John David Washington teases his tense Greek thriller Beckett
Not every vacation is rejuvenating.
In Ferdinando Cito Filomarino's paranoid thriller Beckett, John David Washington takes an international trip that's anything but relaxing. The Tenet star plays Beckett, an American tourist exploring Greece with his girlfriend April (Alicia Vikander), when he stumbles upon a kidnapping. His inadvertent discovery makes him the target of a nationwide manhunt, as he struggles to outmaneuver assassins and trek from rural wilderness to the U.S. embassy in Athens.
"A manhunt thriller is a road-trip movie, in a way," Cito Filomarino says. "It was interesting to embrace the variety of Greece's topography, like, what can we throw at Beckett next? Mountains, rivers, buses, trains..."
The man-on-the-run adventure has been a longtime staple of cinema, and Cito Filomarino drew inspiration for Beckett's journey from classics like The Parallax View and Three Days of the Condor. But he also wanted to explore the emotional toll of the journey, emphasizing just how unprepared Beckett is and leaving room for quieter, more introspective moments. (Fortunately for Beckett, he does find an ally in a political activist named Lena, played by Phantom Thread's Vicky Krieps.)
"It's not so much an all-seeing narration or a grand chess game with many players," Cito Filomarino explains. "[It's] more of a dramatic experience of a man who, for all intents and purposes, is not supposed to be in a thriller."
"He doesn't have all the answers," Washington adds of his beleaguered protagonist. "He doesn't have an ex-Marine background; he doesn't have all these abnormal sensibilities and strengths that exceed the normal man."
And although Beckett may be ordinary, playing him still required Washington to perform a few extraordinary feats, from scrambling up cliffs in the Grecian countryside to navigating an explosive rally scene in the Athenian streets. "The irony is that he's a very common dude and is not very athletic," Washington admits with a laugh. "It was as taxing as if the guy had to karate-chop and snap necks."
"He definitely lost some weight in the process of making this movie because he was running so much," Cito Filomarino adds.
Beckett will premiere on Netflix on Aug. 13.
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