Agora director Alejandro Amenábar appeared at today's press conference for the film, alongside stars Rachel Weisz, Oscar Isaac, and Max Minghella, as well as producer Fernando Bovaira. Highlights follow.
On how up-to-date this historical epic seems:
Alejandro Amenábar : "From the writing point of view, once we started researching, we realized that this particular time and world had a lot of connections with our contemporary reality. We realized that in making a movie about the past, we were actually making a movie about the present."
Rachel Weisz : "We both felt very strongly that the acting style shouldn't be declamatory. We didn't want people to be behaving, like, 'I am in a toga…', They're human beings – they just happen to be living in the 4th century. So we wanted them to be flesh and blood, and just very, very natural."
Rachel Weisz on sexism:
"Recently, I was looking through some e-mails that Alejandro and I had, before we started the film. And I was noticing that I said to him, 'Can't she just kiss Davus, maybe once?' Alejandro was very strong about it, he just said, 'This is a person who is completely devoted and passionate about her work. There have been so many stories told about men who were obsessionally into their work, and no one would ever say, 'Well, hold on, why doesn't he get married?' It was fascinating to me to see how my own sexism came up, if you like."
Alejandro Amenábar on falling empires:
"I think the United States today is the Roman Empire. We can tell now more than ever that we are in some kind of crisis: a cultural crisis, an economic crisis. So these are changing times. Since I'm an optimist by nature, I don't think we'll go back to something like the Middle Ages."