‘Safe House’ Director Daniel Espinoza Talks Casting Ryan Reynolds

evolveteam February 9, 2012 0
Daniel Espinoza and Ryan Reynolds filming Safe House

With two of Hollywood’s biggest stars attached to his first major film, Safe House, and some great reviews coming down pipe, up-and-comer Daniel Espinoza seems poised to become one of industry’s elite directors. The helmer sat down with the press during a private press junket to discuss the casting of Ryan Reynolds, as well other star additions and even the WikiLeaks scandal. Very intriguing to say the least.

When asked about the Reynold’s talent level, Espinoza went on to make the comparison between him and a Hollywood legend. “He surprised me with his strength…And when I sat there and thought, in a strange way, he’s like a young Robert Redford. He has that kind of natural charisma. And I thought to not play into it. Like Robert in his early movies, he never played into his charisma, or his charm, or his confidence,” said Espinoza.

That’s a pretty bold statement, but one that we’re sure Espinoza stands by 100 percent. We say that because the director touched on the relationship he and Reynolds developed before, and during the filming of Safe House. His response to the hundreds of actors who auditioned for the role of Matt Weston and choosing Reynolds for the part:

“I met them. That was nice. I appreciate them talking the time out to meet me. But for me it was that meeting we had, the bond and connection we created because I believe that a director should never choose an actor. The actor and director have to choose each other. So for me, I’m in an interview. Even if a person wants a job, I see him interviewing me as much as I’m interviewing him because in order to do good work, it’s a comradeship. Be brothers in arms. And if you don’t have that bond, it’s not gonna work out. We had a close connection and that’s why we worked together.”

Espinoza also discussed casting actress Vera Farmiga (The Departed, Source Code) for the gender-neutral character of CIA operative Catherine Linklater. Suffice to say, he had another actor-director relationship on-set:

“With Vera, I was just looking for a good actor, or actress. When I met Vera, she had such a natural rhythm to her and how she handles language, I think that when you work with these kinds of movies there’s so much technicalities and bullshit you have to say. So you want somebody who can invest some kind of emotion it in. And Vera’s one of the strongest actors on the planet. It was more me begging for her to come than the other way around.”

Lastly, those lucky enough to catch an early screening of Safe House questioned the film’s initial plot by raising the subject of the WikiLeaks scandal. Espinoza entertained the theory saying, “I think that’s always an interesting aspect of it. We need to start understanding that just because we have 10 different opinions of what happened, that doesn’t mean we know what the truth is. So that’s like the most serious under current in this movie.”

He’s clearly a man director of words. Safe House opens in theaters February 10 nationwide.