“Gossip Girl” and “Green Lantern” sensation Blake Lively stars as Ophelia, an extraordinary beauty who shares an unconventional relationship with two men, in director Oliver Stone's unpredictable thriller “Savages.”
Also starring Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, John Travolta, Benecio del Toro, Salma Hayek, Emile Hirsch and Demian Bichir, “Savages” is shown exclusively at Ayala Malls Cinemas starting Feb. 20. Moviegoers can catch it at Glorietta 4, Greenbelt 3, Trinoma, Alabang Town Center and Market! Market!
In the film, Laguna Beach entrepreneurs Ben (Johnson), a peaceful and charitable Buddhist, and his closest friend Chon (Kitsch), a former Navy SEAL and ex-mercenary, run a lucrative, homegrown industry—raising some of the best marijuana ever developed. They also share a one-of-a-kind love with Ophelia, or simply, O (Lively). Life is idyllic in their Southern California town...until the Mexican Baja Cartel decides to move in and demands that the trio partners with them. And so begins a series of increasingly vicious ploys and maneuvers in a high stakes, savage battle of wills.
Lively plays the beautiful, warmhearted O—a free spirit who, when kidnapped, proves to have just as much grit and fortitude as the Baja Cartel. About his choice for the part, Stone commends: "Blake's an impressive actress. She was only 23. She had a lot of input into her character and is fearless. Blake has to appear in the movie often in an unflattering light, and she never flinched."
Lively becomes the voice of “Savages,” as O narrates the tale, and Stone used the voiceover technique as efficiently and specifically as possible. The director explains: "The idea of O narrating the movie grew naturally from the book, where she tells the story to the reader. But a voiceover in a film can potentially sap it of its tension by making it overly self-conscious. Insofar as the book has more than a hundred scenes and many characters, far more than we can afford in a movie, we worked to minimize the information and still use the voiceover to connect the dots."
For her part, Lively liked the fact that "O is the one thread that ties everyone together." Indeed, she interacts in multiple scenes with most of the other actors and had to run the gamut as a performer, and calls the shoot "intense, tumultuous and challenging." Says the actress: "It was amazing because I got to exist in each character's world, from this privileged life with the boys in Laguna to being tortured and in cages and being shipped off to Tijuana. It was a challenge to experience so much in a film on so many different levels—from ultimate happiness to ultimate pain."
The Southern California native was fascinated by the story's take on a nontraditional family and how three people could love each other that much. Lively offers that she treated O's story with respect and care: "One of the main reasons that I felt that Ben, Chon and O were together is that they were each other's family. They were each other's everything. None of them had real families. They did not have anyone to learn from, no one who was there for them through thick and thin. And they found that in each other."
Lively was named Breakthrough Performer of the Year at CinemaCon 2011. She most recently starred opposite Ryan Reynolds in “Green Lantern.” Prior to that, she starred alongside Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner and Ben Affleck in “The Town,” which Affleck also directed.