Steven Soderbergh's Che Guevara Based Double Feature
by Alex Billington
October 31, 2006
I have a certain affinity for Steven Soderbergh after Traffic, Solaris, and Ocean's 11, however he's had some interesting flicks, like Bubble. But the latest news, as reported by Variety, is that he's taking on two back-to-back biopics about the Latin American revolutionary Che Guevara. Apparently this has been a project for Soderbergh for quite some time, it's just taken a while to finally get going.
The films will star Benicio Del Toro as Che Guevara with Javier Bardem, Franka Potente and Benjamin Bratt as well. The films are going to be filmed back-to-back and will begin production in Mexico and South America next May. The combined budget for both films is under $70 million, still a fairly reasonable amount allowing for hopefully substantially amazing films. Another great point is that these films will not overlap with the previous The Motorcycle Diaries, but rather continue on after that story. Variety describes the two films as the following:
First film, "The Argentine," begins as Che and a band of Cuban exiles (led by Fidel Castro) reach the Cuban shore from Mexico in 1956. Within two years, they mobilized popular support and an army and toppled the U.S.-friendly regime of dictator Fulgencio Batista.
The second film, "Guerrilla," begins with Che's trip to New York, where he spoke at the United Nations in 1964 and was celebrated in society circles. Soderbergh has already shot that opening footage with Del Toro and Julia Ormond, who plays TV journo Lisa Howard. Journalist acted as an informal intermediary between the Kennedy White House and Cuba.
I'm looking forward to seeing what Soderbergh does with this and what he can create. Che Guevara will live on forever, so that's not where a problem may arise. Definitely will keep following this as it all develops!