Luca Guadagnino tells hmv.com about the making of A Bigger Splash and his remake of Suspiria
This week sees the DVD release of A Bigger Splash, a taut, elegant new drama from director Luca Guadagnino. It stars Tilda Swinton as rock star Marianne Lane, who is on holiday on the quiet island of Pantelleria with her filmmaker boyfriend Paul, played by Matthias Schoenaerts. They’re hiding out while Marianne recovers from vocal surgery, but their bliss is about to be interrupted by Marianne’s old friend and former lover Harry (Ralph Fiennes) and his daughter, Penelope (Dakota Johnson), an interruption that sets up the foursome for a simmering few days.
As the movie comes to DVD shelves we sat down with director Luca Guadagnino to find out about how he put the cast together, shooting on beautiful Pantelleria and his plans for the remake of Suspiria…
When did you first get involved in this project?
“StudioCanal wanted to remake this movie La Piscine and they came to me after I Am Love, they asked me if I wanted to do it. I said no, but then I thought about it and the idea of four people being tangled in a web of desire was interesting. I hadn’t seen that movie in about 30 years and I haven’t watched it at all since, but I thought there was enough common ground to do the movie.”
How long did it take you to change your mind?
“A few weeks. The idea of making a movie about behaviour and desire appealed to me, movies are all about drama and the idea of these four people lounging by the pool, but all this desire in there, it’s a good start.”
How did you go about putting the cast together?
“We wrote this script in 2010 and we’ve tried to put it together for a while. It came together at the end of 2013, I saw Ralph Fiennes in the trailer for The Grand Budapest Hotel and I thought he was so light and full of bursting energy and I thought he was right. I met him and gave him the script and he wanted to do the movie, so we started there.”
What about the others? Did you pick them all? Or were they suggested to you?
“I identified them all. Tilda is a sister, she’s incredible to be around and we inspire each other so much. Dakota came to see me, she was so clever and so sharp, I hired her on the spot. Matthias I had met a few times, even before I’d met Ralph, I’d seen him in Bullhead and Rust and Bone and we’d had a few meetings about working together and eventually we decided to do this together.”
How was it when you got to witness them all acting together for the first time?
“It was fantastic, they were such committed performers and they just throw themselves at the camera, it was incredible to be there.”
It’s a beautiful island, how did you find it?
“I’d been there when I was 16 with my friends and I always remembered it. As soon as I got the movie I thought about the island, it was so strange and dark. The locals were super welcoming and the island was just a big playground for us.”
What was the scene in the movie that took the most work to get right?
“Ironically it’s a scene that’s not in the film, it was supposed to come later, it was so excruciating to cut but it just didn’t work.”
What was the best scene to shoot? Any that were really fun?
“I have no fun shooting movies, I’m always in a bad mood. It’s so tiring and never any fun. when people tell me they enjoy shooting movies I always think they’re crazy. How can you happy with 100 people carrying tools from place to place, being uncomfortable and trying to grab something that goes against reality. It’s hell.”
What bit of filmmaking do you enjoy?
“Editing. I love editing. This movie was wonderful to edit, there were so many treasures.”
So what’s next for you?
“I’m shooting in September a remake of Suspiria, the Dario Argento horror movie. I’ve been working on this project ever since I saw the poster of this movie when I was 10. It’s 34 years in the making.”
Have you cast anybody yet?
“I’m almost there.”