Courtesy of vforvendetta.com, Newsarama has received a copy of the transcript from Friday’s V for Vendetta press conference held in Berlin. Attending were Producers Joel Silver and Grant Hill, director JAMES McTEIGUE, and stars Natalie Portman and JAMES PUREFOY.

Both video and photos from the conference can be found at www.vforvendetta.com

MC: I would like to welcome you on behalf of Warner Bros. and the Babelsberg Studios to a very special press conference in a very unique location. This upcoming Monday the Babelsberg Studios and this set - that will be the rooftop of the Old Bailey - will be the center of attention for one of the most anticipated movies that are currently being filmed. The Wachowski Brothers and Joel Silver have gathered an amazing team of in front of and behind the camera to bring Alan Moore’s and David Lloyd’s comic book, V FOR VENDETTA, to life.

So let’s welcome the cast and crew of V FOR VENDETTA, starting with the Director James McTeigue, Golden Globe winning actress Natalie Portman [in the role of Evey], Producer Joel Silver, actor James Purefoy [in the role of V], and last but not least, Producer Grant Hill.

Welcome to

Mr. Silver, let’s get started straight away, you’ve been working with the Wachowski Brothers on a couple of movies; how much convincing did it actually take them to get you working on V FOR VENDETTA?

JOEL SILVER: We worked on V FOR VENDETTA long before we made The Matrix. The Brothers had done a script for this project several years ago and they then jumped onto The Matrix and we did all those three movies. They came to me in the post-production of those movies, saying they’d like to revive that picture. James had worked very closely with us on
The Matrix films and had directed all the advertising, publicity and promotional things we did for The Matrix, so the boys said why don’t we have James direct it. That was a great idea, so they went back to the script and re-crafted it and thought about what it would be like today, and they re-wrote it and brought it to the board and here we are today.

Q to Natalie Portman: Is this some sort of classic damsel in distress kind of a role; what kind of a woman are you playing?

NATALIE PORTMAN: Definitely not a damsel in distress. Maybe she begins as a damsel in distress, and then she sort of learns how to take matters into her own hands.

Q to James McTeigue: You have worked with the Wachowski Brothers and with George Lucas; what did you learn from them?

JAMES McTEIGUE: Well obviously they’re both - the Wachowskis and George - are both great filmmakers; it is always a pleasure to be surrounded by very intelligent filmmakers. The things that I have learnt from them I will bring into this film. They’re all great at their craft so it is a learning process the whole time.

Q to Natalie Portman: Describe a little more what this movie is about and the role you play in it.

NATALIE PORTMAN: I think this film is about the power of people to play an active role when the government is not looking after the people; the people have the right to revolt, to make their minds heard, and to speak their opinions. It is about a very oppressive regime, it’s based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore and very true to that spirit of the Guy Fawkes November 5th gunpowder plot. It’s all about - as I’m sure you’ll hear - governments being afraid of their people, not the people being afraid of their governments.

Q to Natalie Portman: Is your character a freedom fighter or a terrorist?

NATALIE PORTMAN: That’s one of the big questions that this film raises and sparks debate about.

Q to James McTeigue: How close to the original spirit of the comic is the film going to be; what have you kept and what have you changed?

JAMES McTEIGUE: It is very close to the themes of Alan Moore’s graphic novel, however like all great adaptations for film there are things that you have to lose and things that you keep; it runs very close to what Alan Moore wrote and what he was trying to say.

Q to James McTeigue: Was there a particular reason why this is being filmed in
East Germany about a totalitarian state? For example, is the architecture useful or are there many outdoor scenes, or was it a matter of economics?

JAMES McTEIGUE: Our pre-production time was very limited and
Berlin, as you can see around you, has a great history of filmmaking. We wanted to come somewhere where we could start up and get going in a very short amount of time, where we knew we’d have the support, so that’s more or less why we came to Berlin. As you can see around you a lot of our work is on stages, and there are great stages here, as well as the great production value and crew we can get from here.

Q to Natalie Portman: Are you much of a comic fan, and if not what was the factor in accepting this role?

TALIE PORTMAN: I am not a big comic person in general, but this film was just… I got it [the script] and I didn’t expect to leave with days and days and days of thinking about it, and thinking about all the questions it brought up: the moral issues, the philosophical issues and political issues, that you think about after you read this script. It’s an amazing character too… I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s really relevant to our times I think, although unfortunately these kinds of events repeat themselves, so it’s sort of relevant to all times I suppose.

Q to Joel Silver: This movie is one of those big special effects monsters, can you talk a little bit about numbers; how much of the money will go into special effects? I see there is a big green screen over here that makes me think we can expect a lot of CGI.

JOEL SILVER: It’s more a kind of people centered picture than The Matrix was. There are a lot of visual effects in the movie - not so much CGI - and there’s a lot of miniature work in this picture too. We’re making the movie here and in the
UK; it was economically advantageous for us to do that. There are wonderful opportunities for us now to make these pictures in these kinds of locales. We’ve shot many films in Australia, which were also good to shoot there as well, but we do need the architecture in the UK and we do need exterior sets and locations here in Germany, so it’s the perfect place to make the picture. It’s not an enormously expensive movie, but it is not a low budget film either.

Q to James Purefoy: Could you explain a little bit what you are doing in this movie and is this maybe your big break as you are the main lead of the film? I was hoping you would get a main part so you could have your biggest break through yet. Is this the movie that could deliver that for you?

JAMES PUREFOY: That’s a very good question… when you’re wearing a mask, there’s going to be a very big challenge involved for me. As you can see that mask up there is the thing that I’ll be wearing all through the movie; we’ll never see my face. I think that’s something that the fans of the comic book are going to be very pleased about: you should never see the guy’s face because it makes him infinitely more mysterious. So I’m looking forward to it, I think it’s a great acting challenge.

Q to Joel Silver: The book had three stories in ten chapters and Mr. Silver you are the master of franchise movies, so will this be a one-off movie, or is this planned as being one, two, three, four, five V FOR VENDETTAS?

JOEL SILVER: This is it; this is the story. It doesn’t go past this movie, that is the intention.

Q to Joel Silver: So you are saying the whole movie is based on the book?

Absolutely, from the beginning to the end.

Q to Natalie Portman: You have played a lot of very different and challenging roles; what will be the challenge on this film for you?

TALIE PORTMAN: The challenge on this film is I think for this woman is there’s a real transformation in who she is, from being someone who is very passive in her political setting, to being a much more active voice. That transformation I think is going to be the main point of interest for me working on this film.

Q to James McTeigue: It’s a comic book, so therefore it’s a virtual storyboard; is that limiting for you visually, or is that the best thing you could possibly have?

JAMES McTEIGUE: It has its advantages sometimes… if I ever got stuck for a shot I know where I could go to! It is great because the great thing about graphic novels, even though there are visuals there, it’s about you starting with that as a point and then taking it somewhere else. That’s what we’ve done with the film: we’ve tried to amalgamate all the themes that Alan Moore so brilliantly portrayed and David Lloyd the artist drew, and we’ve taken it as a leaping off point.

Q to James McTeigue: This is your first role as a Director rather than as a First Assistant Director; how do you feel about that?

JAMES McTEIGUE: I feel good about that!

Q to James McTeigue: Are you looking forward to it? Do you imagine there’ll be many problems? Do you think your previous experience is going to help?

JAMES McTEIGUE: Obviously my previous experience will help a lot. Films can sometimes be daunting, but I do have a lot of experience with small budget films to very large budget films. It’ll help in the process, it certainly won’t hinder.

Q to Natalie Portman: Evey goes through a very tough time, she is put in jail and subjected to torture, I was wondering how much of a method actress are you; will you be losing weight and shaving your head for the role?

NATALIE PORTMAN: I will be shaving my head and losing weight… not to a self endangering point, but I won’t be getting tortured at home. I will be going through a physical transformation.

Q to Joel Silver: Several movies have been made from Alan Moore’s work, but he’s been famously reluctant to get involved, and cynical about the whole process. Did you have any dialogue with Alan Moore, has he had any commentary with you about this movie, or any involvement on the actual project?

JOEL SILVER: Larry Wachowski has spoken with him and he hasn’t been very happy with some of the movies that have been made from some of his comic books. He was very excited about what Larry had to say and Larry sent the script, so we hope to see him sometime before we’re in the
UK. We’d just like him to know what we’re doing and to be involved in what we’re trying to do together.

Q to Joel Silver: How much are the production costs and how much is to be spent in

JOEL SILVER: The bulk of the movie will be shot here [in Germany], we’re shooting here for about ten of the twelve weeks, so the bulk of the production will be spent her,e and then we will be shooting for two weeks in the UK and finishing the movie in the UK. It’s a costly film, I can’t sit and give you actual budget figures, but it isn’t outrageous in that there are movies we’ve done that are far more costly. We’re very happy to have a facility here - it’s a great facility - the stages are exactly the way we want them. The craftspeople who have been working with Owen Paterson, who is our Production Designer who came from Australia and worked on the Matrix films with us, is very happy with his crews here, so I think we’ll probably end up being here again as well.

Q to Joel Silver: I have a question for Mr. Joel Silver about Alan Moore adaptations. I understand that you were also previously the producer of Watchmen, so I’d like to ask you if this is the right time to do complicated and challenging comic adaptations like V FOR VENDETTA and Watchmen; do you think post 9/11 is the perfect zeitgeist?

JOEL SILVER: I was involved with Watchmen for a while, but I am no longer involved with Watchmen. I just think that the certain matter of this project is right for now; it feels right for now, it’s a project that I think has great resonance right now. I think that the way the boys have constructed the story and they’ve crafted the characters with James and Natalie and how they’ve worked on the characters with James McTeigue the Director, it’s really the perfect time and place for this movie. Everything has just lined up great, so I’m very excited right now.

Q to Natalie Portman: What are your experiences with Germany so far, and with Berlin? Have you gotten to see anything, are you going to try weird German food while you are here; how is the German experience going to be for you?

TALIE PORTMAN: I am very excited to spend time here, I have only been here for two days and have been working a lot so I haven’t had a chance too see anything substantial although I have had two very good restaurant experiences so far. Weird German food I don’t know about because I’m vegetarian, so it’s sort of limited to how weird I can get, but anything that is vegetarian I am willing to try. Otherwise I am really looking forward to checking out the city, it has such an incredible history and all the people I’ve met here have been really, really, really wonderful, so I’m looking forward to spending time here.

Q to Natalie Portman: As you are used to working away from home, how do you prepare for such stints here or in Australia or in England?

NATALIE PORTMAN: A lot of books, CDs, things that remind me of home, and hopefully getting my parents come visit and friends come visit, and really trying to interact with the environment, checking out the city, becoming friendly with the people we work with and forging those bonds so you have your own little family while you’re away from home.

Q to James McTeigue: Will you be seeking to put any sort of James McTeigue stamp on this film and how much creative latitude have you been given, or have you been strictly advised to stick slavishly to the original comic?

JAMES McTEIGUE: Let me answer this in two ways. Slavishly to the comic: the comic is a very dense work so in all adaptations you have to streamline it for the filmmaking process. As far as creativity: lots. There are no restrictions or bounds put on it… with the boys and with me it is the interpretation. All great films have great scripts and you’ll usually find that a great film is based on a great script, so that’s where we’re taking it from: it is a great script.

Q to Joel Silver:
The original graphic novel is a very dark book, it’s not a simple pure good vs evil thing. You have fascists with homes and feelings and family, and you also have V being a terrorist and killing people, so it’s not a real simple story. How much will you have to step back from the original novel not to get an R rating for instance?

JOEL SILVER: We’re not really worried about the rating right now, we’re trying to make the best movie we can, it may be an R rating, we aren’t sure. I mean, the essence of the movie is what Natalie said, that people shouldn’t be afraid of their governments, the governments should be afraid of their people, and that’s the essence of the story and that’s what we’re going to be pursuing; that’s the story. It is a smart, intelligent piece of material but also very visual and very exciting. There is a hero and heroine and it’s really a wonderful journey that we can take with the story, and I think the audience will take the journey with us. So we’re going to venture into a magical unusual world and an unusual time and I think the movie will bode well.

Q to James Purefoy: You already said that it’s a challenging role to play V because he’s wearing a mask all the time, he is also in very good physical shape and he talks in poems and riddles all the time; how did you actually get into the vibe, into the character V, what did you do in preparation, is there anything you can do?

Yes, the script is dialogue heavy really, what Joel said about it being a character based piece is absolutely true, it’s not really very effects driven in that way. He speaks a great deal, so it’s really about color of voice and the way you use the mask, and looking at Noh theatre and Kabuki theatre, and talking to mask specialists - people who know the subconscious way a mask works. There are various devices you can use to make the feelings of this man very clear to an audience. I spend a lot of time looking at myself, V, in the mirror and using different lights and different shades of light, and the way that the mask works in those different shades of light is one of the things that’s been interesting me. I fell asleep the other night with it on, which is kind of spooky because somebody called me up at about 11 o’clock and I was like… what the hell is this on my face? I was just working with it and thinking about it and I think the more I love the mask the more I’ll understand it.

Q to James McTeigue: You’re making the movie in eight months; does that put any additional pressure on you?

JAMES McTEIGUE: Yes, it does put additional pressure on, but it’s a great thing to start a movie in a year and release it within the year. There are such long gestation periods on films, and whether it’s through the process or the distribution process it’s fantastic to be able to release it within the year. The release is also for the one hundredth year anniversary of Guy Fawkes, so it seems very prescient and timely to do it, so it is really something to strive for.

For the remainder of the transcript, please visit, www.vforvendetta.com

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