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Look out for more coverage of

Master and Commander:
The Far Side of the World
in our magazines

THE MOVIE:
Master and Commander:
The Far Side of the World

THE STARS:
Russell Crowe • Paul Bettany
DIRECTOR: Peter Weir

In command THE CONCEPT:
Russell Crowe stars as Jack Aubrey, a renowned captain in the British Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. When his ship is attacked and badly damaged, he has to decide between his duty to intercept and capture his foe and the care of his men, many seriously injured in the assault.

U.S. RELEASE: November 14, 2003 • Rated: PG-13

THE COMMENTS:

RUSSELL CROWE:
“I knew the movie was going to full of running up and down rigging, sword fighting and giving out orders, but the fact that he plays the violin is a big part of Jack Aubrey. It’s part of the balance of who he is. There’s this art within Jack, this big, bold man, this figure of authority, but inside him he has the sweetness and gentility to coax a beautiful sound out of the violin. It was just as important to me to learn about the violin as it was to learn about the ship’s rigging or the way the ship moved.”

PETER WEIR on turning Patrick O’Brian’s novel into a movie:
“Patrick O’Brian’s prose is magnificent. He’s a writer of the first order. Of course, this was one of the most challenging aspects about adapting his work. When you adapt any book, the words fall out onto the table and you have to replace the prose with images. It has been a great challenge to tell this story visually in a way that does justice to O’Brian’s words.”

CROWE:
“Peter Weir was very inspirational to me as a young man growing up and going to the cinema. The process of working with Peter is probably better than the legend, but the legend of working with Peter was very attractive, and it was always to do with music – how Peter would play music and set a certain tone on the set. We started this movie with the storm sequence, so we hit the ground running. We were on the boat going crazy for eleven days. When we got to the end of the sequence I said to him, ‘You know the legend is that you always play music on the set.’ And he goes, ‘I do, thank you for reminding me.’ We got so into the storm sequence, and the fact that you couldn’t hear anything, so what was the point of having music on? Suddenly we were treated with large pieces of Barry Lydon and a few other soundtracks, whatever music he felt would help us at the time.”

PAUL BETTANY (Dr Stephen Maturin):
“Stephen studies people the way he studies animals; he certainly studies Jack. I think what Stephen finds intriguing about Jack is that he is the exception to the rule that ‘power corrupts.’ Jack weilds his power wisely. But that is really tested in this film. Stephen begins to think that Jack’s goal of catching the Acheron is turning into an obsession, which could be a detriment to his crew.”

CROWE:
“If this film works then I’m interested in doing the character again. I think there’s a lot of places to take the Captain and the Doctor. We haven’t really seen them on land. One of the wonderful things about the books is that every time Jack goes on land all hell breaks loose. He’s only in control when he’s at sea, so that could be quite interesting.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official
Master and Commander:
The Far Side of the World
site

Images above © 20th Century Fox
Feature © 2003 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #638, December 2003 cover

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