A tortured debate about ‘Rendition’

<i>Variety</i> screens topical thriller at the Arclight

The torture debate took center stage at Hollywood’s Arclight Theater Thursday evening with Variety‘s screening of “Rendition.”

Oscar-winning director Gavin Hood in particular was keen on stirring up a discussion of the extrajudicial policy of rendering terrorism suspects to foreign countries for interrogation. When the South African native first read Kelley Sane’s script he was not only enthralled by the story but it also brought back unpleasant memories of being detained by the police while participating in a protest at his law school in Johannesburg.

“I come from a country that threw out all the rules,” Hood said. “There was detention without trial and it was a time when we looked to the American Constitution as an extraordinary document that we felt we needed, and perhaps that’s why I feel somewhat overly passionate about the debate.”

Hood joined actor Omar Metwally, producer Steve Golin and Sane for the Q&A session.

Tony nominee Metwally makes the transition to the bigscreen in “Rendition” and gives a harrowing performance as the victim of torture tactics including waterboarding and electric shocks.

“In terms of the intensity of the scenes, I had a great director and I had a very safe environment,” Metwally said. “Gavin was an actor for years and really knows how to make us feel like we can give our best so I give him a lot of thanks for creating an environment where I can try to do that.”