Inferno, the third Dan Brown novel to be adapted by Oscar-winning director Ron Howard, is already doing great business at the international box office (particularly in Italy, where the majority of the movie’s action takes place), and is set to arrive in U.S. theaters this Friday. Inferno once again stars Tom Hanks as symbology and religious iconography expert Robert Langdon, who wakes up with a head wound in a Florence hospital and soon finds himself on the run, afflicted with amnesia and terrible visions, and racing against a ticking clock to prevent the release of a virus that is set to kill billions of people – cooked up by brilliant (though misguided) scientist Dr. Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster).
Much of the film’s tension is tied up with Langdon’s uncertainty over who he should trust. E.R. doctor Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), who helps him escape an assassination attempt at the hospital and gets swept up in his mission? The top-level security firm run by Harry “The Provost” Sims (Irrfan Khan), which was hired to execute Zobrist’s final plans? World Health Organization representative Dr. Elizabeth Sinskey (Sidse Babett Knudsen)? Or Christoph Bruder (Omar Sy), from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control?
It’s certainly a tangled web, and Screen Rant sat down with cast members Ben Foster and Omar Sy in Florence, shortly before the world premiere of Inferno, to find out more about the making of the film. Check out the interview above, and a transcript below.
Screen Rant: The movie presents quite an interesting moral dilemma: If the human race is going to be extinct in a hundred years, and you can prevent that by killing 50% of the people on Earth – is that the moral thing to do? Do you guys have any thoughts on that?
Ben Foster: Hopefully we can all take personal responsibility, and we don’t need to be wiped out by some super-virus in protection of Mother Earth’s survival. But so far as a species we haven’t done that, and we’re heading for a very scary future. So hopefully, as entertaining as this film is, we can be left with some real ideas to chew on at the end of it.
SR: [To Omar Sy] Do you agree?
Omar Sy: Of course, we all have something to do, because it concerns all of us, and I think we all have to do our small parts, and the addition of all those parts can be the solution, and we’re all responsible for that… And I think we have to start soon. Because we knew that for a long time now, and we did nothing, all of us, so I think it’s time. It’s time to start.
SR: Were you familiar with the Renaissance at all, and Dante in particular, before you started working on the film, or was there anything new that you learned?
Omar Sy: We learned the Renaissance at school, of course, but for the movie of course we had to catch up. For me, personally, I had to catch up. We learned the Renaissance time, we heard about Dante, but I had to catch up for the movie.
SR: What would you say about Zobrist’s motivations for his big plan? Would you say he has human lives in interest, or would you say it’s more to do with his ego and creating a legacy for himself?
Ben Foster: For me, Ron and I, our first conversation about this was that we’ve got to take ego out of it. It can’t be about “me” and “I,” it’s about “we.” We as a people, we as a citizen of the world, have to take responsibility. So I think ultimately [Zobrist is] haunted by his perspective, and it’s a grim one.
SR: I imagine it’s quite lonely as well, for [Zobrist] to feel like he’s the only one who recognizes this issue.
Ben Foster: We’re all lonely.
Ben Foster: Is it lunchtime?