‘Guest of Honour’: Atom Egoyan on Why He’d Like to Watch Alfred Hitchcock Work

     September 26, 2019

There is a lot going on in Atom Egoyan‘s latest, Guest of Honour. Not only does it feature a fairly large ensemble, with all of the primary cast members playing a character with truly fascinating situations and qualities, but the movie also hits five different time periods. That being said, this description only scratches the surface of Guest of Honour, but just to give you a brief lay of the land – Laysla De Oliveira plays Veronica, a high school band teacher who’s convicted of a crime. The movie explores her refusal to pursue a reduced sentence and also how her conviction effects her father, Jim (David Thewlis). He works as a health inspector so when an issue like this has a major effect on his personal life, it could greatly effect the livelihood of restaurant owners should Jim walk into their place of business in a poor mood.

With Guest of Honour celebrating its world premiere at TIFF 2019, Egoyan, De Oliveira, Thewlis, Luke Willson and Rossif Sutherland all visited the Collider Lounge for an extended conversation about the film. The group discusses Egoyan’s work as an actor’s director, what they learned about the health inspector profession, the unusual name Thewlis chose for his pet rabbit, and so much more. You can hear about it all in the video interview at the top fo this article.

nordstrom-supper-suite-tiff-2019We also need to send a big thank you to our presenting sponsor Nordstrom Canada and supporting partners Marriott Bonvoy and Ciroc Vodka for supporting the Collider Lounge at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival and helping to make these interviews happen.

You can find a full breakdown of the interview and the official TIFF synopsis for Guest of Honour below:

Luke Wilson, Laysla De Oliveira, Atom Egoyan, David Thewlis, Rossif Sutherland:

  • 00:13 – Egoyan gives a brief explanation of what happens in Guest of Honour.
  • 02:03 – What was the key to getting Guest of Honour off the ground?
  • 03:19 – What is it that makes Egoyan a standout actor’s director?
  • 06:55 – The burning questions Sutherland had for Egoyan about his character.
  • 07:59 – Thewlis on his character’s profession as a food inspector.
  • 10:45 – De Oliveira on prepping to play a convincing conductor.
  • 13:03 – Egoyan on his process directing his cast and watching them bring even more out of the characters he created.
  • 14:46 – If Egoyan could observe any other director, who would he choose?
  • 15:56 – Wilson and De Oliveira on handling a good deal of exposition without making it feel like an “exposition dump.”
  • 20:15 – The group talks about picking names for their pets.

David Thewlis plays Jim, a health inspector whose daughter, Veronica (Laysla De Oliveira), has recently been convicted of a crime. Although Jim is certain that she isn’t guilty, his efforts to reduce her sentence are hampered by her intransigent refusal to cooperate with him. Despairing, Jim lashes out through his work, pursuing neglectful restaurateurs with a vigour we first assume to be dedication, but soon realize is far more than professional zeal.


Image via TIFF

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