I have nothing against diamonds, or rubies or emeralds or sapphires. I do object when their acquisition is complicit in the debasement of children or the destruction of a country.
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To me this movie is about what is valuable. To one person it might be a stone; to someone else, a story in a magazine; to another, it is a child. The juxtaposition of one man obsessed with finding a valuable diamond with another man risking his life to find his son is the beating heart of this film.
There is no reason why challenging themes and engaging stories have to be mutually exclusive - in fact, each can fuel the other. As a filmmaker, I want to entertain people first and foremost. If out of that comes a greater awareness and understanding of a time or a circumstance, then the hope is that change can happen.
It seems that almost every time a valuable natural resource is discovered in the world-whether it be diamonds, rubber, gold, oil, whatever-often what results is a tragedy for the country in which they are found. Making matters worse, the resulting riches from these resources rarely benefit the people of the country from which they come.
I think every culture - you can call it an American Ronin, a medieval knight errant, you could talk about 'Shane.' There is an archetype that I think is actually common to a lot of cultures, and even the Clint Eastwood stuff was probably as influenced by the Japanese stuff, and yet done by an Italian.
I think it's too easy often to find a villain out of the headlines and to then repeat that villainy again and again and again. You know, traditionally, America has always looked to scapegoat someone as the boogie man... there is a tradition in the most simplistic of action movies for there to be some horrible villain.
I've done all sorts of different kinds of action. We did a thing in 'Blood Diamond,' the attack on Freetown, where I carefully staged the action but did not show the camera operators what we were going to film - so it has the feel of documentary, trying to capture something, and that gave it a whole different feel.