Fernando Meirelles’s “360” tells a complex story of interweaving characters and plots, but what makes the tale so unique is that the connection between all the characters is sex. The intimate encounters of the film bring together an impressive ensemble that includes Anthony Hopkins, Rachel Weisz, Jude Law and Ben Foster.
In “360,” Foster plays Tyler, a sex offender who was recently released from prison. The events of the film find Tyler in an airport and chronicle his encounter with a young woman played by Maria Flor. Foster talks about all of that and more in the exclusive interview below, all part of our continuing Summer Movie Preview week.
MTV News: How is it different for you as an actor to have a smaller role in a much larger, global film?
Ben Foster: The very nature of the structure of this film is that it’s a world of supporting players. Thematically, it poses the question “Do we all affect each other?” As an actor coming in, it’s fast. We’re all in for a few days, and then we’re out. It’s different because there are no leads in the film.
MTV News: Tell me a bit more about your character, a recently paroled sex offender.
Foster: He’s someone who’s just trying to do the right thing. It’s not that a sexual predator is released and he’s just looking for his next prey. A theme of the movie is how we’re always challenged with our primitive urges, in conflict with what we think is the right thing. I don’t see him as a sex offender. This is a guy who did something that’s criminal and, from my side, I was certainly in the corner that anyone who is a sex offender should be shot. Having the opportunity to spend time with the character and watching the tapes, these men and women who have committed the worst unforgivable crimes, you have to start somewhere. Looking into the face of evil and finding humanity is the greatest goal of an actor.
MTV News: How do you approach a character like that, one who is inherently unsympathetic?
Foster: In front of the camera, one isn’t necessarily going for sympathy. From my own approach, so many of them have been victimized. How did they get there? It doesn’t make what they did right and they should be punished. Everyone knows someone who has been victimized. The reason this man is in the airport is that he’s on his way to a halfway house by his own volition.
MTV News: “360” is about people’s connections with everyone on the globe. Those connections in the film are all sexual. What idea about sex does “360” put forward?
Foster: We all have urges. We all have fantasy lives. We all feel at some point undervalued by a lover or perhaps we undervalue our partner, be a mundane existence in a tired marriage or young love that has run off the fumes of early honeymoon romance. Straying happens. Desire exists. Sex is the mechanism for intimacy. We feel less lonely in the world. The film poses the questions from across the globe in a broad sweep. How do we feel less lonely in the world? Is it an affair? Is it addiction? I don’t believe the film gives answers so much as it asks questions.
MTV News: The director, Fernando Meirelles, is known for his global films. What was it like working on set with him?
Foster: I couldn’t speak higher of a director. He has an incredible eye. He is a family man. He’s interested. It was a joyous set. I would work with Fernando on a puppet show. He’s just the best.
MTV News: How did it feel knowing you were a part of such a revered ensemble?
Foster: It’s an honor to play with these people, truly an honor. Watching Sir Anthony Hopkins work, there’s a scene at the end of the picture at an AA meeting that is truly a masterclass.
Tell us what you think of Foster’s thoughts on “360” in the comments section or hit us up on Twitter!