Forget Bond; Clive Owen challenged
as depressed hero
December 21, 2006
Saving the world -- and not as James Bond

LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) -- Who cares about
playing James Bond when there is a guy like Theo Faron
to play?

Clive Owen prefers Faron, and the Oscar-nominated
British actor proves it in the drama "Children of Men,"
his new film that debuts in U.S. theaters on Christmas

But why pass up playing a suave, sophisticated ladies'
man in a movie franchise certain to produce box office
hits, for Theo, a drunk, self-doubting bachelor in a
movie you have no idea whether people will see?

"That is the challenge. That is exactly the challenge,"
Owen told Reuters in a recent interview.

Owen, 42, had been widely tipped as being first in line
to take the Bond role for "Casino Royale." The movie's
makers were keen on having Owen play the British
secret agent and held talks with him, but 2004 Oscar
nominee for relationship drama "Closer" said he moved
on before a formal offer could be made.

Daniel Craig was eventually chosen for the agent with a
license to kill, and "Casino Royale" has been a huge hit
with nearly $350 million in worldwide ticket sales.

But Owen said he hasn't given his decision a second
thought. "Children of Men" has earned solid ticket sales
of around $32 million internationally ahead of its U.S.

In fact, Owen said the chief factor for taking the role of
Theo, along with being a character who is the opposite
of himself -- a good-natured married father of two girls
-- was director Alfonso Cuaron's vision of the near
future. (Read more about Cuaron's vision.)

Work and family
Life for Londoners in 2027, when "Children of Men" is
set, is not too different from today except for one key
factor -- humans face extinction because no children are
being born.

"Alfonso's been very, very clear from the outset that it
was going to be a certain low-tech vision. It's a film
that's set in the future, but it's really an excuse to talk
about present concerns, worries and fears we have
now," Owen said.

Owen mentions violence, immigration and pollution as

In the movie, audiences meet Theo as he walks out of a
London cafe only moments before it is blown up by

From there, Theo reluctantly helps the only pregnant
woman on Earth escape England and get to a safe
haven. In doing so Theo redeems his own sense of

Theo becomes a key player in saving the human race,
but initially he is a hard hero to like because of his
depression, apathy and detachment from society.

"The worry is that you are the character taking people
through the movie, and you don't want people to go,
'why are we going along with this guy,' " Owen said.

In real life, Owen is the opposite of Theo. He was known
to British television and film audiences throughout the
1990s before finally landing on Hollywood's map in the
low-budget independent film, "Croupier," in 1998.

A series of increasingly higher-profile films including
Jerry Bruckheimer-produced "King Arthur" culminated
in his winning a supporting role in 2004's "Closer,"
which was based on a stage play that Owen previously
starred in.

That movie put him on the Hollywood A-list, and Owen
said in the past two years he has increasingly been
recognized in public. Yet when not working, he largely
remains out of celebrity magazines and gossip rags
despite his good looks and sex symbol status.

"My life is divided between work and my family. I don't
do anything else," he said. "For me, it's all about the
work, and when I'm not working, I just hole up with the