Penn’s film about a doctor who falls in love with a humanitarian in war-torn Africa, played by Charlize Theron, was torn to pieces at Cannes in 2016.
Well, not every Cannes film can be a winner.
During a celebration of the festival’s 75th anniversary, Oscar-winner Javier Bardem spoke about the box-office and critically acclaimed The Last Face, which premiered in Cannes in 2016.
“It was a disaster!” Bardem admitted by deadline.
The ‘Dune’ actor and four-time Oscar nominee played an emergency doctor stationed in war-torn Africa who falls in love with an international aid worker, played by Charlize Theron, in the Sean Penn-directed drama. The Cannes competition entry was panned by IndieWire, with critic Eric Kohn merely stating that The Last Face was Penn’s “worst film” yet. The film eventually received a D rating and was blown to pieces by critics and audiences at the time.
Now, six years after the Cannes premiere, Bardem takes on the critically planned project.
“It was a big disaster,” Bardem said. “It’s good to come to a festival like Cannes and be booed and reminded that what we do can be terrible because otherwise we think too highly of ourselves. I have my own idea of what that film was.”
At the time, Penn responded to the Cannes review, telling the audience: “I stand behind the film the way it is. Surely everyone is entitled to their own answer.” The film was released on DirecTV in 2017, followed by a day-and-date on-demand and limited theatrical release from Saban Films. The Last Face grossed $1.2 million at the box office.
Bardem continued, “We worked hard to make this film – I’ve never made a film that people didn’t work hard on. But there was a miss [opportunity]. I mean it was a [misfire] a movie, in my opinion. People saw that, people shared that, and after that the whole rules of the festival changed. Right? now [critics] I can’t post reviews on the same day it opens because the opening of this movie on that day was like a funeral. But I laughed. I thought, ‘Yeah – that’s what making films is.’ Sometimes you do “No Country for Old Men”, sometimes you do [a film like] this one, and it doesn’t matter if it’s great or bad. You keep doing what you gotta do. I mean, it’s like life.”
Yet Bardem doesn’t make acting his living through method acting techniques, even if the ultimate goal is to erase himself into a character.
“I guess every actor’s dream is to put themselves in their role,” added Bardem. “[But] I don’t think that can ever happen. Some people say they did it, but it never happened to me. But even if it doesn’t happen, that’s the goal. That’s what you’re aiming for when playing a role: trying to find the psychology and behavior and personality traits that make that person unique. This is the part of my job that I love so much.”
https://www.indiewire.com/2022/05/javier-bardem-sean-penn-last-face-disaster-1234729120/ Javier Bardem knows Sean Penn’s ‘Last Face’ was a ‘major disaster’