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NOYCE, PHIL : SAINT OF MANY FACES

Phil Noyce talks to Andrew L. Urban about his latest film.

Phil Noyce walks into the wood panelled bar at Sydney’s glorious Park Hyatt hotel for our interview, clutching a mobile, mouthing apologies as he excuses himself for a moment longer to make a call. He slumps into a corner chair and dials a Los Angeles number. It’s Monday in Sydney, but Sunday in LA, and he’s interrogating the party at the other end for the opening weekend figures. "Is that $16.8 or $16.2?…they’re projecting? Sunday figures aren’t in yet …"

"We needed someone who could convincingly be 10 different people with 10 different body languages, and do it at least half realistically." Phil Noyce on casting The Saint

Noyce is anxious because these days, the first weekend is critical in filmbiz: you can make a career in three days, or have it go limp under you.
The three-day take of the first weekend was actually US$16.28 million, which is good. A good start. It suggests The Saint will ‘do’ around US$100 million in America alone.
No thanks to the critics, though, all on word of mouth.
Noyce sits at the bar and lights an all-natural cigarette, joking how healthy it is. But he stubs it out after two puffs.

He is amiable and relaxed, his large frame swamping the bar stool, his long hair and beard, plus his fashionably loose clothes making him look even more at ease. After a fascinating discussion about his days at the Australian Film Television and Radio School (he was among the first intake of students, back in 1973), we change the subject to the reason for his trip to Sydney: The Saint.

"Val Kilmer is that rare actor who not only has matinee idol good looks, but .... perhaps does his best work when he’s playing a character who’s nothing like Val Kilmer." Phil Noyce

Andrew: Why did you cast Val Kilmer as The Saint?

Phil: The story that I concocted was intended to re-introduce the character of Simon Templar to those who were familiar with The Saint. I also wanted to introduce him to the majority of the cinema going public, who have never heard of The Saint - before the pre-publicity of this movie. One of the major requirements I had was someone who could play many different characters, because my Saint is a man of a thousand faces who uses disguises not only to evade detection as a thief, but who wears a mask to cover his real self. We needed someone who could convincingly be ten different people with ten different body languages, and do it at least half realistically. Val Kilmer is that rare actor who not only has matinee idol good looks, but as he showed in The Doors and in Tombstone - where he played Doc Holliday - he is a very fine and accomplished character actor, who can transform himself into another person and perhaps does his best work when he’s playing a character who’s nothing like Val Kilmer.

"How could you ever have Val Kilmer pretending to be a Roger Moore?" Phil Noyce

Andrew: Your Saint is a very different character to the persona of The Saint that some of us remember.

Phil: Very different. Very different to all the previous Saints, like Roger Moore or George Sanders, or the French actor who made The Saint some years ago. How could you ever have Val Kilmer pretending to be a Roger Moore?

Andrew: How exactly would you say your Saint differs from the more traditional image we have of him? Say, as played by Roger Moore?

Phil: He starts as an angst ridden individual, unsure of his own self and his self-worth, but who finds himself, finds redemption, finds the ability even to become Roger Moore in the next movie - if there is one.

Andrew: It was intended to be the first of a series, wasn’t it?

Phil: Perhaps. We’ll know fairly quickly if there is to be another one.

Andrew: You mean, depending on the box office?

Phil: Yes, and I imagine that decision could be made within eight weeks of the film’s opening.

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Phil Noyce on the set of The Saint

Andrew L. Urban


SAINT, THE (M) 15+
(US)

CAST: Val Kilmer, Elisabeth Shue, Irina Apeximova, Michael Byrne, Henry Goodman, Yevgeni Lazarev, Valeri Nikolayev

DIRECTOR: Phillip Noyce

PRODUCER: David Brown, Robert Evans, Mace Neufeld

SCRIPT: Jonathan Hensleigh, Wesley Strick (Story by Jonathan Hensleigh) Based on Leslie Charteris novels)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Phil Meheux

EDITOR: Terry Rawlings

MUSIC: Graeme Revell III

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Joseph C. Nemec III


AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 17, 1997

Val Kilmer stars as The Saint

Stunning Russian location

Elisabeth Schue plays The Saint's love interest


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