I’d been vaguely suspicious of the silence surrounding John Hillcoat’s adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road, but all my doubts are now eased. There was that debut photo a week ago; now the paper of record has a solid piece on the film, complete with a few new photos and details that should appease any McCarthy fan worried about the tone and fidelity of this project.
The film, which follows a man and his son on a hopeful but dour trek across a blasted America, has finished production after shooting in Pennsylvania and New Orleans; further post-production work at Mount St. Helens is planned. Much of the film was shot around Pittsburgh; residents will surely be pleased that their town easily doubles for a shellshocked, burnt-out landscape.
Take this choice note:
Chris Kennedy, the production designer, even discovered a burned-down amusement park in Lake Conneaut and an eight-mile stretch of abandoned freeway, complete with tunnel, ideal for filming the scene where the father and son who are the story’s main characters are stalked by a cannibalistic gang traveling by truck.
Don’t get too excited about the cannibals. The piece points out that Hillcoat & Co. view the film as a sort of antithesis to the Mad Max movies. (“What we wanted is a kind of heightened realism, as opposed to the ‘Mad Max’ thing, which is all about high concept and spectacle.”) It also mentions that a few flashback scenes have been expanded, and confirms roles for Michael Kenneth Williams (the thief), Robert Duvall (the old man) and Guy Pearce, who plays another wandering father. Finally, the work of Kodi Smit-McPhee is praised by on-screen father Viggo Mortensen.
Check out the original article if you’ve read the book — there are a few other tantalizing notes — but if you’re unfamiliar with the novel and wish to remain unspoiled, it might be better to wait for November, when the film arrives.