“Led Zeppelin are notoriously hesitant to allow their music to be licensed for commercial purposes. Knowing this, Richard Linklater filmed a plea by actor Jack Black in front of 1,000 screaming fans, imploring the band to let the production use the "Immigrant Song” in the movie. The plea worked and the filmed request is included on the DVD.“
This scene was so necessary to understanding Shen’s character. You can really tell that he loved his parents and felt betrayed that they’d banished him after everything he’d done. Just that one line “the dead exist in the past, and I must turn to the future” is so relevant to how contradicting Shen and his actions are. Throughout the whole film, Shen kept talking about starting a new era, a new time where he was in control of all China. The “year of the peacock.” However, all his actions seemed to be controlled by his habit of holding on to the past. In fact, he’s so fearful of the future that he’s willing to commit mass genocide to prevent from happening. One of the things I’ve never understood about myself is the way that I identify with anti heroes in so many films. I am far more likely to sympathise with characters that do terrible things for the right reasons than I ever am with to side with a hero. And characters who are labelled villains but who fell from grace for completely understandable reasons like Lord Shen are just as appealing to me. I think I just find imperfection endearing.
Emily Browning, Jack Black, Anya Taylor-Joy, John Cho, Analeigh Tipton, Kevin Bacon, Olivia Cooke, Lakeith Stanfield, Laura Dern, Chloe Sevigny, photographed by Austin Hargrave for The Hollywood Reporter at Sundance 2017.