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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

"He's Almost Unrecognizable" Sand Castle Director On Henry

Omelete had the opportunity to interview Sand Castle director Fernando Coimbra, who talks about making the film and working with Henry. Thanks to our reader Carol (TheCralmeida), we're sharing the Q&A which was originally in Portuguese. The translation is a little rough (we paraphrased/edited a bit), but hopefully you get the gist of it.  

Shot in Jordan over six weeks, Sand Castle is undergoing the finishing touches in post-production. It shows Coimbra's vision of the Iraq war. He tells Omelette that while filming it, he learned about American military ethics, and says the movie draws parallels to what is happening in Brazil today.

The plot is set in Iraq in 2003. After the successful first ground invasion of Baghdad, a platoon of American soldiers is sent to Baquba, in the Diyala province, to repair the city's water system, damaged during the U.S. intervention in that country. The mission, which seemed simple, turns out to be a nightmare. Coimbra, who directed episodes of Narcos for Netflix, reunites with the streaming service, which bought the rights to Sand Castle when it was already in post-production.

In the following interview, Coimbra explains his approach to the reality of Iraq and the military procedures of America around the world.

How was the experience of shooting in Jordan in English, leading a multi-national cast and dealing with the thorny issue of the occupation of Iraq?

Fernando Coimbra: It was a great experience. Part of my decision to make this film came from the will to live that experience. Overall, I think it was amazing. Of course it came with its difficulties, especially after taking my family to live in the Middle East for nearly four months. Working with a multinational cast is always a very rich experience. In Narcos, I had the luxury of working with great talent in Latin America, while in Sand Castle I could work with super talented actors from the UK, United States, Egypt, Iran and Palestine. I also worked with Iraqi extras. I made sure to have real Iraqis in the film. I think it was very important for the final result, to have both American military advisers giving their point of view, as well as getting the perspective of the Jordanians and Iraqis. And that's what the film suggests, to look at both sides equally.

How was it working with Nicholas Hoult and Henry Cavill?

Coimbra: Could not have been better. Nick Hoult was already involved in the project before me. As the protagonist, he wanted to go deep with this story and this character. We had a very strong and intense collaboration. Cavill, since he read the script wanted to make the film, and this was a key factor. Even though he's involved in a multi-million dollar franchise with Superman, he wanted to do this independent film, which shows a very different side of him. We changed his look completely. He is almost unrecognizable. Cavill is a very simple and humble guy. And very easy to work with.

How did you approach the military intervention of the U.S. around the world?

Coimbra: The film is not at Americanist vision. The view of the war I deliver is not one of heroes, of glory and great deeds. The film is seen from the perspective of the soldier as an individual to show how, throughout the war, it will become more absurd and meaningless to him. And the concepts of freedom and democracy that he brought from the U.S. change once he meets Iraqi civilians and has the opportunity to have a minimum exchange with them.

What did the film teach you about military ethics?

Coimbra: There are two military ethics. There is the low-level one, trying to be as correct as possible (which is not always the case) and then there is a high-ranking one, where the real interests of war (economic and geopolitical) reside. What they sell to the soldiers is the idea that these will bring freedom and democracy to a country that lives under an oppressive regime.What is behind it, is the destabilization of the country and the delivery of its economy to international private corporations. What happened in this war, is that most of the soldiers returned home with a title in the head (?) because their motives did not match the real motivations of the war. Studying it, I began to better understand what is happening in Brazil now. It is the same process of interventionism, but without war, just like what happened in Egypt. The Obama administration has enhanced the interventionist policy in order to spend less money on the war machine and have the same result.

How are your Brazilian projects? Is there anything else on Netflix to come?

Coimbra: The only thing coming up for me on Netflix is Sand Castle (..).

Sand Castle will make its debut in 2017, though no date has been set.


  1. I hope that even though it will be on Netflix for those of us that don't have it I hope we can still rent it somewhere!!!!
    Think puppy just wants Henry to throw the ball? LOL!!!

    1. It just depends on the deal that was made when the film was sold. Some movies bought by Netflix have gotten a limited theater release. Hopefully we have a date soon!

    2. A theater date would be awesome :) I hope it happens :) thanks for letting me know :) fingers crossed for a sooner rather than later release :)


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