Salma Hayek, Sally Potter, Javier Bardem L. Fanning discussed on Hollywood Unscripted
Welcome to Hollywood unscripted. I'm your host. Got To law of the Malibu Film Society. Joining me today in the studio is our producer. Jenny Curtis Hi Jenny. And this is our final episode of the season. Our guest today is Sally Potter. Who has written and directed the roads? Not Taken starring. Javier Bardem L. Fanning along with Salma Hayek and Laura Linney welcome. Thank you very much indeed. Over the past several years we've had a steadily increasing number of films that have been dealing with dementia and I know you've had some personal experience with it. But what was the new territory? What was the difference that you wanted to get across with your story? I wanted to explore really the mystery of the mind. The sale is not necessarily only a really difficult and tough tragedy. Although there's often great difficulty involved but the fact that we don't really know what goes on in the mind when somebody seems to disappear. I ASK MYSELF THE QUESTION. Or maybe they're going somewhere really interesting. Not gave if you'd like a doorway into thinking differently about the mind about lives not adverts not taken us the title That somebody might be slipping in and out of different kind of a win. Says even of power lives the lives. They could've lived existing at the very least somewhere within the mind so it was using it not so dementia is not like the sum total of the stories. Not just about somebody with dementia but rather somebody in a state of mind in relationship with in this case of Dourson taking care of him and we're exploring that state of mind also through her is to know that you did. Dedicate this to your late brother. Nick and that he severed from frontal lobe dementia. Yes from a young onset dementia. He was very young when he got something. The symptoms took him over quite. He passed on within two years. As I understand it you were very involved in his care. Yes I was. So how did that inform the story that you wanted to tell me? It was accompanying him. If you like has his kind of witness and keg it there were other people carrying for him to but but being responsible for his car and going with him opened my eyes to many many things first of all how badly somebody in that condition is often treated as if they're becoming less than human song and I found that I became incredibly protective of ten. And also the people say as more and more hard to communicate with somebody in this state. Well I found. It was not the if I went into. Let's say his speech patterns and treated them like poetry and wrapped with him and stay in these fractured language. Other people couldn't understand that we could understand each other perfectly well also that we laughed alert through the you know sometimes humiliating experience. He was having. I tried to turn them into a joke into a kind of human comedy rather than human tragedy so I learned a great deal. Of course I was deeply deeply saddened by his loss and booze grieving and so on but I wanted to find a way of telling a story that might by transposing it and transforming it into something else might first of all be useful for other people who've been through similar experiences. Carrozza whatever semi off different questions about the mind the mysteries of the mind uncertainty from all the neurologist. I talk to all the specialist so that period I gradually realized there is still a great deal to learn about this and many other mental states and a great deal more respect owed to the people who are living with this illness but I didn't want to a portrait of him so the character portrayed in his from heavy. It couldn't be more different. Touch Lee is very different. The story is held by a father daughter relationship siblings so it went through many processes of transformation. But that's where it sprung from. The father daughter relationship is obviously the core of this film and the character portrayed by Al. The daughter is so incredibly sympathetic to what her father is going through to the point of sacrificing everything else about her life. It seems. Well it's left open at the end. Exactly what she is prepared to sacrifice. And what isn't but what we see is that she's split. We see the consequences that so many women face in their lives whether that's mothers caring for their children. How can they also have a life a guilt free life following their own trajectory and she is a doors trying to do the right and loving thing for her father's the guy she loves? She loves her father and Heart is kind of a King Fan and for his suffering but she also loved her and work on. She wants to do that for the very end. We see a signal that she's trying to do both she's trying to do both wants to an intends to do both. Did you start creating the story while you were caring for your brother know afterwards while I was coming from I was actually making another film so I know exactly what it's like when you're working and answering the phone and rushing out of the late at night is early in the morning to deal with crisis or something? I know not speeches like at first time but no when I was in the middle of it was kind of overwhelming so it was only later when I started to do all right. Just do which is transformed some of the biggest expenses they fought in the life and starts work with it and see what you can do it. Put it back out into the world in a way that will make sense others but at the time no. I couldn't now separate from the making of the movie. There is the business side. Was this a hard sell to either investors or to the actors that you approached it was very hard sell to investors not such a hard sell to the two because they could see in it the potential to explore an incredible range of profound human experience really even in the smaller parts like Salma. Hayek you know it's small but every good actor knows there's no such thing as a small part and for her. It was really interesting to play a Mexican woman that she recognizes as a total human being and not stereotype and so on so no. The actors were very enthusiastic and eager. Hardworking and intent I think for investors. It was difficult to see how this might work. Because it's quite a complicated structure to run. These kind of power lives into weaving through the mind of this but also because the subject of dementia or mental illness is kind of taboo. You know there have been some films. Yes but it's still a difficult area that people don't we want to look at and this was coming out in such a different way. It's not really the main focus of the thing. It's not dementia. The main focus of this loud. The many faces of love adores for her father. An ex wife. I somebody who she still loves. But it's no longer responsible for and so on and so forth so yeah I think it wasn't self-sided but there were enough. People who were finance who passionately committed to it from the very beginning core finances and then others came in late and talk to us a little bit more about the casting. Yeah but you want to know was how they are. Your first choice. Who WERE OTHERS CONSIDERED FOR? This role did consider others now conveniently forgotten once. I've ended up with somebody. How could I even thought if anybody else on that? It's often like that. Sometimes it takes bit of trial and error and kind of figuring out and initially I was thinking of somebody English speaking and it took a while for me. It was like a Eureka moment when I thought no this will be much more interesting. If it's a Latino person who's not only looking at life through the filter of this illness but looking at it through the filter of another language so in a way the issue of translation between the mental state and how people understand the more communication difficulties the feeling of a border line if you like a physical border between Mexican America and the United States but the border inside the mind between one state and another one thing became a metaphor for another. And I've thought many of the performance is that have you done in particular how he was in in your research foam beautiful which I think is an extraordinary film. How in it so I approached him with the script on T. was IGA take it on with some trepidation that he was eager to take it on. Vr BARDEM and Selma Hayek. They know each other in real life. Did that affect their casting or the way they interacted onset. She's very very close friends with penelope. Who Dare is hard to? But they made a decision early on while they were on such a while we earn Russell and working together the they would create a kind of professional distant as if they didn't know each other outside. But I think there was joking and sense of humor and kind of the rough and tumble of the fact that they do already know each other. That probably be helped shelley the ease with which they worked together and because SAMA is Mexican and she's playing Mexican and he's playing Mexican. He was looking to her for example to make sure his accent was correct and that everything he did aside was authentic to her as a Mexican individual. That was very helpful for me to so yea they worked off each other very well and in a very short space of time you know. We shot all of those things together in three days but we prepared for months beforehand and those people who like to prepare. Of course ELLE FANNING. You had worked with on. Ginger and Rosa eight years ago and she is outstanding performer. An outstanding professional young twenty one year old now Thirteen I I work with her and she brings a dedication and infuse the ousman lightness to to a role and is able to imagine herself into the shoes of others experiences. She's not hot directly herself. She somehow manages to empathize with and imagine in an incredible sunset way. And she's Joyce who was used as an extraordinary form. Did you have in mind when you're creating the character? When I was writing the script I was deliberately not allowing myself to imagine any particular actors in the row but rather let the characters themselves come to life under my pants so to speak to find out who they were. Now that's partly. Because if you get fixated on a particular actor. Will you know writing? And it doesn't work out for one reason or another show delaying or you know whatever you disappointed whereas if you allow the character to come to life and then start to think well who could play. This might take this car during the different direction. That can be very enlivening and now what I usually do. Once I've got somebody committed to the pot in principle I then what with them find out how it fits retailer it slightly to fit them more precisely to sit in that qualities. Whatever and so to the point where then I really content much? Anybody else.