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Marital woes in ‘Our Kind Of Traitor’

Ewan McGregor and Naomie Harris are married couple thrown into the obscure world of espionage and dirty politics in Our Kind of Traitor.

Based on the acclaimed tome by John le Carré of the same title, the movie finds ordinary English couple Perry (McGregor) and Gail (Harris) on holiday in Marrakech, Morocco. They meet the flamboyant and charismatic Russian, Dima (Stellan Skarsgård) who befriends them over games of tennis and lavish parties at his villa before revealing he is the top money launderer for the Russian mafia and wants to defect with his family to Britain.   

When Dima asks for their help to deliver classified information to the British Secret Services, the couple is propelled on a perilous journey through Paris and Bern, a safe house in the French Alps, to the murky corners of the City of London and an alliance with the British Government via a ruthless and determined.

Ewan McGregor and Naomie Harris in a scene from the British spy thriller film adapted from John le Carré’s novel of the same name

The relationship between the attractive, comfortably off Perry, a university lecturer in poetics, and Gail, a very successful barrister, starts in a very broken place. That was an interesting dynamic for the two actors to play. Everyman superstar Ewan McGregor was the first of the film’s high-powered cast to join the project. “Ewan was on early and first as Perry,” says producer Gail Egan. “He was involved from quite an early stage of development and stayed with us through many drafts. He was perfect.”

Director Susanna White praises McGregor’s ability to engage with audiences.  “He liked the idea of scrutinizing what it felt like to be slightly emasculated by a wife who’s more powerful than you are. In theory, if you ask Perry whether he thought it would be good to have high achieving women, he would say, “Of course, women deserve that.” 

But when he is faced with his own situation he starts to feel threatened by Gail and challenged by it. Part of the challenge was keeping audience appeal while seeing his weakness at the beginning of the film and his journey to rediscovering himself, who he is and redefining his relationship of with Gail.”

Scottish actor Ewan McGregor stars in thriller flick “Our Kind of Traitor” as Peregrine Makepeace

Co-star Naomie Harris describes McGregor as the ideal co-star. “He’s such a phenomenal actor and just a great guy,” she enthuses. “From the very first moment I met him he was incredibly down to earth. He has a really great sense of humor and is very hard working.”

“Naomie is a phenomenal actress. The relationship is very interesting and layered and detailed, it’s not a sort of ‘movie’ relationship and they both have their part to play in this story and how the story unfolds. Their relationship is damaged at the beginning as Perry has cheated on her. She’s terribly upset and hurt and he’s trying very hard to fix that and to move forward and be happy again. That’s all really interesting stuff to play, as it’s not the usual movie marriage.  Interestingly, the two arcs of those storylines go hand in hand. Through it all Perry and Gail find each other again and remember what it is they love about each other. By the time the film ends they are in a much better place,”

McGregor relates of his co-star and on the film’s theme.

“There are bumps in whatever relationship, no matter how good. It is nice to see a mature relationship which is going through a very serious hiccup and is managing to find a way through,” Harris concludes.

Our Kind of Traitor opens June 8 in cinemas nationwide from OctoArts Films International.

‘Art 2 Art’ bares next episodes

Dance, poetry and design are the focus of Art 2 Art’s first three episodes in June, reaffirming the program’s commitment to showcase a diverse range of art disciplines.

Produced by the Manila Broadcasting Company and hosted by prima ballerina Lisa Macuja, Art 2 Art airs Sundays, 3:30 to 4 p.m., on DZRH (666 khz on the AM band), cable television (RHTV Channel 18 on Cignal Cable) and online live streaming at http://dzrhnewstelevision.tv. The show may also be viewed through the Facebook account of DZRH News Television.

“Art 2 Art” host Lisa Macuja with lifestyle journalist Arnel Patawaran

Today,  Macuja leads the discussion of Dance MNL, the first Philippine Dance Festival showcasing classical, modern and contemporary dance. Colleagues, artistic directors Paul Morales (Ballet Philippines), Ron Jaynario (Philippine Ballet Theater) and Osias Barroso (Ballet Manila) join the host. The three dance companies are joining forces for the first time to help mount the inaugural festival that will feature performances, master classes and a dance conference.

From left: Ron Jaynario, Lisa Macuja, Paul Morales and Osias Barroso

On June 12, award-winning Filipino designer Ito Kish – who has made a name for himself in visual merchandising, interior decoration and product design – relates how he got his start in the field and later built up his own design consultancy firm. He also talks about current design trends and what clients look for in international trade shows.

Lisa Macuja in a sit-down interview with designer Ito Kish

On June 19, lifestyle journalist Arnel “AA” Patawaran shares his personal journey as an author, with his first book Write Here Write Now – a practical guide to writing – becoming an unexpected bestseller. He turns to poetry in his second book, Hai[na]ku and Other Poems, from which he reads two works for the Art 2 Art episode.

For inquiries, please e-mail [email protected] On Facebook, check out the account Ballerina ng Bayan for updates on Art 2 Art episodes.

Topics: Our Kind Of Traitor , Ewan McGregor and Naomie Harris , Art 2 Art , Lisa Macuja
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