'22 July': Paul Greengrass on the Reaction From Real Norway Massacre Victims
"Their lives are changed forever. So when you go and see them, they want to talk about it, they want to talk about what’s going on with the rise of the far-right because they’ve seen it," Greengrass said.
Paul Greengrass, writer, producer and director of Netflix’s 22 July, knew the importance of speaking with the real people involved in the 2011 Norway terrorist attacks that took the lives of 77 people.
“You have to start by asking their permission,” he told The Hollywood Reporter during the Producer Roundtable. “The people who are caught up in these events always feel, in my experience, quite a bit different to what you think and it’s an interesting phenomenon of terror and political violence in democracies because when these events happen, they affect us all because they’re public events and they’re meant to.”
He goes on to explain that while these unimaginable acts are “meant to terrorize us and weaken our faith in each other and in our institutions,” for the people involved, it’s an “intensely private moment of grief and pain.”
“Their lives are changed forever. So when you go and see them, they want to talk about it, they want to talk about what’s going on with the rise of the far-right because they’ve seen it but you have to ask their permission,” he said. “I always say if they give permission, you’re not responsible for the film. The film has to speak for itself and when we finish it, we come and show it to you first and you’ll judge it, as you rightly should.”
Greengrass went on to discuss his decision to distribute the film with Netflix, saying: “For this particular film, I wanted it watched by young people.”
Along with Netflix’s debut of 22 July, the film was treated to a simultaneous theatrical release across the United States and Europe on over 100 screens.
“The challenge we faced was young people, sadly, don’t go to see art house movies. They just don’t. But of course, they watch them on Netflix,” he told THR. “I remember telling my son, who’s a college-age young man, and he said, ‘Well if you do an art house, my friends will never see it. But if you put it on Netflix, we’ll see it.’”