Robin Wright is a name you probably won’t recognize by the sight or sound of it alone. But if you were a child in any of the last three decades, you have almost certainly seen her and probably even quoted her. Wright’s best known for her roles as Princess Buttercup in The Princess Bride and Jenny in Forrest Gump. This time around Robin’s getting press for acting in another fantasy film with Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm; but this time it’s for adults, and it isn’t for the faint of heart either.
Wright plays herself in The Congress — an actress who had a few big roles, but has more or less disappeared from the public spotlight. Robin goes to meeting with her agent, played by Harvey Keitel, where a company offers her a deal she can’t refuse: they’ll make a copy of her to act in new movies as they see fit. But there’s a catch — Wright can’t ever act as herself again. Robin enters into a giant machine that records her movements, her emotions, her very essence. With that, Wright becomes more image than actress — eventually entering into a bizarre world that includes a steamy animated sex scene with Hamm.
But it is a bit harsh to say that Robin is playing herself in the film. After all, she won a Golden Globe recently for her work in Netflix’s series House of Cards, as well as acted in huge movies like Moneyball and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. In an interview with The Guardian, she distanced herself from the idea that she is literally playing Robin Wright in The Congress.
“This movie is not autobiographical in any way. Other than the fact that it uses my name and the roles that I did. And other than the fact that I will always be known as Buttercup and Jenny. Even today, after 30 years in the business, people still come up and say that they loved me as Buttercup and Jenny.”
Israeli director Ari Folman is best-known for his critically acclaimed Waltz with Bashir, a unique animated film that pieces together interviews with veterans of Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon. Along with Iranian film Persepolis, it has stood out as one of the most captivating Middle Eastern films ever made — both of which also make most short-lists of best animated cinema produced on the globe. His newest venture with Wright is partially animated as well, but the style is totally different from the heavily shaded Waltz with Bashir. Robin spends as much if not more time living in the real world than she does in the dystopian cartoon alternate reality of The Congress, but that’s part of what makes the film so bizarre — it’s hard to say which world is more surreal. Folman himself lets on that this is also an inspiration for the film.
“Modern technology has changed the whole process of making a picture. The role of the director has changed because there is no sense of urgency on set anymore. Everything can be fixed and invented in post-production. These days you wouldn’t have Francis Ford Coppola in the Philippines for 400 days shooting Apocalypse Now. He’d do the whole thing in the studio, and it wouldn’t be the best war movie ever made.”
Is Robin Wright still Jenny or Princess Buttercup to you? Will she still be after you see her get down with animated Jon Hamm?
[Images via Drafthouse Films]