'Savages' stars aren't shy
Posted June 26, 2012
What:Savages premiere (The movie hits theaters July 6)
When: Monday night
Where: Regency Village Theatre, Westwood
Guest list:Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, John Travolta, Benicio Del Toro, Salma Hayek, Emile Hirsch, Demián Bichir, Sandra Echeverría, Diego Cataño, Joaquín Cosio, Jake McLaughlin, Joel David Moore, Leonard Roberts, Antonio Jaramillo, Ali Wong and screenwriter/director Oliver Stone. Also spotted: Nikki Blonsky, Connie Britton and Mary-Louise Parker.
Travolta's new role: In the film, Kitsch and Aaron Johnson play Laguna Beach pot growers who face off with a Mexican cartel (led by Salma Hayek) when their shared girlfriend (Blake Lively) is kidnapped. Travolta switches gears in the ferocious thriller playing a dirty-dealing FBI agent. On a day when a new lawsuit was filed against Travolta for sexual misconduct, he attended with his wife, Kelly Preston. The two kissed for cameras but bypassed press, walking quickly into the theater.
Director's cut: Stone commented on the much buzzed-about threesome that takes place between Lively, Kitsch and Johnson's characters. "Sexual scenes were done because…she loves them equally," said Stone. "And part of the movie is about whether there can be such a thing as a three-way relationship, two men and a woman," the director said. Lively wasn't sure how the steamy arrangement would work out in real life. "I don't know. I think it sounds pretty complicated," she said, "but that was the challenge for us in the movie to say, how could this relationship work? How do we alter their back story to make it believable?"
Plot notes:Savages is brutal trip to the drug-infused dark side. "This is a suspense movie, it isn't really about legalization or prohibition," said Stone . "These (movies) don't get made anymore," Kitsch told reporters. "It's like Goodfellas meets a Pulp Fiction and then some, with Oliver's touch on it."
Women on top: Women rule the pot-laced roost in Savages, with Hayek playing the unshakable drug lord Elena, and Lively playing O, the object of both Kitsch and Johnson's affection. Hayek called the film, "violent, which I'm not so happy about…but at the same time it's strange because it's so beautiful." Plus, "It's a film where women have a lot of power, and that's cool too," she said. "Normally, it's men in those positions."
New experiences abound: It wasn't only Travolta that tried out a fresh character in the drama-soaked film. Bichir moved on from his Oscar-nominated role in A Better Life to become a deal-making member of Hayek's cartel. "Unfortunately, he makes the wrong decisions," Bichir said. Kitsch traded in his action hero personas cultivated in John Carter and Battleship to become Stone's damaged, violent, scheming ex-Marine. "It differentiates myself from any role I've ever done, to be honest," said Kitsch. "I think that's the beauty of (acting)…taking huge risks and working with the best."
Lively talks kidnapping: In Savages, Lively's charcter is kidnapped and subjected to repeated cruelty. "Oliver introduced us to a lot of people in the cannabis community and DEAs and ex-cartel members" to prepare, said Lively. "I met with a young girl who'd been kidnapped by the cartel. (Stone) provided us with such an insight to that world and then we all just sat and rehearsed a lot." The director said his cast was a perfect balance. "It's a fun film for me, fresh," Stone said. "I worked with three young people who I didn't know before and three veterans who I deeply admired and wanted to be in the movie."
Stone's serious set: The cast agreed that Stone ran a tight ship on set, "Anyone who can hold you accountable the way he does, and the way he comes at you with his process, I love it," said Kitsch. "He expects you to be on your toes," said Del Toro, who plays a henchman for the drug cartel. "You better be focused (and) prepared. It makes it a pleasure to work with him." Lively agreed. "He's always throwing curveballs at you. It's a very intense environment. He knows what an honor it is to be able to work with him so he expects us to be up to your best abilities."
Fashion notes: Hayek glittered in a green Gucci gown and matching emerald jewels, while Lively wore an equally dramatic geometric black and cream Zuhair Murad gown.
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