Animal Harm: PIG
By Hendrike Bake
[Image of article here.]
Hendrike Bake was strategically positioned at this year’s Berlin Film Festival to catch actor Cillian Murphy’s reactions to his first viewing of Disco Pigs.
HB: Was it the first time yesterday, that you saw Disco Pigs on the big screen?
CM: First time ever. It was just very strange. I found it quite moving, you know. I'd done it on the stage, so it was a big investment for me emotionally to see the transition. It was a big deal.
HB: Are you afraid of a comparison between film and play?
CM: No. I think it's very true to the play, but it's different. Some plays, when they're actually transposed to film can look quite stagey and quite one-dimensional, whereas I don't think that Disco Pigs film does. For myself, I tried to have a more contained performance, because the performance on stage is quite physical and quite a large performance. There are only two of us on stage and there's no real set. For the film it had to be more controlled.
HB: I heard that you had about seven weeks to film it. Was that plenty?
CM: I think it was adequate. It was a very intense seven weeks. Because it's all highly powered stuff that you're doing. It went quickly. Maybe Kirsten would have liked more time but I think we did ok, you know. It was draining but at the same time exhilarating. We stuck very much to the shooting script. A couple of scenes got cut, but ...
HB: Did you have much input?
CM: No. I mean, originally with the stage play, we workshopped a lot. So I would have had an input at that point. In the film, maybe in terms of the dialect, because I am from Cork. But the film script was just so concise and brilliantly written.
HB: To you, is it a love story?
CM: Yes, absolutely. I mean it's a warped kind of love story and things go wrong, especially on Pig's part, things go very bad. But it is ultimately a love story. I think, if audiences are with the film, they will go: "Let it work out, let them end up together." But the reality of it is that they can't, it's an unhealthy relationship. It's better that Pig dies, because he knows that he can't exist without Runt and is just going to fuck everything up if they are together, so he acquiesces in his own death. I mean, he knows, this has to happen. If it'd been a Hollywood movie, maybe they would have walked off hand in hand into the sunset. I don't know. Pig is too damaged to be free.
HB: Would you say that there is anything specifically Irish about the film?
CM: I think it's only geographically Irish, set in Cork. There are a couple of cultural references, like the IRA pub they're going to, specific to Ireland. That's why I think it's been well received in Berlin and in Germany. It's not tied to Ireland. It could be anywhere, you know.
HB: It's a very strong plot.
CM: It's so simple. The problem is, if you try and intellectualise it, it becomes complicated, it's a very simple story. He loves her, she loves him but she's the ability to go on and live a normal live with other people. He just can't.
HB: I found there were two sides in the movie: Pig and Runt's world, and then reality. In the disco scenes for example, the two don't seem to belong to the here and now.
CM: I think Pig and Runt could exist. They don't really fit into society and don't really fit into groups or labels. They're just floating along in their own little world. It's weird that Pig picks up on this Kinks song, "You Really Got Me." They dip into culture and take things. They're totally removed and displaced from their culture and from their time. There was no correlation between them and society. They take what they need: we can use this song, this dress, we are using it for us.
HB: Are their games about sexuality?
CM: You know that speech that he has in the bedroom? It's basically a sexual fantasy that he has about Runt, because he wants to bring their relationship onto a new level, onto a sexual level and she doesn't. That's why he's fucked up. And that messes everything up. Seventeen years he has given to this and not it's all slipping. It's sad. It still makes me cry when I see it. It's really sad.