September 18, 2009
Los Angeles, CA
Article and photo copyright Suzanne Philips
Poster copyright Miramax Films
How do you cope when your spouse dies and leaves you alone to raise your son?  This is the question at the center of THE BOYS ARE BACK, starring Clive Owen. Based on the memoir by Simon Carr, this enchanting film is directed by Academy Award nominated director Scott Hicks(SHINE).
Clive Owen plays Joe Warr, a prominent sports writer who travels so often for business that his relationship with his young son is virtually non-existent.  When Joe’s wife Katy passes away, Joe is forced to take over raising his young son Artie.  Joe is at a complete loss – unable to do laundry or housework or even prepare a decent meal.  When his son from a prior marriage decides to move to Australia to live with his dad and younger brother, Joe now has to balance work and raising two young boys.  This proves to be a challenge in ways he never dreamed.
Clive Owen
Clive Owen
Star Clive Owen discussed what first attracted him to the film. “Parenting is a big part of my life.  The first draft of the script explored this part of my life from a male point of view.  Many films have been done focusing on a father raising his son.  Adding the teenage boy from Joe’s first marriage took it somewhere else.  It was something I hadn’t seen before.”
THE BOYS ARE BACK is a very emotional film with an amazing and realistic look on life and loss.  “I loved that it was terribly moving with out being overwrought.  Humor is very important to the film.  The emotions can take care of themselves.  I wanted to make sure the humor was in it.”  Owen says.  He also feels that the film will have a wide appeal.  “Anyone who has lost someone, all parents….” will relate to this project.
Director Scott Hicks echoes this “Very few scripts profoundly touch you – this did.  I felt it was articulating feelings I have never seen in a film.  The way that Artie can’t articulate his feelings about what is happening to his mother is very real.  It is clear that it is written by someone who understands a 6-year old boy.”
It was clear from the beginning that casting the two young boys was crucial to the success of the film.  Clive Owen believes, “A lot rests on the young boy.  It’s a lot to put on the shoulders of a young boy.  I was thrilled when I saw the tape (of Nicholas McAnulty).  He was different – a bundle of unpredictability.  I knew he would infuse the film with real life.”  Director Hicks agrees. “Capturing a 6-year old on film was like lightning.  You only have a short period of time to capture it before it starts looking rehearsed.”  McAnulty and Owen spent a lot of time together offscreen to forge a bond that would come across onscreen.  “I knew it was important for him to trust me.”  says Owen.  “We went to wildlife parks and fun fairs, just the two of us.  You as the audience have to believe that we are father and son.”
George MacKay, the British actor who plays Joe’s older son Harry, also forged a bond with McAnulty.  This is evident by their onscreen relationship.  Clive Owen has nothing but good things to say about George.  “He is a lovely guy.  A very fine actor.  He is a key ingredient to the film.  He is mature beyond his years.”
THE BOYS ARE BACK is a touching film that deals with death and how the living must continue on.  It is funny and emotional without being contrived.  Scott Hicks has a specific wish for people who see this film.  “I’d like for people to come out of the film and hug their children or reconcile with their children in some way.”
THE BOYS ARE BACK is released by Miramax film.  It is rated PG-13 and opens in limited release on September 25th.
Author: Suzanne Philips
Film, TV, Theatre reviewer. Mad Dance Skillz, Crazy in a good way.


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