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Before There Was “Enter the Void” There Was “The Champ”?

Before There Was "Enter the Void" There Was "The Champ"?

Normally I would wait for closer proximity to the film’s release date to do a “Before There Was” posting, but this was just too weird to wait on. During a Q&A following the New York premiere of “Enter the Void” at Lincoln Center Wednesday night, filmmaker Gaspar Noé was asked by an audience member how he got such a great performance out of child actress Emily Alyn Lind (who you may have seen as the younger version of Dakota Fanning’s character in “The Secret Life of Bees”), especially during one frighteningly traumatic scene. First of all, Noé admitted he did not direct anybody in the movie and that the girl’s mother, actress Barbara Ann Woods (the mom from TV’s “One Tree Hill”), deserves credit for getting the performance out of her. Second, he revealed that he did at least provide Woods and Lind with a copy of a certain other child star’s acting debut. Here’s exactly what he told the crowd last night (blame him for the spoiler):

I gave the mother and the daughter a DVD of “The Champ,” this movie where Ricky Schroder sees Jon Voight being punched to death … He gets beaten to death and he starts dying and for the last half hour the kid is saying, “no, Daddy, don’t die. Don’t die. No, Daddy, please don’t die.” I remember seeing it when I was 11 or 12 and I cried for a long time. And I hadn’t seen it since. I found it and gave it to the girl and said, “can you match the performance?” And she said, “oh, I’ll do much better, I’ll do much better!” And the mother said, “yeah, she’ll do much better.” I don’t know how they rehearsed it that night, but the next day the girl screamed for three hours.

For those of you who haven’t seen the boxing drama, which was directed by Franco Zeffirelli and released in 1979, here’s Schroder’s Golden Globe-winning performance:

Given the circumstances of the particular “Enter the Void” scene for which the little girl was praised, one might presume Schroder’s movie from a year later, “The Earthling,” would have been the more appropriate inspiration. I won’t say why, though even if you’re familiar with the 1980 drama and can now guess what similarly happens in “Enter the Void,” this shouldn’t ruin anything for you. As for those of you who’ve seen Noé’s psychedelic fantasy, would you have ever imagined a tearjerking boxing movie to have any relation?

Here’s the new trailer for the film featuring a quote from Karina Longworth’s Spout review:

“Enter the Void” opens September 24, 2010.

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