In 1999, protesters converged on Seattle, Wash. as it played host to a meeting of the World Trade Organization. What followed was a city under siege and a whole lot of folks standing proud on both sides of the fence.
To bring this incisive story to the big screen is actor-turned-director Stuart Townsend. He digs deep into the fateful events of November 1999 and throws them back at the public with a thought-provoking point of view. Townsend concedes that much of what moviegoers will see in the film is somewhat affected by his opinions of the WTO, particularly after researching the subject.
“I came to the conclusion that it’s an undemocratic institution,” says Townsend. He, like many others watched the turmoil unfold nearly a decade ago and was incredibly moved by it.
“I was just amazed by the diversity of people out there in the streets,” he says.
But instead of taking this rich subject matter and crafting a documentary with it, Townsend chose to dramatize the events.
“A lot of [people] really appreciate what I’ve done,” says Townsend, adding, “There’s a couple of activists – particularly one guy – that has it in for me.”
He even admits that some critics have charged that the film should not have been a fictionalized account of events. But Townsend fully stands behind his finished result. His “passion project” stars real-life love Charlize Theron, Michelle Rodriguez, OutKast’s Andre Benjamin and heartthrob Channing Tatum.
When asked about his youth-friendly cast, Townsend offers, “Hopefully young girls will come for Channing and learn a little about the WTO in the process.”
Battle in Seattle releases in select theaters Sept. 26.