View Full Version : Oliver Stone's 'World Trade Center'

February 13th, 2006, 12:03 PM
Official poster, as seen on CanMag (http://www.canmag.com/movies.php?moviekey=wtc):


Last week, USA Today (http://www.usatoday.com/life/2006-02-09-coming-attractions_x.htm) examined the poster:

The poster art for Paramount Pictures' 9/11 drama World Trade Center arrives in theaters this weekend, and the studio hopes the image reflects that filmmakers are trying to approach America's greatest modern tragedy with respect.

"This impacted every living human being who witnessed it. It's daunting, and you can't approach this like just another film," says Paramount marketing chief Gerry Rich.

The studio decided to emphasize mood, while the stars' and director's names are downplayed. There's an abstract reminder of the twin towers instead of an actual photograph of the buildings intact, or in ruins. The red, white and blue colors imply it's an American story — not a tale of terrorists or politics.More photos from CanMag:



February 13th, 2006, 01:22 PM
Treading on shaky ground here........

March 6th, 2006, 01:41 PM
If anyone can screw up an important subject on the screen,it's Oliver Stone.He peaked with "Born on The 4th of July".His take on another American Tragedy--The JFK assassination--was one of the worst pieces of mass-market disinformation since Leni Refinstahl photographed Nazis and made them look nice.He pandered to every conspiracy theory in existence,and the result was a waste of Tommy Lee Jonses' time and a whole generation who learned LESS about the assassination from the movie.
"Platoon" was OK,but who knows from Viet Nam?
Spielberg should do this movie.

I'm just now starting to hear some things about the movie,mostly that it focuses on fire and police personnel while they were inside the buildings.

He needs to do this right...

March 7th, 2006, 02:17 AM
Agreed on both counts.

I know one of the guys being portrayed in the movie and they are using input from the real life people they are portraying, so it seems they are doing this the right way.

March 7th, 2006, 07:17 AM
We need this movie like we need a hole in the head. Maybe in twenty years -

March 7th, 2006, 11:14 AM
one of the worst pieces of mass-market disinformation since Leni Refinstahl photographed Nazis and made them look nice.

Too funny - not everyday you come across a Leni Riefenstahl joke.

March 7th, 2006, 03:34 PM
I hope it isn't ruined by Nicholas Cage attempting (and failing at) a firefighter-worthy New York accent. That always bugs me.

March 9th, 2006, 03:10 PM
I might be wrong, but I think this flick is coming out way too soon.

Ten to one, I'll still go see it, though...

April 3rd, 2006, 11:29 AM
Those that are afraid of "too soon" live in the dark. It didn't matter if it was a week after or five years after. It wouldn't make it any easier on victim's families. It just 'is' what it is.

And it's a film. You don't have to go. Jews didn't have to see PASSION OF THE CHRIST. Idiots like Jerry Fallwell don't have to watch adult movies. Be a human. Make a decision. Choice is freedom. I don't agree with a lot of things I see or know about but the choice is the beauty of this life.

And whomever thought Spielberg should make a WTC film lives in a candy-coated world where McDonald's would do a WTC Happy Meal Tie in. "Collect all 3,400+ victims" (Towers Sold Separately! tm)

I used to live in the US and am still proudly American but the Country is losing it's grip and getting so conservative and risk-averse we'll all have to wear condoms when we drive a f****g car in five years.

April 3rd, 2006, 11:41 AM
How do you know BigGreen didn't mean it was too soon to get a proper historical perspective on the event?

April 3rd, 2006, 11:46 AM
Because each day gives a different perspective. I hold up a book in front of my face with the spine on the left and ask you what you see? You see the back of the book.

I see the front.

We see the same thing at the same time.

But the perspective is different. Always will be.

We may have more information tomorrow or next year---but the time to make this film is the time to make this film. If Spielberg makes one next year and someone makes an animated comedy about it in 20 years it's just that person's view at that time.

I realize I'm not a victim's family member--but I am a former New Yorker.

And I want people to benefit from the experience. There is an equal light to the darkness of the deaths and disasters. I don't know what it is---but I do know it exists.

April 3rd, 2006, 11:49 AM
A couple of weeks back I saw the trailer for that other 9/11 movie about Flight 93. The audience reaction was a mixture of gasps, hisses, and boos. These movies, especially ones that have no basis in fact, are TASTELESS.

April 3rd, 2006, 11:55 AM
Because each day gives a different perspective.
Non sequitur.

April 3rd, 2006, 11:56 AM
Flight 93 is an entertainment. It's meant to inform and make money at the same time--it's the writer/director's philosophy on the event. He wants you to buy into his philosophy--simple. Like a painter or speaker or anyone else or a reviewer in the NY Times.

Is he right, wrong, misinformed, an idiot, too early, too late, a pagan, a Jew, a Catholic, an Islamic ****damentalist?

Who knows? Who cares?

How do you know it's tasteless if you haven't seen it?

I mean this respectfully, without challenging.

April 3rd, 2006, 01:00 PM
Flight 93 is an entertainment. It's meant to inform and make money at the same time--it's the writer/director's philosophy on the event. He wants you to buy into his philosophy--simple. Like a painter or speaker or anyone else or a reviewer in the NY Times.

Is he right, wrong, misinformed, an idiot, too early, too late, a pagan, a Jew, a Catholic, an Islamic ****damentalist?

Who knows? Who cares?

How do you know it's tasteless if you haven't seen it?

I mean this respectfully, without challenging.

So this movie about 9-11 is going to be free?

I mean, if it was not made for entertainment, it would have to be for some other reason. It is not as if Ollie or Nick really need the money or anything...

Cin, we know where you are coming from, just don't try to sound like the people opposing the flik coming out now are robbing you of your right to see a movie.

Not everything is truly free, and if enough people think it is not proper to put something out right now, it does not mean that it SHOULDN'T be made or released, but that this is probably not the best time to do it.

April 3rd, 2006, 02:41 PM
A couple of weeks back I saw the trailer for that other 9/11 movie about Flight 93.
A Dark Day Revisited

Five years later, Hollywood is betting that America is ready for films about what happened on 9/11. Are we?

http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/Sections/Newsweek/Components/Photos/Mag/060410_Issue/nwk_gal_ah_Flight93_060401.jpg (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12102621/site/newsweek/)

By Sean Smith and Jac Chebatoris


April 10, 2006 issue - If movie trailers are supposed to cause a reaction, the preview for "United 93" more than succeeds. Featuring no voice-over and no famous actors, it begins with images of a beautiful morning and passengers boarding an airplane. It takes you a minute to realize what the movie's even about. That's when a plane hits the World Trade Center. The effect is visceral. When the trailer played before "Inside Man" last week at the famed Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, audience members began calling out, "Too soon!" In New York City, where 9/11 remains an open wound, the response was even more dramatic. The AMC Loews theater on Manhattan's Upper West Side took the rare step of pulling the trailer from its screens after several complaints. "One lady was crying," says one of the theater's managers, Kevin Adjodha. "She was saying we shouldn't have [played the trailer]. That this was wrong ... I don't think people are ready for this."

We're about to find out. "United 93" is the first feature film to deal explicitly with the events of September 11, 2001, and is certain to ignite an emotional debate before and after it opens on April 28. Is it too soon? Should the film have been made at all? More to the point, will anyone want to see it? Other 9/11 projects are on the way as the fifth anniversary of the attacks approaches, most notably Oliver Stone's "World Trade Center," starring Nicolas Cage, opening Aug. 9. But as the harbinger, "United 93" will take most of the heat, whether it deserves it or not.

The real United 93 crashed in a Pennsylvania field after 40 passengers and crew fought back against the terrorists who had hijacked the plane. Writer-director Paul Greengrass ("The Bourne Supremacy") has gone to great lengths to be respectful in his depiction of what occurred, proceeding with the film only after securing the approval of every victim's family. "Was I surprised at the unanimity? Yes. Very. Usually there are one or two families who are more reluctant," Greengrass writes in an e-mail. "I was surprised and humbled at the extraordinary way the United 93 families have welcomed us into their lives and shared their experiences with us." His team's research was meticulous. "They even went so far as to ask what my mother had been wearing on the plane," says Carole O'Hare, whose 79-year-old mother, Hilda Marcin, died on the flight. "They were very open and honest with us, and they made us a part of this whole project." Universal, which is releasing the film, plans to donate 10 percent of its opening weekend gross to the Flight 93 National Memorial Fund. That hasn't stopped criticism that the studio is exploiting a national tragedy. O'Hare thinks that's unfair. "This story has to be told to honor the passengers and crew for what they did," she says. "But more than that, it raises awareness. Our ports aren't secure. Our borders aren't secure. Our airlines still aren't secure, and this is what happens when you're not secure. That's the message I want people to hear."

It's unclear whether Americans will pay $9.50 to hear it. The A&E cable movie "Flight 93" drew 5.9 million viewers in January, the highest-rated show in the channel's history. But movies are different. "I don't want anyone to go who doesn't want to have this experience," says Adam Fogelson, Universal's president of marketing. "But when I see what's on screen, I feel comfortable that a lot of people will." Audiences seem to be split on the issue. "I don't think that's a movie I really want to see," says Jackie Alvarez, 73, of San Ramon, Calif., after seeing the trailer. "It gave me the creeps. It's way too soon." But 17-year-old Antoine Richardson of Memphis, Tenn., is looking forward to it. "I don't think it's exploitative or too soon," he says. "It helps us remember." As if any of us could forget.

With Nadine Joseph in San Francisco and Donnie Snow in Memphis

© 2006 Newsweek, Inc.

April 3rd, 2006, 03:47 PM
Universal, which is releasing the film, plans to donate 10 percent of its opening weekend gross

Um, how nice of them.

10% of the gross from one weekend.

April 3rd, 2006, 09:41 PM
Um, how nice of them.

10% of the gross from one weekend.
Yeah, but it's the biggest weekend.

April 4th, 2006, 12:17 AM
Its better than nothing.

April 4th, 2006, 01:09 AM
You can't ever say that something is better than nothing. Dignity and privacy are priceless.

April 4th, 2006, 09:08 AM
Its better than nothing.

Look at it this way:

Making the movie < Showing Nothing < Giving Money.
Showing nothing = 0

Making the movie /= -(Giving Money)

By this logic, it is impossible to say that:

Making the movie + Giving Money > Showing Nothing.

April 4th, 2006, 09:37 AM
Dignity and privacy are priceless.

Writer-director Paul Greengrass ("The Bourne Supremacy") has gone to great lengths to be respectful in his depiction of what occurred, proceeding with the film only after securing the approval of every victim's family.

April 4th, 2006, 09:54 AM
I found it offensive as a trailer. I thought it was tasteless to be shown in a New York theater as a trailer and it immediately changed the mood in the audience. I have no objection to it being made. I think force feeding the trailer to New Yorkers was rather insensistive. I have no doubt that folks in Iowa and Nebraska will eat it up. It hits closer to home here and I, with the family's blessings or not, it is tasteless and offensive to me.

It's a make believe movie about a make believe story that the governemt is trying to convince us is true. There are so many holes in the Flight 93 story that I have to agree that this can only be categorized as entertainment and fiction - not based on any known facts other than the fact that the flight crashed. It is propaganda movie coming at conveniently at a time when republicans ar tanking in the polls.

April 4th, 2006, 11:00 AM
I know for a fact that at the time the Greenglass film was being cast in NYC that there was no "working script" -- and that actors who were auditioning were asked to "improvise" scenes inside the airplane -- specifically the boarding of the airplane and then the moments following the time when it became clear that Flight 93 had been hijacked.

Some actors at the auditions balked at the very thought of creating out of whole cloth an "improvisation" of these events. Others jumped in feet-first.

At that early stage it was clear that some "facts" were being altered (i.e.: the number of passengers on the plane).

But apparently the producers found a cast that they felt could do justice to the project.

The word was that the story being told was to be one of "courage under adversity".

May 17th, 2006, 12:41 PM
"World Trade Center" Movie Trailer Unveiled

NY 1 (http://ny1.com/ny1/content/index.jsp?&aid=59499&search_result=1&stid=1)
May 17, 2006

Audiences flocking to see “The Da Vinci Code” this weekend may end up talking more about the trailer than the movie.

Starting Friday, a trailer for a new movie about September 11th, will be playing in theaters nationwide before “The Da Vinci Code” is shown.

"World Trade Center" is an Oliver Stone film featuring the real life story of the last two Port Authority officers to be pulled from the Trade Center wreckage.

Producers are giving early warning to movie-goers since many were upset over the trailer for "United 93." Some city theatres ended up pulling that trailer.

"World Trade Center" is the first big Hollywood feature film to addresses the events of September 11th in New York.

Its release date is August 9th.

Watch the complete trailer:

http://www.ny1.com/images/homepage/low_video.gif (http://real.ny1.com:8080/ramgen/real4/RMWTC_Trailerlo.rm)http://www.ny1.com/images/homepage/high_video.gif (http://real.ny1.com:8080/ramgen/real4/RMWTC_Trailerhi.rm) "World Trade Center"

Copyright © 2006 NY1 News. All rights reserved

May 30th, 2006, 04:04 PM
The recent film, United 93, was phenomenal...best picture of the year by far and away. (see my post, elsewhere in the Forum).

As for the Oliver Stone film, I'll probably see it but I'll be wary the whole way through. Even though Stone is capable of brilliant work, he just can't seem to help himself, and ends up damaging his films with over-the-top sensationalism, conspiracy theories, and far far left-field politics. If it wasn't such a sad waste of talent, it would be laughable!

If Stone insists on 100% accuracy, and spends the money on this film to ensure it is done exactly right, he might very well come up with a masterpiece. Anything less is not worthy of him, the subject, or the victims of 9/11.

July 2nd, 2006, 11:17 AM
Oliver Stone's 'World Trade Center'
Seeks Truth in the Rubble

Francois Duhamel/Paramount Pictures
A scene from the film "World Trade Center."

NY TIMES (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/02/movies/02halb.html)
By DAVID M. HALBFINGER (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/h/david_m_halbfinger/index.html?inline=nyt-per)
July 2, 2006

INSIDE a flimsy temporary office on a dusty movie lot here, a young man sits in front of a computer, showing off a three-dimensional rendering of the collapse of the World Trade Center. It was assembled by merging the blueprints for the twin towers — the before-picture, you might say — with a vast collection of measurements, including some taken with infrared laser scans from an airplane 5,000 feet above Lower Manhattan, just days after 9/11.

With a few clicks, Ron Frankel, who has the title pre-visualization supervisor for Oliver Stone's (http://movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movies/filmography.html?p_id=112907&inline=nyt-per) new 9/11 film, begins to illustrate the circuitous path that five Port Authority police officers took into the trade center's subterranean concourse, until the towers above them fell, killing all but two.

As Mr. Frankel speaks, behind his back a burly man has wandered through the door. He is Will Jimeno, one of the two officers who survived. He has been a constant presence on the movie set, scooting from here to there in a golf cart, bantering with the actor playing him and with Mr. Stone, answering questions and offering suggestions — a consultant and court jester. But he has never seen this demonstration before, he says, pulling up a chair.

Mr. Frankel, continuing with his impromptu show-and-tell, says the floor beneath Mr. Jimeno, Sgt. John McLoughlin and their three fellow officers dropped some 60 feet, creating a 90-foot ravine in the underground inferno.

The difference between instant death and a chance at life, for each of the men, was a matter of inches.

Francois Duhamel/Paramount Pictures
John McLoughlin, left, and Will Jimeno.

Mr. Jimeno sits quietly, absorbing what he's just seen and heard. His eyes moisten. "I didn't know this," he says. "I didn't know this. I didn't know there was a drop-off here. This is an explanation I never knew about." He pauses. "We try not to ponder on it, because we're alive. But it answers some questions. That, really, played a big part in us being here." The countless measurements taken and calculations made by scientists and government agencies helped ground zero rescue workers pinpoint dangerous areas in the weeks after the attacks. The data also provided a fuller historical record of how the buildings collapsed and lessons for future architects and engineers.

Only a movie budgeted as mass entertainment, though, could harness all that costly information to reconstruct the point of view of two severely injured and bewildered men, who didn't even know the twin towers had been flattened until rescuers lifted them to the surface many hours later.

Their story, and those of their families, their rescuers and the three men killed alongside them, is the subject of Mr. Stone's "World Trade Center," (http://movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movies/movie.html?v_id=336150&inline=nyt_ttl) which Paramount plans to release on Aug. 9.

Francois Duhamel/Paramount Pictures
A scene from "World Trade Center," directed by Oliver Stone

The quandary that Paramount executives face is a familiar one now, a few months after Universal's "United 93" (http://movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movies/movie.html?v_id=334030&inline=nyt_ttl) became the first 9/11 movie to enter wide theatrical release: How do you market a movie like this without offending audiences or violating the film's intentions? Carefully of course, but "there's no playbook," said Gerry Rich, Paramount's worldwide marketing chief.

In New York and New Jersey, for example, there will be no billboards or subway signs, which could otherwise hit, quite literally, too close to home. And the studio is running all of its materials by a group of survivors to avoid offending sensibilities.

But Paramount, naturally, wants as wide an audience as possible for this film.
Nicolas Cage (http://movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movies/filmography.html?p_id=10155&inline=nyt-per), who plays the taciturn Sergeant McLoughlin, says the movie is not meant to entertain. "I see it as storytelling which depicts history," he says. "This is what happened. Look at it. 'Yeah, I remember that.' Generation after generation goes by, they'll have 'United 93,' 'World Trade Center,' to recall that history."


Francois Duhamel/Paramount Pictures
Nicolas Cage in a scene from the film.

Whether Mr. Stone set out to make a historical drama or a dramatic history isn't entirely clear. Mr. Jimeno and Mr. McLoughlin, who have both since retired from the Port Authority, say the script and the production took very few liberties except for the sake of time compression.

"We're still nervous," Mr. Jimeno said last fall, after shooting had shifted from New York and New Jersey to an old airplane hangar near Marina del Rey. "It's still Hollywood. But Oliver — it's to the point where he drives me crazy, trying to get things right."

There are many people of course who have been driven a little crazy for other reasons by some of Mr. Stone's more controversial films, "JFK," (http://movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movies/titlelist.html?v_idlist=25643;25653&inline=nyt_ttl) "Natural Born Killers" (http://movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movies/movie.html?v_id=132230&inline=nyt_ttl) and "Nixon" (http://movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movies/movie.html?v_id=135504&inline=nyt_ttl) chief among them. But in several interviews, sounding variously weary, wounded and either self-deprecating or defensive, Mr. Stone spoke as if his days of deliberate provocation were behind him.

"I stopped," he says simply. "I stopped."

His new film, he says, just might go over as well in Kansas as in Boston, or, for that matter, in Paris or Madrid. "This is not a political film," he insists. "The mantra is 'This is not a political film.' Why can't I stay on message for once in a while? Why do I have to take detours all the time?"

Francois Duhamel/Paramount Pictures
"The mantra is 'This is not a political film,' " said Mr. Stone, on the set.

He said he just wants to depict the plain facts of what happened on Sept. 11. "It seems to me that the event was mythologized by both political sides, into something that they used for political gain," he says. "And I think one of the benefits of this movie is that it reminds us of what actually happened that day, in a very realistic sense."

"We show people being killed, and we show people who are not killed, and the fine line that divides them," he continues. "How many men saved those two lives? Hundreds. These guys went into that twisted mass, and it very clearly could've fallen down on them, and struggled all night for hours to get them out."

By contrast Paul Haggis (http://movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movies/filmography.html?p_id=274585&inline=nyt-per) is directing the adaptation of Richard Clarke's (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/c/richard_a_clarke/index.html?inline=nyt-per) book on the causes of 9/11, "Against All Enemies," for the producer John Calley and Columbia Pictures.

Asked if that weren't the kind of film he might once have tried to tackle, Mr. Stone first scoffs: "I couldn't do it. I'd be burned alive." Then he adds: "This is not a political film. That's the mantra they handed me."

Mr. Stone says he particularly owes his producers, Michael Shamberg and Stacy Sher, for taking a chance on him at a time when he had gone cold in Hollywood after a string of commercial and critical disappointments culminating in the epic "Alexander" (http://movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movies/titlelist.html?v_idlist=153699;319786;288641;32074 5&inline=nyt_ttl) in 2004. "They believed in me at a time when other people did not, frankly," he says. " 'Alexander' was cold-turkeyed in this town, I think unfairly, but it was, and I took a hit. Nobody's your friend, nobody wants to talk to you."

Mr. Stone came forward asking to direct "World Trade Center" just about a year ago. He decided it would require a different approach from, say, "JFK." "The Kennedy assassination was 40 years ago, and look at the heat there, a tremendous amount of heat," he says. "I was trying to do my best to give an alternative version of what I thought might have happened, but it wasn't understood. It was taken very literally. 'Platoon,' I went back to a Vietnam that I saw quite literally, but it was a twisted time in our history.

"This — this is a fresh wound, and it had to be cauterized in a certain way. This is a very specific story. The details are the details are the details."

The details that led to the movie's making began in April 2004, when Andrea Berloff, a screenwriter, pitched a story about Mr. Jimeno's and Mr. McLoughlin's "transformation in the hole" to Ms. Sher and Mr. Shamberg. Ms. Berloff, who had no produced credits, was candid about two things:
"I didn't want to see the planes hit the buildings. We've seen enough of that footage forever. It's not adding anything new at this point. I also said I don't know how to end the movie, because there are 10 endings to the story. What happened to John and Will in that hospital could be a movie unto itself. Will flatlined twice, and was still there on Halloween. And John was read his last rites twice."

The producer Debra Hill, who had optioned the rights to the two men's stories, was listening in on the line. When Ms. Berloff was done, she recalls, Ms. Hill said, "I don't want to speak out of turn, but I think we should hire you."

Ms. Berloff and Mr. Shamberg headed to New York to meet with the two officers and their families, and to visit both the Port Authority Bus Terminal, where the men had once patrolled, and ground zero. In long sessions with the Jimenos in Clifton, N.J., and with the McLoughlins in Goshen, N.Y., Ms. Berloff says, she quickly learned that both families, despite the nearly three years that had elapsed, remained emotionally raw. "Within 20 minutes of starting to talk they were losing it," she says. "We all just sat and cried together for a week."

Before leaving, Ms. Berloff says, she felt she had imposed on, exhausted and bonded with the two families so much that she warned them that in all likelihood she would not be around for the making of the movie. "I had to say, 'The writer usually gets fired, so I can't guarantee I'll be there at the end,' " she recalls. "But I'd recorded the whole thing, and I said they shouldn't have to go through this with a bunch of writers. They'd have the transcripts to work from."

Ms. Berloff returned to Los Angeles, stared at her walls for a month, she says, and then wrote a script in five weeks, turning it in two days before her October wedding.

Francois Duhamel/Paramount Pictures
Michael Peña and John McLoughlin, wearing hat, on the set.
Mr. McLoughlin is portrayed in the film by Mr. Cage.

Ms. Hill died of cancer the following March. Mr. Shamberg and Ms. Sher moved ahead, circulating the script to Kevin Huvane at Creative Artists Agency, and to his partners Bryan Lourd and Richard Lovett. Mr. Lourd gave it to Mr. Stone, Mr. Lovett to his client Mr. Cage.

The agency also represents Maria Bello (http://movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movies/filmography.html?p_id=263285&inline=nyt-per), who plays Mr. McLoughlin's wife, Donna, and Maggie Gyllenhaal (http://movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movies/filmography.html?p_id=29409&inline=nyt-per), who plays Alison Jimeno. Ms. Gyllenhaal, who'd just seen "Crash," (http://movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movies/titlelist.html?v_idlist=144336;301205;136350;14112 4;154287;11393;130143;147887&inline=nyt_ttl) suggested Michael Peña, who made a lasting impression in a few scenes as a locksmith with a young daughter. (Mr. Peña did a double-take, he confesses, upon hearing that Mr. Stone was directing a 9/11 movie: "I'm like, let me read it first — just because you're aware of the kind of movies that he does.")

Given the need to shoot exteriors in New York in September, the cast and crew raced to get ready for shooting. The actors aimed for accuracy in different ways. Mr. Cage says he focused on getting Mr. McLoughlin's New York accent right, and spent time in a sense-deprivation tank in Venice, Calif., to get a hint of the fear and claustrophobia one might experience after hours immobile and in pain in the dark. Mr. Peña all but moved in with Mr. Jimeno.

Francois Duhamel/Paramount Pictures
Will Jimeno, with arm extended, and Michael Peña, the actor who portrays him.

Ms. Gyllenhaal had her own problems to solve. That April she had stepped on a third rail, saying on a red carpet at the Tribeca Film Festival that "America has done reprehensible things and is responsible in some way" for 9/11. She apologized publicly, then met privately with the Jimenos, offering to withdraw if they objected to her involvement. "We started to get into politics a little bit, and Will said, 'I don't care what your politics are,' " she recalls.

With Mr. Jimeno and Mr. McLoughlin vouching for the filmmakers, more rescuers asked to be included, meaning not only that dozens of New York uniformed officers would fly to Los Angeles to re-enact the rescue of the two men, but that there were more sources of information to replace Ms. Berloff's best guesses with vivid memories.

Ms. Bello, who had gone to St. Vincent's Hospital on 9/11 with her mother, a nurse, and waited in vain for the expected deluge of injured to arrive, contributed a scene after learning from Donna McLoughlin of a poignant encounter she had had while waiting for her husband to arrive at Bellevue.

Some of the film's most fictitious-seeming moments are authentic. Mr. Jimeno's account of his ordeal included a Castaneda-like vision in which Jesus appeared with a water bottle in hand. But Mr. McLoughlin recalled no hallucinations, or nightmares, or dreams: only thoughts of his family. "He kept saying I'm sorry — 20 years in the job, never gotten hurt, and here we go and I'm not going to be there for you," Ms. Berloff says. "So we tried to dramatize that."

Nearly everything else in the movie is straight out of Mr. Jimeno's and Mr. McLoughlin's now oft-told story: the Promethean hole in the ground, with fireballs and overheated pistol rounds going off at random; the hundreds of rescuers, with a few standouts, like the dissolute paramedic with a lapsed license who redeems himself as he digs to reach Mr. Jimeno.

And the former marine who leaves his job as a suburban accountant, rushes to church, then dons his pressed battle fatigues, stops at a barbershop for a high-and-tight, heads downtown past barricades saying he's needed and winds up tiptoeing through the perilous heap calling out "United States Marines" until Mr. Jimeno hears him and responds. Mr. Stone says he is adding a note at the end of the film, revealing that the marine, David Karnes, re-enlisted and served two tours of duty in Iraq, because test audiences believed he was a Hollywood invention.

Reality can be just as gushingly sentimental as the sappiest movie, Mr. Stone acknowledges, especially when the storytellers are uniformed officers in New York who lived through 9/11. And particularly when it comes to Mr. Jimeno and Mr. McLoughlin, who have struggled with the awkwardness of being singled out as heroes when so many others died similarly doing their duty, and when so many more rescued them.

"You could argue the guys don't do much, they get pinned, so what," Mr. Stone says. "There will be those type of people. I say there is heroism. Here you see this image of these poor men approaching the tower, with no equipment, just their bodies, and they don't know what the hell they're doing, and they're going up into this inferno, they're like babies. You feel saddened, you feel sorry for them. They don't have a chance."

Mr. Cage says he once mentioned to Mr. Stone that their audience had lived through 9/11: "That it's not like 'Platoon,' where most of us don't know what it's like to be in the jungle."

"He said, 'Well what's your point?' " Mr. Cage says. "And my point is that we all walk into buildings every day, and we were there, and we saw it on TV, so this is going to be very cathartic and a little bit hard for people."

Despite its fireballs, shudders and booms, Mr. Stone's film is also unusually delicate, from the shadowy intimacy of the officers' early-morning awakenings to the solemnity of their ride downtown in a commandeered city bus, to the struggle of their wives to cope with hours of uncertainty and then with false reports of their husbands' safety.

"It's not about the World Trade Center, really. It's about any man or woman faced with the end of their lives, and how they survive," Mr. Stone says. "I did it for a reason. I did it because emotionally it hit me. I loved the simplicity and modesty of this movie.

"I hope the movie does well," he adds, "even if they say 'in spite of Oliver Stone.' "

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

July 8th, 2006, 02:22 AM
Am I the only one that still has trouble watching the videos of the towers falling. I literally get nauseous seeing it. I don't think falls into the category of entertainment. But, then again, Wayne Newton is considered entertainment and if that ain't terrorism...

July 29th, 2006, 09:20 PM
Some 9/11 conspiracy theorists
to boycott Oliver Stone film

Raw Story (http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/911_conspiracy_theorists_to_boycott_Oliver_0728.ht ml)
July 28, 2006

Some 9/11 conspiracy theorists are targeting director Oliver Stone's new film, due to what they are calling "its non-conspiratorial viewpoint," according to a release circulating on the web, while others seek ways to inform the anticipated opening day crowds.

"This is not a political film," Stone said flatly in an interview with Dateline NBC. The director had previously become well known for the conspiratorial viewpoints presented in the films JFK and Nixon. The film is centered around two port authority workers, the last survivors to be pulled from the rubble.

"Was Stone used by the Illuminati as an unknowing pawn," reads the release, "to whitewash the 9/11 conspiracy theories to the masses? Was he approached with the project and coerced into a commitment to occupy his time in attempts to thwart any other 9/11 angle from being used? Is Stone a pawn in the game? Perhaps Stone didn't know at the time, and found out too late."

The effort appears to be lead by one John Conner (sometimes spelled Connor,) who claims that he and others in a Christian branch of the 9/11 Truth Movement plan to distribute DVDs of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' film Terror Storm outside of theaters showing the Stone film. RAW STORY (http://rawstory.com/) discovered photographs purportedly of Mr. Conner with Jones while attempting to verify Conner's existence.

"When I first heard that Oliver Stone was directing a film about 9/11, I was overjoyed. I thought that Oliver Stone would blow the lid off the 9/11 inside job," Explains Conner, who claims in the release to be the author of The Resistance Manifesto.

The book's website (http://theresistencemanifesto.com/) describes its subject matter thusly:
"The September 11th Inside Job, Skull and Bones, Bohemian Grove, The Georgia Guidestones, Satanism, Terminators, The Illuminati, Freemasonry, The mark of the Beast, U.S. Concentration Camps, the Mormon Church, Catholic Pedophile Priests, FEMA, PATRIOT Act, Mind Control, Underground Bases and Tunnels, Our Right to Bear Arms, The New World Order, CFR, Bilderberg Group, Trilateral Commission, Project for a New American Century, Rosicrucians, Washington D.C.'s Satanic Symbols, Deism, Echelon, Carnivore, Animal Human Hybrids, Hybrid, Computers/Biocomputers, Neural Interfaces, Biometrics, and much more as a dark web of evil is exposed like never before, making Bible Prophecy and the New World Order crystal clear."He also claims to be "most well known" for calling for a Christian boycott of singer Jessica Simpson, who Connor characterized (http://gabsmash.blogspot.com/2005/06/christian-group-says-jessica-is-slut.html) as a "singing stripper," "whore," and "slut," the latter of which is repeated once again in the 9/11 release.

Not everyone who questions the official story about 9/11 agrees with the boycott.

"Oliver Stone himself said that this is not a political movie," writes RAW STORY (http://rawstory.com/) commenter Smelly Tuna. "Period. I will go and see it, but not for whether or not there are tidbits of 9/11 truth thrown in there or not."

"It's a ****ing MOVIE!" adds Smelly Tuna. "If it were being released as a documentary and there was nothing about Norad standing down, or the molten metal caused bye thermite found in the rubble, or the pyroclastic flow of the dust clouds and debris following the reported secondary explosions, THEN I'D BE MAD... THEN, I'D CONSIDER BOYCOTTING IT. But this is not a documentary."

"Handing out flyers and CD's that speak the truth about what really happened on that day and the days leading up to it is a GREAT IDEA though," he agrees.

David Slesinger from 911Courage (http://911courage.org/) is calling for non-violent civil disobedience demonstrations in August when Stone's film opens. Volunteers are being sought to pass out leaflets which request "the Editor in Chief of some large local daily paper to promise readers he/she will either investigate the hard questions about 9/11 or else resign."

"If we successfully invite calm, orderly, nonviolent civil disobedience arrests in 24 states on the same day, we will set an all-time record for such coordinated protests that will be hard for the media to ignore," Slesinger writes at his Website. "The action we propose is simple, safe and civilized, just flyer a suburban mall theater where it is prohibited when Oliver Stone's movie opens in August."

"Stone's personal plot perspective is not important," Slesinger continues. "The crucial point is that the audiences will be large and care about the issue, and the opening day hype will draw lots of media cameras to record our gesture and perhaps our comments, too."

Volunteers who don't wish to face arrest are also being sought to assist with "leafleting at theaters which allow it."

In related news, on Saturday evening, C-SPAN (http://inside.c-spanarchives.org:8080/cspan/fullschedule.csp?timeid=212020918584) will be broadcasting video from the "American Scholars Symposium: 9/11 and The Neo-Con Agenda," a conference held recently in Los Angeles which featured some members from Scholars for 9/11 Truth and other panelists.

July 29th, 2006, 09:24 PM
This is on the air NOW -- Channel 70 on TimeWarner Manhattan cable (Trading Spaces just doesn't do it for me anymore) ...

I'll give them about 10 minutes.

In related news, on Saturday evening, C-SPAN (http://inside.c-spanarchives.org:8080/cspan/fullschedule.csp?timeid=212020918584) will be broadcasting video from the "American Scholars Symposium: 9/11 and The Neo-Con Agenda," a conference held recently in Los Angeles which featured some members from Scholars for 9/11 Truth and other panelists.

www.infowars.com (http://www.infowars.com)

July 29th, 2006, 09:49 PM
::sighs:: I saw the show, and it's just a bunch of angry ultra-leftwing liberals, whinning about the "truth" behind 9-11. I for one, don't belive at all the government will plan and carry out attacks such as this. However, I do believe that the government was alseep on the threat of a terrorist attack on this country.

July 30th, 2006, 08:57 AM
I still remember all the videos I saw about the towers falling... believe me... that images made me feel so bad because I thought about all the people inside, about their fear, their families... I cried and praied so much for them... I don't know if we'll have all the truth behind the 9/11 ... but, please, no speculation on victim's privacy and dignity!

July 30th, 2006, 02:47 PM
I saw the show, and it's just a bunch of angry ultra-leftwing liberals, whinning about the "truth" behind 9-11.

Kind of like a bunch FOX News rejects ... how sorry is that?

I lasted about 10 minutes ...

The whole "Shadow Government that took over the USA on 9/11" thing is pretty darned vague.

Maybe I missed it, but I didn't ever hear any of the speakers offer up any names as to who the actual people are who run the "Shadow Government" (as they claim that the "SG" has Bush, Cheney, et al under their thumb based upon the threat of lobbing nukes here and there if they don't do the SG's bidding).

July 30th, 2006, 04:46 PM
Kind of like a bunch FOX News rejects ... how sorry is that?

I lasted about 10 minutes ...

The whole "Shadow Government that took over the USA on 9/11" thing is pretty darned vague.

Maybe I missed it, but I didn't ever hear any of the speakers offer up any names as to who the actual people are who run the "Shadow Government" (as they claim that the "SG" has Bush, Cheney, et al under their thumb based upon the threat of lobbing nukes here and there if they don't do the SG's bidding).

So true. Who are these people that "run" this ultra shadow government? Why don't we have any names? This is something that I've always wonder.

July 30th, 2006, 08:07 PM
That's a quality that is almost always present among conspiracy theories. The people who think them up have already convinced themselves that they believe; the rest of it is the long and tedious sifting to distinguish the "truth" from the "real truth." Then, when they can't clearly prove a connection between a person and an event, they provide the excuse that the secret is just too well hidden, that the opposition has greater resources, etc.

I once read a book called "Them." The author was exhausted and somewhat intrigued after years of listening to conspiracy theorists, and decided to go on his own worldwide hunt to expose the truth. At the core of the hunt was the Bilderberg Group - a supposed assemblage of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the world, who meet every now and then to discuss how their plans to control the universe are coming along. They've been accused of everything from setting up the Cold War to engineering the Great Depression. Basically, nothing significant that happens in the world isn't somehow influenced by their collective will.

I won't tell you how the book ends, because that would spoil the fun. But let's just say, the author ended up asking himself (and his audience) a lot of questions, and ultimately found very few answers.

July 30th, 2006, 08:29 PM
Thanks for the heads-up ^^

You just save me the trouble of reading a book that I'd end up throwing across the room after I turned the last page ;)

July 30th, 2006, 08:46 PM
I'd still recommend it because it was suspenseful, in its own way, and entertaining. Besides, there's nothing wrong with trying to get yourself to think, no matter what the topic and conclusion is.

July 30th, 2006, 08:48 PM
But if an author cheeses out in the end then I'll pass

August 9th, 2006, 09:29 AM
New York Times
August 9, 2006

Pinned Under the Weight of 9/11 History


Nicolas Cage as John McLoughlin, a real-life Port Authority policeman whose struggle to survive the collapse of the twin towers is recreated in “World Trade Center.”

Working amid the ruins at ground zero in “World Trade Center.”

How will Hollywood respond? This question began to surface not long after the Sept. 11 attacks — shockingly soon after, if memory serves.

It was impossible to banish the thought, even in the midst of that day’s horror and confusion, that the attacks themselves represented a movie scenario made grotesquely literal. What other frame of reference did we have for burning skyscrapers and commandeered airplanes? And then our eyes and minds were so quickly saturated with the actual, endlessly replayed images — the second plane’s impact; the plumes of smoke coming from the tops of the twin towers; the panicked citizens covered in ash — that the very notion of a cinematic reconstruction seemed worse than redundant. Nobody needed to be told that this was not a movie. And at the same time nobody could doubt that, someday, it would be.

And now, as the fifth anniversary approaches, it is. For a while a lot of movies seemed to deal with 9/11 obliquely or allegorically. But Paul Greengrass’s “United 93” and Oliver Stone’s “World Trade Center,” rather than digging for meanings and metaphors, represent a return to the literal.

Both films revisit the immediate experience of Sept. 11, staking out a narrow perspective and filling it with maximum detail. Mr. Stone, much of whose film takes place at ground zero, does not share Mr. Greengrass’s clinical, quasi-documentary aesthetic. His sensibility is one of visual grandeur, sweeping emotion and heightened, sometimes overwrought, drama.

There are many words a critic might use to describe Mr. Stone’s films — maddening, brilliant, irresponsible, provocative, long — but subtle is unlikely to be on the list. Which makes him the right man for the job, since there was nothing subtle about the emotions of 9/11. Later there would be complications, nuances, gray areas, as the event and its aftermath were inevitably pulled into the murky, angry swirl of American politics. But that is territory Mr. Stone, somewhat uncharacteristically, avoids.

“World Trade Center” is only the second film, after “U Turn,” that he has directed entirely from someone else’s script, and Andrea Berloff’s screenplay, her first to be produced, imposes a salutary discipline on some of the director’s wilder impulses. The unruly intellectual ambitions that animate both Mr. Stone’s most vigorous work — “Platoon,” “Wall Street,” “J.F.K.” — and his woolliest — “Alexander,” “Natural Born Killers” — may be held in check here, but the sober carefulness of this project nonetheless highlights some of his strengths as a filmmaker.

There is really no other American director who can move so swiftly and emphatically from intimate to epic scale, saturating even quiet moments with fierce emotion. He edits like a maestro conducting Beethoven, coaxing images and sequences into a state of agitated eloquence.

Ms. Berloff’s script is composed in the key of strong, simple feeling, and brought to life with vivid clarity by Seamus McGarvey’s cinematography. “World Trade Center” is, from the first frame to last, almost unbearably moving. It could hardly be otherwise, given the facts of the story and the memories it will stir up.

The movie concentrates on two Port Authority police officers, John McLoughlin and Will Jimeno, who were trapped deep in the rubble of the collapsed towers, where they had gone to help with the evacuation after the first plane hit. Starting before dawn on Sept. 11 and covering roughly the next 24 hours, the narrative switches back and forth from the men to their families, in particular the wives, who spend agonized hours waiting for news of their husbands’ fates.

Sergeant McLoughlin, played by Nicolas Cage, has a quiet, watchful air. A veteran of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, he rushes into the breach on 9/11 knowing that no adequate plan exists to deal with a catastrophe of this magnitude. Jimeno (Michael Peña), a rookie, is eager and a little anxious; his face registers his desire to prove himself on the job and also distinct shadings of fear — both the worry that he’ll mess up and, as the hours go by, a much deeper terror.

Pinned under tons of smashed masonry and twisted metal, they keep talking to each other to keep despair and sleep at bay, and you get the sense that it’s their first real conversation, an exchange of commonplaces in the face of death. McLoughlin and his wife, Donna (Maria Bello), have four children; Jimeno and his wife, Allison (Maggie Gyllenhaal), are expecting their second, and as the two men talk, the banalities of domestic life take on an almost sacred cast.

In an Oliver Stone film actors are well advised to bring their own nuances, and the delicacy and insight of the performances in “World Trade Center” complement the director’s bold brushstrokes. Ms. Bello reveals Donna’s toughness without overstating it, while Ms. Gyllenhaal suggests a complicated, prickly personality underneath the panic and grief.

Mr. Cage turns all his intensity inward, playing a man who can be a little self-conscious about his own reticence. (“People don’t like me because I don’t smile a lot,” he says.) He looks older and more worn than he has in other films, and he wears his character’s tired stoicism like an old shirt.

Mr. Peña, who played the good-hearted locksmith in “Crash,” is friendlier and jumpier; Jimeno slips naturally into the role of McLoughlin’s talkative kid brother. the temperamental contrast between the two actors keeps the movie going through its long, difficult middle stretch.

Both the officers and their wives spend most of “World Trade Center” in different states of paralysis. The men are physically immobilized, while the women, surrounded by well-meaning friends and family, can neither help their husbands nor learn for sure what has happened to them. And so they sit stricken, by the telephone or in front of the television, as a maelstrom of hectic activity engulfs New York and its environs.

It is this combination of frantic action with stunned, shocked impotence that “World Trade Center” most effectively reproduces. The details are all in place — the office paper falling like snow; the voices of Tom Brokaw and Aaron Brown extemporizing a collective interpretation of something no one could have imagined; the briefly glimpsed faces of George W. Bush and Rudolph W. Giuliani projecting leadership from the television screen — but the point of the movie is not so much to construct a visual replica as to immerse you, once again, in shock, terror, rage and sorrow. And also in the solidarity and concern — the love — that were part of 9/11.

The movie is not only about the victims of the attack and their families, but also about their rescuers, notably David Karnes (Michael Shannon), who leaves his office job in Connecticut, puts on his Marine Corps uniform and slips into ground zero to search for survivors. Karnes is the only character in the film who looks past the smoke and suffering and articulates a desire for revenge.

But Mr. Stone and Ms. Berloff, like Mr. Greengrass, keep their distance from post- — or, for that matter, pre- — 9/11 politics. The two men buried under the Trade Center don’t even know what brought it down, and everyone else is much too busy to begin learning the exotic vocabulary we would all eventually acquire. This movie has nothing to say about Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda or jihad. That comes later.

In the Sept. 11 of “World Trade Center,” feeling transcends politics, and the film’s astonishingly faithful re-creation of the emotional reality of the day produces a curious kind of nostalgia. It’s not that anyone would wish to live through such agony again, but rather that the extraordinary upsurge of fellow feeling that the attacks produced seems precious. And also very distant from the present. Mr. Stone has taken a public tragedy and turned it into something at once genuinely stirring and terribly sad. His film offers both a harrowing return to a singular, disastrous episode in the recent past and a refuge from the ugly, depressing realities of its aftermath.

“World Trade Center” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). It has scenes of extreme, upsetting violence, most of which reproduce images that were originally seen on television during daylight hours.


Opens today nationwide.

Directed by Oliver Stone; written by Andrea Berloff, based on the true stories of John and Donna McLoughlin and William and Allison Jimeno; director of photography, Seamus McGarvey; edited by David Brenner and Julie Monroe; music by Craig Armstrong; production designer, Jan Roelfs; produced by Michael Shamberg, Stacey Sher, Moritz Borman and Debra Hill; released by Paramount Pictures. Running time: 129 minutes.

WITH: Nicolas Cage (John McLoughlin), Michael Peña (Will Jimeno), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Allison Jimeno), Maria Bello (Donna McLoughlin), Stephen Dorff (Scott Strauss), Jay Hernandez (Dominick Pezzulo) and Michael Shannon (Dane Karnes).

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

August 10th, 2006, 12:12 AM
I just got back from seeing this movie, and I dunno what to think of it. It was very sad, and heart filled. But im not sure if I liked the movie or not. The acting wasn't really up to pare with what it could have been. They didn't show a lot of things I wanted to see, but it was done in good taste I think. Right now i'd give the movie a 7 or 8 but I think i'd have to think about it a little harder. Mind you this is coming froms omeone not from NYC, or not knowing anyone in the acttack, just a fellow NYC lover, and person who lived on September 11th. So that's my .02 cents, and there's not much. Just thought i'd say It wasn't total garbage, but it wasn't what I was wanting either.

August 10th, 2006, 12:48 AM
I sadly agree ^^

Ultimately I was disappointed by the film as a whole, even though it can't help but rip your heart out more than a few times.

A number of anachronisms at the beginning really jumped out -- especially shots of buildings that hadn't yet been built in 2001 (one at 9th Ave. / W. 15th in particular). And as a NYer I kept getting pulled out of the story by city scenes that weren't shot on the streets downtown.

All in all I think the film is a very honorable effort on everyone's part -- and does convey effectively some of the more personal horrors of that day.

Expecting more from it might be asking too much.