M. Mick Montage, Film Editor.
Alejandro González Iñárritu, two-time consecutive Best Director Oscar recipient, most renowned for the Best Picture-winning film Birdman and his recent naturalist biopic of American frontiersman Hugh Glass, The Revenant, announced last week his newest project: The Invisible Man. Always ambitious, Iñárritu, in his well-known collected stoicism, described this project as “his most experimental yet.” Loosely inspired by both Ralph Ellison and H.G. Wells’ classic texts of relatively the same name as well as the “shadow figure” that has “stalked” the director since his Revenant work, the film, Iñárritu explained, is “a cautionary tale against the wide-reaching forces of evil that dominate our very existence.” Essentially, it is a hybrid of impressive textual content, a merging of conflicting genres, and the remarkable surrealist vision of one of today’s greatest cinematic auteurs. With the superhero genre existing at the forefront of popular culture, with the exception of universally-despised Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice starring the laughable Ben Affleck, the tease of experimentation in the cinematic superhero mold came with great excitement to Hollywood.
Despite initial appeal, however, The Invisible Man has recently electrified waters in the film community, especially among most esteemed Hollywood stars, after Iñárritu announced yesterday at a fundraising party hosted by George Clooney that he will not be hiring any actors to appear in the film. The decision, Iñárritu commented, was a difficult one, but he believes it will none the less “guarantee a cinematic purity not observed since Kubrick’s 2001 (A Space Odyssey)… insight evolution, a gateway to the future of film.” Although details of plot, narrative, or other matters of the film’s production have been kept securely under lock and key, the apparent lack of cast emerges as a bizarre and untimely opening to a project that would have surely secured a top spot in next year’s Oscar contenders.
In response to Iñárritu’s claim, many actors have already voiced their concerns and blatant outrage over this stylistic choice. George Clooney, long time acquaintance and “Alejandro party bro,” stated,”I respect the man, but this actor-less film scenario… I don’t know. He might have dipped too far this time… a bit too experimental.” Jennifer Lawrence, upon questioning, merely shrugged: “I’m a bit tickled. He’s a great guy. Smart! But I don’t know, man. This is a tough one. I guess we just got to trust him and see what happens.” Jon Hamm, eyebrow-less since last week’s Hollywood fire incident, declared through monstrous tears: “It doesn’t matter! I’m finished!” Joaquin Phoenix expressed utter bewilderment at the decision: “I mean… come on! The future of film?! How the hell are we supposed to make a living with ass@*&# directors like him leading the way?” Sean Penn, however, life-long friend of the director, has stuck entirely with his “bestie’s” stylistic authority, stating, “F*#@ all those normative goons. Gonzo’s got this one. Everybody needs to chill the f*#@ out!” Leonardo DiCaprio, though winning his first Best Actor Oscar for an Iñárritu picture, has not been seen since leaving for the forests of Washington state, Canada-bound with his newly wed bride, and was thus unable to comment.
Fans have responded on Twitter (#InvisibleLivesMatter, #InarrituIsInsane, #GonzoGoneWild) and other social media outlets with an equally mixed spectrum of disdain and adoration, mostly debating whether the Birdman director has, like Michael Keaton’s character Riggan in the film, spiraled ultimately into madness. Still, many hold the hope that the director’s next debut will indeed be the future cinematic experience needed for a country in political and philosophical turmoil, where the halls of academia, fields of physical labor, and lens of media are manipulated by those in power. Maybe The Invisible Man is the actor-less breath of fresh air so craved by Hollywood, which currently suffocates by improper representation through irresponsible casting.
Upon prodding Iñárritu on the specific pressures driving his decision, the famed director smiled, then disclosed: “It had a lot to do with the current political climate… wall rhetoric, race, identity, what have you… As a Mexican-American- yes, despite people who claim otherwise, I’m Mexican, not White- Donald Trump and other popular politicians’ continuous intolerable remarks toward non-Whites is unacceptable. I want The Invisible Man to be the (hu)man, not some trope… I want this film to combat the building of The Wall by breaking the walls constructed in my own medium… film,” Iñárritu sighed. “So… I cannot tell you specifically what straw finally broke the camel’s back, but I will tell you… it, forgive me, crucified the s*@# out of that blonde-toupee-wearing camel.”
The Invisible Man, in production since early March and involving previous Iñárritu collaborators cinematographer Emmanuel Lebuzki and music composer Antonio Sanchez, is set to be released in theaters January of 2017.
Monsieur Mick Montage is Film Editor and part-founder of The Thirsty Thespian. His passions include film criticism, snobbish mockery of the mundane, French cuisine, and his Mediterranean lover, Apolonia, whom he affectionately calls “Gertrude.”