Three-time Oscar®-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone returns to the screen with the ferocious thriller “Savages,” featuring the all-star ensemble cast of Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Aaron Johnson, John Travolta, Benecio del Toro, Salma Hayek, Emile Hirsch and Demian Bichir. The film is based on Don Winslow's best-selling crime novel that was named one of The New York Times' Top 10 Books of 2010.
“Savages” will be shown exclusively at Ayala Malls Cinemas starting Feb. 20. Moviegoers can catch it at Glorietta 4, Greenbelt 3, Trinoma, Alabang Town Center and Market! Market!
In the film, Laguna Beach entrepreneurs Ben (Johnson), a peaceful and charitable Buddhist, and his closest friend Chon (Kitsch), a former Navy SEAL and ex-mercenary, run a lucrative, homegrown industry—raising some of the best marijuana ever developed. They also share a one-of-a-kind love with the extraordinary beauty Ophelia (Lively). Life is idyllic in their Southern California town...until the Mexican Baja Cartel decides to move in and demands that the trio partners with them.
When the merciless head of the BC, Elena (Hayek), and her brutal enforcer, Lado (Del Toro), underestimate the unbreakable bond among these three friends, Ben and Chon—with the reluctant, slippery assistance of a dirty DEA agent (Travolta)—wage a seemingly unwinnable war against the cartel. And so begins a series of increasingly vicious ploys and maneuvers in a high stakes, savage battle of wills. From its provocative first chapter to its lyrical last page, Don Winslow's audacious 2010 novel "Savages" captivated and stunned audiences and critics alike. Winslow describes that the genesis of his bestselling book was an unusual one: "I was sitting at my desk one day in a bad mood and ogether. From the time the script sold to the time that shooting began, it was about three months, which is unheard of."
"Savages," laced with the politics and trade of marijuana, areas that have long been of interest to the writer/director, riveted Stone when he read it in galley form. Shane Salerno & Don Winslow & Oliver Stone adapted the novel into a screenplay, and in less than a year, Universal Pictures secured the worldwide distribution rights. Soon after, principal photography began. Of his interest in crafting a film out of the groundbreaking novel, Stone relays: "I thought the book was well done. It's about power, betrayal, money and questioning current values."
“Savages” features multiple themes that recur in Stone's movies: layered power struggles, shifting loyalties, examinations of the best and worst of human nature, explorations of complex family relationships and a compelling look at damaged people, some of whom find their own kind of heroism.
Stone reflects that this project called to mind “Any Given Sunday” and "the corporation coming into football." About the economy of scale, he says: "Above all, it is a power move by the Mexican Cartel into the United States to cut in on the independent distributors and producers. In the movie, the Baja Cartel is more interested in volume than the boutique-sized operations. But wherever you have volume versus independent growers, you're going to have a clash. Walmart doesn't want to have competitors."
Frequent Stone collaborator, producer Moritz Borman offers that there is a natural inclination to search for parallels in “Savages” with Stone's earlier films, but that the director isn't interested in retreads. Borman says: "Obviously, people will try to compare `Savages' to some of Oliver's other movies, but the style and message are different, and it's a different story. But it certainly has some of the intensity of his other pictures. He has always had something to say, and therefore has turned out these films that have survived."
His fellow producer, Eric Kopeloff, notes that the director is as interested in characters as he is in a geopolitical backdrop: "That's what excites him about making movies—finding a story where you can go on a ride with the characters. Oliver's someone who never stops trying, never stops doing different things to stretch the medium."