Hugo Weaving learned upon making his latest film “Hearts and Bones” that it’s not just soldiers who suffer from PTSD and the horrors of war.
Weaving plays a war photographer struggling with post traumatic stress, and in researching his role he said he was shocked at the number of war photographers and correspondents that suffer the same trauma as the subjects they photograph.
“How many of them actually suffer from PTSD is actually quite extraordinary,” Weaving told TheWrap’s Sharon Waxman following the film’s international premiere at TIFF. “Not only people who are actually combatants are affected by it, but also civilians and people who are reporting on it. It’s something that traumatizes everyone.”
In the debut feature film from director Ben Lawrence, Weaving connects with a Sudanese refugee who wants to prevent the publishing of his photos for fear of how they might trigger more trauma for his family. But as they dig into the photos, they uncover unsettling evidence that raises deeper questions about the past they’re trying to bury.
Both Weaving and Lawrence explained that the film is about the affects on photographers when they return to the places they’ve been stationed and key into their subjects’ lives. In making it, they identified particular war photos they liked and talked with the journalists who captured it about the stories that extend beyond the photo.
For instance, Weaving cited the impact Phan Thi Kim Phuc, the subject of a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph taken in 1972 when, as a nine-year-old girl, she was badly burned by napalm during the Vietnam War.
“Many of the subjects in their own right become in their own right quite iconic figures,” Weaving said. “There’s a whole history to her, and her life is changed not just by the war but by that photo.”
Check out the full video Weaving and director Ben Lawrence above.