Filmmaker Derek Cianfrance is not afraid of tackling difficult material. Whether it’s an intimate portrait of the dissolution of a marriage with Blue Valentine or an epic, triptych-structure family drama with The Place Beyond the Pines, he’s always up for a challenge. His next film, an adaptation of the M.L. Stedman novel The Light Between Oceans, once again deals with complex subject matter as it follows a lighthouse keeper and his wife in post-World War I Australia who are faced with a moral dilemma when a boat washes ashore with a dead man and an infant. Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, and Rachel Weisz lead the cast, and if Cianfrance’s previous films are any indication, we’re in for another incredibly thought provoking, character-centric drama.
Steve recently spoke with producer David Heyman in anticipation of the release of Paddington, and during the conversation he also talked a bit about The Light Between Oceans. He confirmed the film will likely premiere at a fall film festival this year (probably TIFF), that it will have audiences leaving the theater debating the choices the characters make, and he also spoke quite a bit about Cianfrance’s directorial process, which includes keeping the camera rolling for multiple takes in a row. More after the jump.
Since Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2011, Steve asked Heyman if Light Between Oceans might premiere there as well. The producer said they haven’t talked about that yet but it would seem to be a likely scenario:
“The schedule has it that we will finish in the summer, so it feels like [fall] is the time it comes out.”
As for the movie itself, Heyman praised the moral ambiguity that he hopes will leave audiences thinking after the film is over:
“It’s a film with no black and whites, it inhabits a grey world and I think that it’s going to be one—which I love—which people will leave the cinema debating the choices that the characters make.”
Given the incredible opening shot that Cianfrance composed for The Place Beyond the Pines, Steve asked Heyman if we can expect more long takes in The Light Between Oceans. The producer then discussed Cianfrance’s process as a director:
“Derek is all about truth, and creating an environment where the actors feel safe and can go to places that they wouldn’t otherwise go to and I think that he’s really taken the actors there in this. It’s not that there are long takes but he shot long takes, meaning that the camera would just keep rolling and rolling and rolling and the actors would do it again and again and again just without a break. You’d have 20 minutes of just going. It was not to break the actor down but just to get them to a place where they stop thinking and are just being. He’s an extraordinary director, and also his ability to think on his feet and adapt to moments is remarkable too.”
The Place Beyond the Pines was one of my favorite films of 2012 so it’s safe to say The Light Between Oceans is one of my most anticipated of 2015, and Heyman’s comments only serve to pique my interest even further.