City of Ghosts
|City of Ghosts|
A lobby card for the 2004 Thailand theatrical release.
|Directed by||Matt Dillon|
|Produced by||Willi Baer
|Written by||Matt Dillon
|Music by||Tyler Bates|
|Edited by||Howard E. Smith|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|April 25, 2003|
|Budget||$17.5 million |
City of Ghosts is a 2002 drama film co-written, directed by and starring Matt Dillon, about a con artist who must go to Cambodia to collect his share of money from an insurance scam. The film was made in Cambodia, in locations that include Phnom Penh and the Bokor Hill Station.
Jimmy (played by Matt Dillon) is a conman who's been working for a fake insurance company in New York City that is being investigated by the FBI after it cannot pay claims that have poured in after a hurricane. Discovering that his mentor and the mastermind of the scheme, Marvin (James Caan), has skipped the country and gone to Thailand, Jimmy boards a plane with the intention of trying to collect his money.
Once in Bangkok, Jimmy meets Joseph Kaspar (Skarsgård), a partner in the scheme who's living with his Thai katoey companion Rocky (Kyoza). Joseph informs Jimmy that Marvin has moved on to Cambodia, where he's planning an even greater scam. So Jimmy sneaks across the border and makes his way to Phnom Penh.
Needing to travel around, he hires a cyclo driver named Sok (Kem Sereyvuth), who becomes the only person Jimmy can trust. He also meets an NGO worker named Sophie (Natascha McElhone) and dabbles in romance with her while attending a rave party at an ancient temple.
Eventually, Marvin turns up, but the scam he's trying to get together – involving corrupt Cambodian government officials, high-ranking military and the Russian mafia – turns out to be more risky and dangerous than anyone ever imagined, taking Jimmy on a surrealistic odyssey.
- Matt Dillon as Jimmy
- James Caan as Marvin
- Natascha McElhone as Sophie
- Gérard Depardieu as Emile
- Kem Sereyvuth as Sok
- Stellan Skarsgård as Joseph Kaspar
- Rose Byrne as Sabrina
- Kyoza as Rocky
- Loto as Red Tuxedo Man
- Robert Campbell as Simon
Locations in Cambodia
- Filming locations included Phnom Penh, Battambang, Kep, Oudong and Phnom Chisor, a pre-Angkor ruin south of Phnom Penh. The film's climax was shot at Bokor Hill Station, which was once a French colonial-era retreat with a hotel and casino complex. As of 2009, the hill station, in the midst of Bokor National Park, is scheduled to be renovated as a new hotel/resort complex.
- Although 2001's Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was partially filmed around Angkor Wat, City of Ghosts was the first major US film using Cambodia as a principal location since the 1965 film Lord Jim, directed by Richard Brooks and starring Peter O'Toole.
Casting in Cambodia
- Kem Sereyvuth, the cyclo driver who played Sok, was cast in Cambodia. He had no prior acting experience. The story his character tells Jimmy is his own.
- In one scene in the hotel bar, a character, Harry the American expat, tells Jimmy in no uncertain terms that he's a fool and does not know what he's getting into. Harry was portrayed by Michael Hayes, the publisher of the Phnom Penh Post, a daily English-language newspaper.
- The macaque that stole Jimmy's sunglasses was named Jadet, who was smuggled in from Thailand because the Cambodian monkey was not tame and "bit a chunk out of the prop lady's ear," Dillon told Time Asia. "The Thai monkey escaped, and its trainer was yelling at these kids who gathered around not to chase it. Of course, every kid in Cambodia went after that monkey, and it ran into the post office where things really got nuts."
- The people at the full moon party, as well as some of those on Emile's balcony, are all actual backpackers recruited from Phnom Penh guesthouses.
- One of the Russian gangsters was played by Finn citizen Jouni Anttonen, who is now Michael Hayes' boss at Finnmap in Cambodia.
|Music from the Motion Picture City of Ghosts|
|Soundtrack album by various artists|
|Released||April 29, 2003|
- "Both Sides Now" – written by Joni Mitchell; performed by Dengue Fever
- "Et moi, et moi, et moi" – written by Jacques Dutronc and Jacques Lanzmann; performed by Jacques Dutronc
- "Wait Ten Months" – performed by Ros Serey Sothea
- "Sak Kra Va" performed by Chan Chaya
- "Do You Believe In Love At Sight" – performed by McKinney's Cotton Pickers
- "Hilo Hula" – performed by Mike Hanapi and the Llima Islanders
- "Have You Seen My Love" – performed by Ros Sereysothea
- "Parlez Moi D'amour" – performed Lucianne Boyer
- "I Want A Little Girl" – performed by McKinney's Cotton Pickers
- "Mou Pei Na" – performed by Sinn Sisamouth
- "Coining" – performed by Maes Samouen
- "Giant Woman" – performed by Pan Ron
- "Close Fit Blues" – performed by Clarence Williams
- "I'm Sixteen" – performed by Ros Sereysothea
- "Ne Te Fache Pas" – performed by Sinn Sisamouth
- "Love Pillow" – performed by Choun Malai
- "Dear 5" – performed by Peter Whitehead