• William H. Macy attends screening of Edmond

    by  • March 13, 2006 • Cinequest 16, General

    Cinequest Maverick Spirit Award winner William H. Macy is known for his work in independent film, and the screening of “Edmond” at Cinequest last Saturday cemented his reputation for fearless portrayals. Afterwards, Macy and director Stuart Gordon took the stage for a discussion with the audience, moderated by Cinequest President and co-founder Kathleen Powell.
    “Edmond” was originally written by David Mamet as a stage play, but he adapted it for the screen and Gordon took the helm. It’s funny sometimes, but it’s not a comedy. It’s horrifying sometimes, but it’s not a horror film. It’s a look at the human condition that is often difficult to watch but will likely satisfy fans of grim New York drama.
    The titular character, Edmond, is a well-to-do businessman who realizes he is fed up with his life of pretense. He walks out on both it and on his wife, and decides to live as honestly as he can, doing what he truly wants to do and saying what he truly thinks and feels. As idealistic as this sounds, it leads to chaos and misery. Edmond is humiliated, beaten, and robbed, and his attempts to reach out lead to a horrifying murder.
    The audience at the Cinequest screening stuck it out, and were complimented by Gordon and Macy, who said they wished we all could come with them to the next screening. Other audiences have reacted violently — during the discussion, Gordon described a production of the play which was interrupted when an irate audience member stood up and began screaming at the actors, only to be yelled at in turn by another member of the audience.
    Macy recounted his own difficulties with the material, calling it “unsettling” and later adding, “’Edmond’ is the toughest thing I’ve ever done. I’m really please I got the role, [but I] wouldn’t want to do it again.” In answer to a question about what the film’s underlying meaning is, Macy said “truthfully, I don’t understand this movie in terms of what it means. I don’t get it. But all the scenes struck me as true to the human condition.”
    On the surface, Gordon is a peculiar choice to direct the film. Known for “Re-Animator” and other horror movies, his filmography is light on drama and heavy on gore. However, he and Mamet have known each other since Mamet and Macy founded a theater company in the latter’s college days. He was drawn to doing a film version of “Edmond” because when he saw the play, it looked to him like a movie. Although he’s been told it’s his best horror flick to date, he disagrees. “The most horrifying things are the ones that really happen. This is a horrifying film,” he said, not a horror movie. Upon being asked if Edmond is insane, he answered, “No. He’s looking for the same thing all of us are looking for: happiness.”
    Due to the violence, racial hatred, and homosexual panic it contains, “Edmond” was a difficult film to get made, and is proving equally difficult to get distributed. Although it hasn’t been rated, it could be a strong R for violence, adult themes, and language. With that said, adults who like to be challenged by films won’t want to miss this when it finds a distributor. It’s difficult and provoking, and sure to result in intriguing discussion.

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