Children Trained to Kill Hijack “Blood Diamond” Plot

Children Trained to Kill Hijack “Blood Diamond” PlotDiCaprio film revealed subplot surprises says director  HOLLYWOOD(rushprnews)12/08/2006 — When Leonardo DiCaprio and director Ed Zwick went on their trek through Africa to shoot the adventure movie “Blood Diamond,” they knew the plot would have political undertones as war and strife there were often financed by diamonds. What they didn’t realize is that the grim sub-subplot of child soldiers would provide the most memorable messages of the film.  “After their indoctrination, they were often made to kill their own parents first,” Zwick told Hollywood Today about the very real legacy of child soldiers he learned about while shooting “Blood Diamond.”
 The story is set against the exceedingly violent decade-long civil war in Africa’s Sierra Leone that was largely financed by, and for control of the country’s diamonds. DiCaprio plays a smuggler who convinces Djimon Hounsouhe’s character that he must lead him to a hidden diamond as the income can save his family being held at a refugee camp. Co-star Jennifer Connelly makes much about elements in the diamond industry that launder the stone’s origins on their way to become bling in America.  

That would normally be enough socio-political proselytizing for what was supposed to be an “Indiana Jones”-type adventure.  After all Sean Connery as Bond, James Bond had tracked African conflict diamonds through their murderous trade routes to America decades earlier in “Diamonds are Forever” – and remained true to an action premise.     Yet all bets were off once Zwick and Co. reached Africa. “Everywhere we’d go, we would hear stories about child soldiers,” he said after an AFI Fest screening. The script always had some aspect of this, Hounsouhe’s son is abducted for training in a children’s army. Yet Zwick did not anticipate what an emotional counterpoint they would become. Some of the most chilling moments in the film are of kids on killing sprees with automatic weapons and a glazed-over purposefulness.   “What happened during filming the scenes is that inevitably, the issue took on new importance.” Zwick said.”I couldn’t help but allow this sub-story to take over. It has a certain specific gravity of its own.” 

Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter called them the film’s “most lingering chord” and “indelible images.”  The situation isn’t unique to Africa. “We could have withheld the color of the skin and it could be could be in (Central Europe, the Middle East or Southeast Asia). There is no shortage of circumstances and victims of this sort,” Zwick said in Hollywood Today (www.hollywoodtoday.net). He added solemnly. “At one point, someone said that I should realize the world ‘infantry’ historically refers to child soldier.” Not knowing the subplot would steal the thunder of war-supporting diamond-laundering as a subtext, the diamond industry launched a massive PR campaign. It was to ensure their wares were rigidly certified as being from conflict-free zones.  Protesters have pointed out that those zones are usually a stone’s throw from some country that is knee deep in blooded diamonds.   Zwick said the diamond industry had been using the public relations tactic “trying to get ahead of the story.”  Yet the diamond industry now has more than a new DiCaprio movie trying to tarnish its luster.  Rappers Kanye West and Wu-Tang Clan’s Raekwon are calling for consumers to make sure their bling has no ring of death.  The History Channel is doing a special this month on the subject called “Blood Diamonds.” The movie’s Sierra Leone location is also the backdrop for a VH1 documentary “Bling: A Planet Rock,” coming this February with hip-hop stars rapping about the problem. Oprah also has an activist band from Sierra Leone coming to her show. By Jeffrey Jolson-Colburn for Hollywood Today   Permission to reprint or rebroadcast granted provided Hollywood Today is credited and the url www.hollywoodtoday.net used where appropriate.  Hollywood Today Publisher & Editor-in-chief Jeffrey Jolson-Colburn is an award-winning writer and editor and has launched several well-known entertainment publications, both in print and online. He served as Publisher & Editor-in-chief of national print publications “Grammy Magazine,” “Grammy Latino,” “Rock Magazine,” and “Woodstock” and was a longtime editor for “The Hollywood Reporter.”  In the Internet area, he has helped launch and been Editor of million-hit websites including “HollywoodReporter.com,” “Grammy.com,” “Woodstock.com” and others. He was also one of the first reporters for “EOnline.com” and recently served as Editor-in-chief of “Inside Hollywood.”  His first online publication, for “The Hollywood Reporter,” predated the Internet itself. Clips of his articles from outlets including the “Boston Globe,” “San Francisco Chronicle,” “Billboard,” “Rolling Stone,” “TV Guide,” “Us Magazine,” etc.  can be found on the Internet.  

 

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