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an individualistic adventurer who needed isolation and healing in na- ture. In an interview describing the process of directing and writing the film, Penn felt drawn to the journey that Chris McCandless placed upon himself, despite his tragic end—“Chris McCandless lived too short, that's true, but he, in my view, put an entire life from birth to the wis- dom of age into those years” (qtd. in Grossman para. 15). His story and idealism had a strong effect on nearly everyone in- volved with the film. In an interview, Emile Hirsch, who played Chris McCandless, described the experience of filming as unique—"I think the underlying theme about love and forgiveness and spirituality over- whelmed any type of negativity that can sometimes go onto a film set, and we really felt like we were making something special. That it would mean something to people. Because it meant something to us" (qtd. in Riley para 14). Into the Wild was divided into chapters, the same as the book and followed the same flashbacks of Chris’s experience alone in the Alas- kan wilderness. The book and movie also complemented each other as the director ensured the inclusion of the perspectives of Chris’s family, friends and acquaintances while empathizing with the viewpoint of the main character. Lines of dialogue were used from interviews and Chris’s journals and letters and most of the scenes from the film were shot on location where McCandless had traveled. The movie also shared the final shot of the film with the last description from the book. John Krakauer described leaving the abandoned bus where Chris McCandless had died, from a helicopter. In the film, one of the final shots leaves Chris McCandless’s smiling face and flies out of a window and up into the sky, paralleling the book and symbolizing the departure of his soul from his body. The personality of Chris McCandless in the film was a bit different from the book, where there was emphasis on his anger and abrasiveness in reacting rebelliously to his parent’s admonitions that got in his way. Into the Wild shows Chris as more relaxed and happy when he is on the road and interacting with people he met in his travels, such as fellow nomads and farmers. In the film he is shown as uncomfortable and an- noyed when forced to sit at an awkward family dinner. In scenes where he is backpacking on his own, he gets to climb trees, paddle down riv- ers, walk deserted paths, scramble down hillsides, and when he runs 41
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