Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Light Between Oceans: Interview with director Derek Cianfrance via Eye for Film

One of the movies I am truly most excited about seeing this year is The Light Between Oceans based on M.L. Stedman's novel. It's the story of a light house keeper and his wife, living on an isolated island, who find a baby who has survived a shipwreck. It's the story of the lengths some of us will go to for love. 

In this case it's a woman's want of a child so desperate, rational common sense no longer prevails, and it's her husband's inner turmoil in response to that need. Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander star in the film along with Rachel Weisz.

Cinematography is by Adam Arkapaw who shot the television shows Top of the Lake and True Detective as well as Macbeth. 



I absolutely can't wait to hear the score composed by the amazing Alexandre Desplat. Catch some of it in the trailer below. Costumes are by Erin Benach who worked with director Derek Cianfrance on Blue Valentine (my favorite Gosling film) and Place Beyond the Pines. Benach also worked with Ryan Gosling on Half Nelson (another fantastic Ryan Gosling film if you haven't seen it) back in 2006, as well as Drive so I'm betting Gosling made initially made the intro. 


Benach also did the costumes for Ryan Gosling's directorial debut, The Lost River as well as Ryan's director in Drive, Nicholas Winding Refn's The Neon Demon.
As most of her work has been contemporary in nature it will be interesting to see how she's handled this post World War I period film.



Desperate for new info, I found this interview with director Derek Cianfrance from the Eye for Film website.

Anne-Katrin Titze: When can we see your new movie?
Derek Cianfrance: The Light Between Oceans is going to open in the fall. Right now, it's a September release date. It's Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, Rachel Weisz. I adapted this book called The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman. It's a book that I had read. Steven Spielberg had been a fan of Blue Valentine and he invited me into his office to try to do something with Dreamworks and they gave me a pile of stuff, of books, and stuff they were doing.
I've never adapted anything or done anyone else's stuff. But I read this book and on the first page … That's this sickness I have - whenever I read anything, I think to myself, can this be a movie? And so from page one it felt like a movie. Every page I turned, it felt like a movie.
AKT: What was it on page one that caught your attention?
DC: It's about a lighthouse keeper who lives on an island.
AKT: Alright, I can already see the movie.
DC: My whole life I always thought that people's relationships were islands. I always thought that what happened inside my house as a kid growing up, only we knew what was going on in there. To the rest of the world we were someone else. So I've always thought since I was a kid that every home is an island.
So the idea of doing a relationship movie that took place on a literal island felt like it was destiny for me. I turned every page in the book and felt that it was my movie. It was all ideas I was dealing with in my own movies about legacy, relationships and secrets.
AKT: This story [The Light Between Oceans] is about mothers and daughters whereas The Place Beyond the Pines was all about fathers and sons.
DC: Yeah, I can only make family movies. I'm into making family movies, dysfunctional family movies.
AKT: Towheads …
DC: Oh, you've watched my wife's [Shannon Plumb] movie?
AKT: I loved it!
DC: Yeah, that's the best.
AKT: You are in there as a shadow.
DC: I tried to get her to put my face in the movie, but she wouldn't.
AKT: Is she working on a new project?
DC: She is making her own movie right now, called The Narcissist. She just shot three days.
AKT: It's not about you?
DC: No! It's about her. [laughs] Yes, thank you! It's a little bit about me, maybe. No, it's about her.
AKT: What you just said about islands made me think of Ben Mendelsohn's character in The Place Beyond The Pines. He is the epitome of a man being an island.
DC: Yeah. He lives in his own world. And when Ryan [Gosling] comes into his world they have this secret that they share and then bring that secret out into the world. That's how I see relationships and cinema, too. I see cinema as a very voyeuristic medium and it's about secrets.
AKT: You were just talking with Jeff Nichols - what do you take from a film like Midnight Special?
DC: I had already stolen from Jeff. I had heard that he does that notecard approach. So, actually, when I adapted The Light Between Oceans, I'd heard that he had done a bunch of notecards. So I broke down the book into notecards and just totally did his style. It really, really helped from an organizational standpoint. Look, I spent my whole childhood watching Scorsese and Pasolini and George Romero movies and Cassavetes movies and trying to learn from them.
I read their bios and did all that and then when you have a chance to start making films and you admire other filmmakers that are your contemporaries, I think it's always interesting to hear from them about what their process is. Jeff's films, they always feel like deeply personal films kind of disguised as genre movies.
AKT: There is nothing supernatural in your new film?
DC: No, it's all super human. It takes place in the 1920s on a lighthouse so it's a little bit of a time warp. It's just about the human heart.
AKT: Did you read Virginia Woolf's To The Lighthouse in preparation?
DC: No, I didn't.
The Light Between Oceans will open in the US on September 2 and in the UK on January 6, 2017.

2 comments:

  1. I'm excited about this one, too. I really liked the book, and I'm always drawn to stories about people whose 1st bad decision keeps snowballing.

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    Replies
    1. And I think the parts are really well cast. In the trailer at least, Fassbender nails it as the deeply thoughtful and moral lighthouse keeper, desperately in love with his wife.

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