Iraqi desert.

The Chronicle: Rodrigo, you said this movie was the impossible movie to make, so do you think, now is the time to do the impossible?

Rodrigo Cortes: Well, I don’t think on historical terms, I just felt this was the right time for me to make it. Simply at a great movie, you don’t try to get into the sympathy or something like that, but your body reacts so strongly to that material and you see the possibility of doing something literally never done, and you cannot miss that. And well, there is always the right time to do something impossible actually. If you are scared that probably means you are doing the right thing.

The Chronicle: You filmed chronologically, and you are going through the gamut of every single emotion. Is it difficult as an actor to be laughing one moment, and the other moment banging on ceiling and wanting to escape?

Ryan Reynolds: That’s always difficult, but it’s especially difficult when you have to light yourself because you start thinking about all these different, weird things but Rodrigo sort of summed it up best when he said the movie is in real time. We don’t get that opportunity to cut away so when my character Paul has a breakthrough, we also have to watch him recover from it and carry on, and it’s sort of a slight of hand trick in the movie. You don’t really notice that as much but it’s really tough to do as an actor and especially because they don’t cut away and you can’t lie. I have lost moments in films that I’m doing outside of “Buried” where there is some slight deficit in a moment, and you can cut away to Sandra Bullock and it’s going to be great. You can fudge things and change things but in a movie like “Buried” you can’t lie. And if you lie we lose you and if we lose you at any point we’re done.

The Chronicle: Were there talks of an alternative ending?

RR: Not for us. The script was on the blacklist in Hollywood, which consists of great not produce-able screenplays. And I’m sure that a script like this has attracted a lot of attention from studios, but I know they all had their ideas, their different plans and they thought, “We could do this but we’ll cut away, we’ll have flashbacks, we’ve got to breathe, we need to see who he’s talking to.”—all these things, but Rodrigo described it best as that’s the perfect recipe to destroy this movie, to spoil everything.

RC: It would have made it smaller actually. It would have been a good TV episode or something instead of a Hitchcockian film.

The Chronicle: Tough enough filming a guy in a box and think about how to make that not boring. How is it in the editing room when you have to edit all these shots of this guy in a box?

RC: Well, we only had 17 days of shooting so we got to do that. We didn’t shoot everything for every possible angle. I mean, if you want to do this film with so complex and many shots in 17 days, you have to shoot it with a rate of an editor. So you just take what you know you are going to need to make the puzzle afterward and just have five and a half weeks to edit it. Of course it was 18 hours a day but we did it in less than six weeks, so you have to perfectly know what you want from the very beginning and you cannot make those decisions afterwards.

RR: Maybe you guys will make your own movies some day but that is a testament to you because I think most directors who edit in their mind like that and say, “We’ll only use this shot because I already see the whole thing in my mind,”—rarely does that work. You need to cover yourself. There’s a lot of insurance because necessity was the mother of invention here, maybe you needed to do it that way. But by and large that is a very dangerous way to shoot a movie and I love that you [Cortez] did that, and I remember when you were shooting I was thinking, “Oh my god really?” I mean, don’t you want to maybe—oh no, all right fine. I’m just the actor; I’m just the meat puppet.