The recent Inception character featurette was quite enough to get a grasp on the characters of the film, but now we have some more input about their relevance to the plot. On the other hand, the photos don’t reveal much, but do shed more light on what is sure to be Oscar-nominated art direction.
If you are (somehow) still uninitiated and want to remain that way, I suggest you stay away from the following character descriptions. They definitely have some MAJOR SPOILERS, but there is no doubt the movie has plenty of tricks up its sleeve.
Christopher Nolan and Leonardo DiCaprio describe the details of Inception‘s main character, Cobb. He’s been referred to as the emotional core of the film, as well as the main protagonist:
“At the beginning of the film we learn that Cobb is the best extractor in the game. He is hired by corporations to steal secrets they would otherwise never have access to. It’s all based on the persistence of an idea, the notion that any concept will stay fixed in the subconscious. It’s impossible to unlearn something, and that forms the basis for what an extractor is able to do in terms of retrieving information.”
“From the start, we know he is a man with a past that makes it impossible for him to go back to America. But his kids are there and that motivates him more than anything else. He’s willing to take any risk in his work if it means he can get home to what he loves most.”
The trailers have been slow to unveil Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character. He is still as mysterious as the film itself, but the following discussion smooths out the edges. Many believe he may be a part of the third act twist, while others think he is the key to DiCaprio’s success in the film – I side with the former:
“Arthur is the organized one, the one making sure everything is in its right place. The way I see it, Cobb is the artist and Arthur is the producer. He’s the one saying, ‘Okay, you have your vision; now I’m going to figure out how to make all the nuts and bolts work so you can do your thing.’ But as fastidious and professional as he is, Arthur didn’t want to apply his organizational skills to being a lawyer or doctor or any of the things he could have been because sharing dreams is fascinating. It’s not just a job for him. I think the technology of dream sharing is something that has inspired him since he first heard about it so, ultimately, it’s not the money he’s doing it for. He wouldn’t risk his life for a good paycheck. He loves it.”
Ellen Page’s character, Ariadne, shares a name with a member of Greek mythology. It should not go unmentioned because Ariadne is famous for helping Theseus to defeat the Minotaur, who was also her half-brother. In this case, DiCaprio’s Cobb would be Theseus and his recruitment of her to help invade the mind of the villain would equate to the mythology. But if the twist of Inception is that she is related to the villain, that would make for quite the eye-opener.
Nolan has referred to Ariadne as the “conduit” for the audience. He created her specifically to help the audience enter the world of Inception with the same fresh eyes as Ariadne does:
“[What Cobb offers] isn’t necessarily legal, but she is propelled by an intellectual curiosity that makes her unable to pull herself away from such a unique opportunity.”
“When Cobb brings Ariadne into his world, so to speak, she immediately displays a natural ability to think outside the box and broaden her mind enough to facilitate what he’s trying to accomplish. She ends up becoming even more involved in the job as she discovers what’s really going on with Cobb and learns about things he can’t control. But, despite the fears that arise, she wants to try and help him in order for the team to succeed.”
Now, this character description is one that actually made my jaw drop. Inception is going to utilize the amazing ability of Tom Hardy’s Eames to trick the audience at least once. This is a MAJOR SPOILER, so be warned:
“In the dream world, Eames can project the image of anyone, so he’s actually forging an identity in a physical manifestation and can convince another person that he’s whomever the team needs him to be in order to aid their deception. What’s especially interesting for me about these characters is the idea of the antihero, the fact that what they are doing could be considered dishonorable, but you still root for them. That’s nice because it’s not just black and white; we have a lot of gray area to play in.”
“There is a fun dynamic between Eames and Arthur in the movie. Clearly, they have a rivalry that dates back before our story begins, but they also have a grudging admiration, even if they’d never admit it. They are a pretty funny duo to watch as the heist unfolds.”
The mesmerizing beauty of Marion Cotillard will be a bit darker in Inception. It has been the assumption of many that she is killed early in the film and the recent character featurette suggested such a theory. But her description here is minimal and still keeps her role a mystery:
“Mal is a tricky one to describe because she is a mix of so many things. But maybe it’s the kind of thing you don’t describe because different people can have different interpretations.”
“Mal is the essence of the femme fatale.”
Until now, the “Tourist” label of Ken Watanabe’s character, Saito, has been a guessing game. In the following description, it is directly explained and presents plenty of theories about his role as either the good guy or bad guy. Nolan has mentioned Watanabe’s role is vital to the film and is featured almost as much as DiCaprio’s character:
“Ken Watanabe portrays the role of Saito, a rich and powerful business magnate, who offers Cobb a very special job with a promise of payment more valuable than money. Simply put, if Cobb can give Saito what he wants, Saito will get Cobb home. There is only one condition: Saito wants to accompany Cobb’s team on the job to be sure he gets what he’s paying for.”
“We refer to him as ‘the tourist’ because he has no expertise, but uses his financial influence to join the group.”
“At first, it’s only a business relationship, but as the story continues, Saito and Cobb develop an understanding and a respect. They need each other.”
Cillian Murphy’s character, Robert Fischer, has been more prevalent in recent trailers and featurettes. His role as “The Mark” tells the audience he is the film’s main target for Cobb’s team. But as the son of a dying billionaire, there could be more to him than what his title suggests. We all know how much respect Nolan has for billionaire sons – see Bruce Wayne:
“Despite his vast wealth, Robert is riddled with all sorts of insecurities, as one might expect of someone who has lived his entire life in the shadow of a hugely powerful individual. It doesn’t help that he has a very strained relationship with his father. So here you have a person who is about to inherit the world and is lacking for nothing except, perhaps, the thing he wants most: a proper relationship with his father.”
If you were trying to determine Tom Berenger’s character, he actually portrays Fischer’s “longtime legal counsel” and “surrogate father.” The always wonderful Pete Postlethwaite (Clash of the Titans) plays the part of Fischer’s dying billionaire father.
The rest of the 46 page production notes describe every aspect of the film’s creation, from Hans Zimmer’s score to the elaborate stunts at each of the six international locales. Check out the entire report at Inception’s main website.
There’s a lot to digest lately with Inception, but it seems to be going down smooth. What are your thoughts on it all? Share your opinions in the comments section below.
Inception hits theaters and IMAX on July 16th, 2010.