The author of the article, Sonny Bunch, wrote to me and — when I asked — gave me permission to publish this response:
You know, I was hoping that the walkout wouldn't come across as a "gotcha"-type moment. Rather, I was hoping it could be used to demonstrate just how contentious the movie is: In the midst of an otherwise ordinary interview, the actor/producer largely responsible for its creation just up and walks out. I wanted that to set the stage for a broader discussion of the movie involving the director and the regime's dissidents.Thanks.
And I say "otherwise ordinary" because it was--I thought the interview was going really well until he cut it off. It wasn't particularly heated or repetitious and never veered too far off topic; the last question he took was an innocuous one about how you portray a failed revolution on film as opposed to a successful one. (I hope that came across in the web video my editorial overlords asked me to tape...) We ended up cutting most of that context because the piece was too long, but I can assure you that it was your average interview with a movie star, with one key difference: I asked follow-ups.
The movie itself isn't nearly as interesting as the trailer makes it out to be: Guevara comes across as Jesus with an AK-47, healing the sick, teaching the illiterate to read, and mowing down enemies of the people. It's split into two parts, one about the successful Cuban revolution and the second about the failed Bolivian revolution. What's left out is the time Guevara and Castro spent ruling Cuba. It's an interesting artistic choice to make, but it's also one that leaves you open to criticisms of infidelity to history by way of omission. I was curious to know what he, as a producer, made of those criticisms. That's all...
By the way, I've seen this trailer for the movie several times — not voluntarily, as part of a captive theater audience — and it didn't seem to take sides about whether we ought to think well of Che. It ends with this question and answer: "How does it feel to be a symbol?" "Of what?" That sounded distanced and existentialist. It made me think the movie might be a work of art of some complexity. In that context, I imagined del Toro to be an artist who immersed himself in the role and, in doing that, lost the critical eye and political perspective the reporter wanted him to use.
I'm not blaming Bunch for asking the questions now, though.