Woody Harrelson Talks The Messenger, 2012, and Defendor
11.13.09 by Ryan
Woody Harrelson already scored a hit this year with Zombieland, but this weekend sees two more Harrelson movies open: 2012 and The Messenger. In 2012, Harrelson plays the conspiracy theorist and pirate radio host Charlie Frost, who is closer to Harrelson's own personality — a well-known environmental activist and a hemp-loving pacifist — than the role of Army
casualty-notification officer Capt. Tony Stone in writer-director Oren Moverman 's The Messenger. Harrelson told THR that playing a soldier changed his view on them entirely.
The one thing that my whole ideology lacked was the compassion for the soldier, and now that's been taken care of. I have a great deal of respect for these people who go over there and risk their lives every day for very little money just because of the love for their country, so I've come to really revere the soldier. I feel like the movie is really a journey you take with your heart, and my part of that journey began with going to Walter Reed [Army Medical Center]. It accessed places in my heart I wasn't necessarily expecting to access. It was important for me, because I'm definitively anti-war, pro-peace. I do think that supporting the troops is a lot bigger question than supporting the war.
The Messenger certainly puts Harrelson in more human peril than 2012, where he greatest enemy is a "giant chunk of magma," but Harrelson told Salon that despite how different the two movies are, his process for choosing projects was the same in both cases.
You know, I don't feel like a movie has to have a message, necessarily. If a movie's fun and funny and just great entertainment, that's enough.
"Fun and funny" seems to describe Harrelson's other upcoming movie, Defendor, which is yet to be given a release date by Sony.
It's a guy who's mildly retarded who thinks he's a superhero, only, of course, bullets don't bounce off and he gets beat up all the time. He's trying to fight crime and falls in love with the girl, played wonderfully by Kat Dennings, who's a crack whore. Peter Stebbings wrote and directed it; he's an actor. I was surprised how good it turned out, and luckily Sony thought so, too, because they picked it up (in Toronto).
Defendor might seem like an unusual choice for a different actor, but with Harrelson's varied resume, including soldiers, serial killers, conspiracy theorists, and pornography tycoons, playing a "mildly retarded superhero" isn't even a surprise.