Have you heard about the latest Mel Gibson movie in the making? The big Hollywood project is set to make history. Not because of the big names from around the globe, the fact that parts of the movies are to be filmed on every continent (let’s not even get into the budget that must have been allocated for that), or the fact that the list of stars are multicultural, multilingual, and yet set to speak their mother-tongue in the movie – but, in a groundbreaking move for a Hollywood movie – there is no script.
Yes, you read correctly – there is no script. Before we get into that, take a look at the list of cast members Gibson has secured so far:
- Ken Watanabe
- Penelope Cruz
- Monica Belucci
- Javier Bardem
- Jackie Chan
- Marion Cotillard
- Diane Kruger
- Famke Jannsen
Says Mel Gibson, “this project is set to be more of a multicultural live experiment than a blockbuster movie. At the moment, we don’t really know what to expect, but we’re pretty sure it’s going to be an unforgettable and exhilarating experience for each one of us. We’re working tirelessly with a team of top scientists and psychologists to ensure the success of the project.”
What’s the Premise of the Experiment?
The underlying idea of this unique experiment is that all the actors are set to speak their own first language to one another, provided the locals speak their own language.
Jackie Chan once told People magazine: “most of the time, actors receive a script. Right from the very first page, I know if I want to take part in this movie or if the role really isn’t suitable for me. This time, I didn’t receive a script. Instead, I received the challenge of a lifetime. An empty booklet. Nothing like this has ever been done before and I knew right away that I was in!”
As it is, there isn’t exactly a set plot for this experiment, rather, the actors are to be presented with situations and they will be expected to improvise in their own languages without saying anything in English (unless, of course, they are native English speakers). We’re not sure how this is going to work just yet – will the actors be able to find a common language at the end of the experiment, or will it be another case of building the Babel tower?
Given today’s different cultural context, a whole host of challenges are set to face the actors, among which Jean Reno, Jackie Chan, and Mads Mikkelsen have already confirmed their interest. What’s more, we’re told that any crowd scenes where “extras” are needed will be done by locals who also won’t have a script to work from.
The whole idea is to show the difficulties in culture and communication that we face today, and how important it is to get context right for effective and understandable communication. After all, without getting cultures and sub-cultures right, people should realize, and they will after this movie, that a basic understanding of cultural diversity is a necessity for cross-cultural communication. We all need to learn how to better communicate with others whose first language doesn’t match our own.
Will It Be a Success?
Here’s the thing: we cannot say if this movie is true or not, but we’d be first in line to see it if it were! Language is a powerful tool that keeps cultures united, helps us to build relationships, and can be used to help or hinder society. We should be creating movies like this to get it right!