Von Sydow recently won a much-deserved Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for portraying the enigmatic, silent man known only as “The Renter.”
Nominated for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” is a story that unfolds from inside the young mind of Oskar Schell (Thomas Horn), an inventive eleven year-old New Yorker whose discovery of a key in his deceased father’s belongings sets him off on an urgent search across the city for the lock it will open. A year after his father (Tom Hanks) died on 9/11 in the World Trade Center on what Oskar calls “The Worst Day,” he is determined to keep his vital connection to the man who playfully cajoled him into confronting his wildest fears.
Von Sydow – whose prodigious film career began in the 1950s with Ingmar Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal,” and continued through ten more films with Bergman and six decades of memorable and award-winning roles – had a strong emotional reaction to the story of “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.”
“I was extremely moved by the script, which doesn’t happen often,” von Sydow states. “And I liked the idea of playing this enigmatic figure, this apparent stranger who tries to help Oskar in his search. It really is an interesting friendship that develops between them.”
The character remains mute throughout the movie, so the actor strove to express his moments of anguish, curiosity and delight entirely through his face and body. Says director Stephen Daldry of the unusual, wordless performance: “Max turned in a performance unlike any other he’s done — and I think it’s the kind of performance he’s always wanted to do. I honestly believe he’s created one of the most extraordinary characters of his career; he’s profoundly nuanced, complicated, funny and sensitive…without uttering a sound.”
Opening across the Philippines on Feb. 29, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.