A Chat With Roger Michell...
Roger Michell's Enduring Love was one of the high points in British film in 2004. The DVD is now out and he chats to FilmExposed about some of its features.
The scene that unfolds in the opening paragraphs of Ian McEwan's ENDURING LOVE had hooked countless readers leaving them gripped and unable to put the book down. Equally, since its release in November 2004, the opening scene of Roger Michell's film adaptation of that book has been one of the most talked about. So isn't he sick of repeatedly going over how he pulled off that scene? "Oh God yeah," Michell laughs, "But at the same time, it's a great feeling to know that months on, it's still of interest."
Enduring Love is now out on DVD and includes the usual staples of deleted scenes, cast interviews, trailer and director commentary. Here Michell gives some insight into the difficult issues in the story and how he tackled them in the film. "I just found the book's complex questioning of the nature love interesting," says Michell, "Yet at the same time as a story it was a compelling thriller, so putting the two together was great for a film adaptation." A point backed up by McEwan who, on seeing the first cut of the film was 'visibly moved' by what Michell had done. And for a director who doesn't really give a shit about what film reviewers have to say, an approving nod from the author was all the critical acclaim he required.
Despite the opening scene eating away a third of the film's budget, and the stresses and strains of getting the adaptation right, Michell and his crew wrapped Enduring Love well ahead of time, and a little inside of budget. With time on their hands and money to burn the cast and crew let rip and produced the short Burst, which also features on the DVD. "My son had raved about a short he'd seen on one of the Lord of the Rings DVDs where the cast and crew had swopped roles," remembers Michell, "We ran a competition and our 3rd AD won a day's shooting as director with the whole cast and crew at her disposal. We had a lot of fun, and I don't think she did a bad job." Burst is a fun take on the sycophantic and fickle nature of celebrity. Carrying the visual theme through, there are numerous red balloons, but unlike Enduring Love, no philosophical arguments or university ideas as to why the main character thinks the way he does - that he's the next best thing to Nimble sliced bread! There's zilch here to get you excited about the state of British short filmmaking and should be viewed as cast and crew letting off steam - nothing more.
Michell now plans to take a few months off to recharge, and to try and get to the end of A Very Long Engagement, which came to a juddering halt halfway through when his DVD player packed up. But we couldn't let him go without his thoughts on Daniel Craig as Bond? "Yee-ahh, I think he'd make a great Bond," he says in that way where you know there's a 'but' coming… "But I've advised him against it. I just feel that Daniel is beginning to come into his own now, especially with the work he's done in The Mother and Layer Cake," he continues. "I think to take on Bond now will pigeon-hole him, and as an actor that can be difficult to recover from."