Actor Wes Bentley had a lot working against him when it came to shooting Roland Joffé’s latest, There Be Dragons. Not only was he struggling with personal issues, but the role itself posed a number of difficulties, specifically having to play both a young and older version of his character and simply the necessity of studying up on the historical background of the piece.
Bentley stars as Manolo, the childhood friend of Josemaría Escrivá (Charlie Cox), the saint and founder of Opus Dei. As kids they were the best of friends until family difference tore them apart. They reunited in a seminary, but once again are driven away from one another, Josemaría to follow his desire to fulfill his training and become a priest and Manolo’s to fight in the Spanish Civil War. While Josemaría’s life brims with honesty and faith, Manolo opts to fight dubiously; he embeds himself in a rebel group and spies for the government. Further complicating his situation, Manolo falls for a Hungarian radical who doesn’t have eyes for him, rather their esteemed leader, Oriol (Rodrigo Santoro). A good portion of this tale is told by Manolo himself, who, in the early 80s, on the brink of death, is reluctantly compelled to recall these memories for his own son who’s writing a book about Josemaría.
See? Not only does There Be Dragons span an expansive length of time, but also requires Bentley to show Manolo’s many sides and experiences in a matter of two hours. Well, Bentley, his co-cast and the film’s crew pulled it off and today, May 6th, There Be Dragons hits theaters in the US. In honor of the occasion, Bentley sat down to tell us all about his research for the role, channeling his personal troubles into the part and how fantastic and life changing this experience turned out to be. Check it all out for yourself in the video interview below.
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Who can say no to a film starring Rodrigo Santoro? Not only is he a fine actor, but not half bad to look at for two hours either. In his latest production, There Be Dragons, Santoro combines his experience playing the dashing love interest in like Love Actually with his understanding of working with factual material in Che as well as his know-how in action-packed realms like 300.
Santoro plays Oriol, a leader of the revolution during the Spanish Civil War. While at a rally, Oriol catches sight of a Hungarian radical, Ildiko (Olga Kurylenko). However, Oriol isn’t the only one to fall for this gun-toting fighter; so does another member of his group, Manolo (Wes Bentley). What Oriol doesn’t know is that not only does Manolo pose a threat to his relationship with Ildiko, but to his entire operation, too, as Manolo is functioning as a spy for the opposition.
In honor of There Be Dragons’ March 6th release, Santoro sat down to talk about the details. He touches upon everything from his extensive research to his experience balancing physical demands like riding a horse and brandishing a rifle. Before wrapping up, Santoro runs through his list of upcoming productions, which includes his first go at producing, another piece that’ll let him put his knowledge of the Spanish Civil War to use and hopefully, one day, Chris Sparlings’ Falling Slowly. Hear it all straight from Santoro himself in the video interview below.
Click here to watch the interview.
First and foremost, you should know there are no dragons in There Be Dragons. Of course we can’t take every title literally, but when you’ve got one that pronounces a particular beast will exist, you either must deliver or provide a valid explanation for the name. Again, There Be Dragons features no dragons, merely a weak reasoning of the title and just about everything else that happens in the film for that matter.
Inspired by true events, There Be Dragons focuses on childhood friends Josemaría Escrivá (Charlie Cox) and Manolo Torres (Wes Bentley). While both boys wind up attending the same seminary, from there, they go on entirely divergent paths, Manolo working as a spy in the Spanish Civil War and Josemaría becoming a priest and fighting to keep the faith in even the most violent times. When Josemaría is left with no choice but to abandon Madrid and flee to safety so he may see his vision of Opus Dei to fruition, Torres remains on the battlefield where he develops a dangerous obsession with a Hungarian radical named Ildiko (Olga Kurylenko).
Their tale is told through the research of Manolo’s very own son, Robert (Dougary Scott). Robert’s writing a book about Josemaría and naturally, his primary source is his father. Initially the now old and ailing Manolo refuses to unearth the haunting memories, but once Robert opens the floodgates, his father has no choice but to confront the past so he may finally be forgiven.
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