‘Three Days in Havana’ exposes broken and beautiful side of Cuba

Bellows answers questions about the film '3 Days in Havana' after the showing on Sat. January 30th.

Bellows answers questions about the film ‘3 Days in Havana’ after the showing on Sat. January 30th in the Lewis Auditorium.

By Mallory Hopkins | gargoyle@flagler.edu

Gil Bellows may be best known for is role in “The Shawshank Redemption,” but the actor has a new film out called “Three Days in Havana” that he co-wrote, co-directed, and starred in. Bellows attended a showing for the film as part of the Saint Augustine Film Festival at Flagler College earlier this year where he spoke about the movie, filming in Cuba and what waterboarding is really like.

In the film, there is a scene in which Bellows’ character is tortured by waterboarding. In order to film the scene, he actually had the notorious torture method performed on him.

“It was hell,” he said. “I promise you, no one in this room could last more than 10 seconds … It was like feeling claustrophobic and not being able to swim (and being) in water.”

“Three Days in Havana” is about a man named Jack Petty (played by Bellows) who is an insurance broker from Vancouver, Canada (where Bellows is actually from). Petty travels to Havana for an insurance convention. In an airport on the way to his destination, he meets a mysterious woman (played by his wife, Rya Kihlstedt) who tells him a dangerous secret. After he arrives in Havana, Petty enjoys all the beautiful experiences the city has to offer. Only things start to turn a little strange, and suddenly he seems to always be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“Making a movie is the closest a man can come to conceiving a child,” he said.

Bellows said he wanted to create something new — a project that was what he wanted to do, and that could be produced for under $1 million dollars.

When an audience member asked him where he got the idea for the film he simply said, “Well, I’m crazy so …”

As far as total time spent on the movie, Bellows said: “Honestly, I still feel like I’m preparing, but from writing the script to here, it took about four years.”

He said the actual filming only took about 23 days, and spanned over three countries. When asked about filming in Cuba, he said, “When you film, you get to see places in new ways, in a red carpet way and how people that live there see it … I was able to let the city be a character.”

The movie will be on Netflix this October.

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