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‘The Lost Daughter’ director Maggie Gyllenhaal asks dangerous questions: ‘Is something wrong with me?’

When she started reading for the first time Books by Elena Ferrante, Maggie Gyllenhaal was startled to discover how polarizing her reaction to the Italian author’s work was.

That’s when she had to order three of Ferrante’s Widespread Neapolitan Novels, starting in 2012 with My great friend, Gyllenhaal paused to consider herself and what she was feeling. “At one point, I said, ‘Wow, this woman is so spoiled,'” the actress told The Daily Beast. “And exactly 10 seconds later, I thought, “Oh, no, I’m actually having sex with her…”” That response only raised more questions: “And the fuck am I? Or is this some kind of common experience we’re all going through and haven’t been told yet? That is really comforting. “

Gyllenhaal, who is currently in the awards round, has doubled down on his chance to really sit with and interrogate what has become so closely linked to the work of Ferrante, who is best known for a pseudonym and identity of who, beyond speculation, has remained a secret since her first novel was published in 1992.

The Oscar-nominated actress, who has gained fame and appreciation for playing complex and sometimes thorny women on screen, is taking that approach behind the scenes, making her debut. director with Daughter is gone, for which she also wrote the screenplay, based on Ferrante’s 2006 work.

The film, which hits theaters on Friday before streaming on Netflix on December 31, premiered in September at the Venice Film Festival: a glittering launchpad for projects set at the Oscars. Gyllenhaal won the award for Best Screenplay, the first of the total number of honors and nominations she and the film have received since.

In November, Gyllenhaal won three categories, including Best Picture, at the Gotham Independent Film Awards, while Olivia Colman star took home Outstanding Lead Performance and Jessie Buckley competed for Outstanding Support Performance. Daughter is gone received four nominations this week from the Independent Spirit Awards, as well as two each from the Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Awards. Colman is considered one of the Best Actress nominations at the Oscars.

In the film, Colman plays Leda, a British scholar on vacation in Greece who begins a mysterious relationship with a young mother (Dakota Johnson), the two suspend each other while engaging with each other about their struggles to maintain their self-worth while raising a child. Buckley plays Leda in flashbacks of a time when she was a young mother herself, her career was taking off, and she made a drastic decision when it came to her children – one that many mother will not be able to understand. Or maybe they will understand perfectly… and maybe that will scare them too.

The danger of those thoughts and feelings is what moved Gyllenhaal.

“I feel like [Ferrante] was saying things out loud that I had never heard clearly before, especially about the experience of women in the world,” she said. “I think there’s an agreement we’ve all made that we don’t talk about some of these experiences. And I think she broke the deal. It’s really thrilling and dangerous and exciting. ”

“I think there’s an agreement we’ve all made not to talk about some of these experiences. And I think she broke the deal. It’s really thrilling and dangerous and exciting.”

Gyllenhaal knows that Ferrante’s novels are flying off the shelves, so she suspects she’s not alone in her fascination with those emotions.

“How would you feel if this was really said out loud, to have some of these things?” she speaks. “The important thing about a film is that it is both personal and communal at the same time. What if you heard these dangerous, honest things being said aloud while sitting next to your husband or your mother or your daughter? That seems to me a radical thing to consider and try to do.”

While Gyllenhaal has started producing in recent years, taking on that role with 2018 Kindergarten teacher and HBO series The Deuce, both of which she also starred in, she has never written or directed before. She wrote to Ferrante herself to ask if she could adapt Daughter is gone into a movie. Ferrante said yes, but only on the condition that the actress also direct the project — a vote of confidence that Gyllenhaal didn’t know she needed.

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Novelist even wrote a piece for Guardians confirmed Gyllenhaal as the film’s writer and director, saying, “Another woman found in that text good reason to test her creative powers. Gyllenhaal decided to provide a cinematic form not for my experience of the world but for hers, starting from Daughter is gone. It’s important to me – to her, to all women – that her job is hers and to be nice. ”

All of Gyllenhaal’s interactions with Ferrante are via email, and as always, the author remains anonymous. “That meant she was able to continue, throughout the process for me, the kind of supportive, feminine, cosmic force that’s out there in this world,” she said. “And that may look like however I need it to look.”

Initially, the project would be set in the US instead of the novel’s Italy, and was scheduled to shoot in New Jersey in July 2020. With COVID hit, Gyllenhaal had the idea to move production to Greece, where there was a middle-aged English scholar. reliable will go on vacation alone. The country’s low COVID rate means the cast and crew could get there in mid-August for a month-long filming.

Regarding his approach, Gyllenhaal wanted the film to have elements of horror and even horror in it. But she also wants viewers to feel a certain warmth and comfort while watching: “I want to create an environment for loving viewers, so that you can have the courage, hope, consider the the way you identify with this woman. who are doing these very transgressive and wrong things. It’s also the environment that I want to create for everyone on my set. A safe, loving environment where they are truly loved, so that they feel safe enough and brave enough to go into some dangerous body of water. “

“I want to create an environment for loving audiences, so that you can have the courage, hopefully, to consider the ways in which you empathize with this woman who is doing these very offending and disgruntled things.”

While Daughter is gone was shown at screenings throughout the fall and Gyllenhaal was able to participate in the audience Q&A and speak to people after they saw the film, she was struck by the way the women , especially personal and passionate, has internalized it. There is an honesty to Leda’s decisions and the things she said about motherhood that caused a backlash. It can cause pain and anger. Or it can be catalyzed, helping you feel less alone.

“I think people have felt comforted in the same way that I felt comforted reading Ferrante,” she said. “Like, ‘Yes, this is painful. Yes, this is darkness. Yeah, I’d like to remove this from my experience. ‘ And yet, there’s also something really comforting about seeing other people – not just this character in this movie, who we’re not prosecuting, but all the filmmakers and actors – admissible. admit that we can relate to her. So it’s okay if you also involve her. ”

Now that people are really starting to see and react to the film, Gyllenhaal has begun to reflect on her experience as a first-time director and the approach she has taken. Daughter is gone. When she conceived of the film, she married herself with the idea of ​​a classic horror film format. As an actress, she knows that when there’s a clear and familiar structure, “the audience can relax and say, ‘Okay, I understand the language of this movie,'” she said. “It makes space for a much more wild, alien expression, because you can hang your hat on that structure.”

But three weeks after she finished the above mix The lost daughter, she went to the Cannes Film Festival, where she was blown away when she saw films in which all the conventions she thought she needed to confine herself to were overblown by the filmmakers. , who her work is adjudicating in ways that challenge and amaze her. That got her excited about the future.

“I’m curious what my next movie will look like in the language of the next movie,” she said. “Because I think I didn’t know that I could be completely free.”

https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-lost-daughter-director-maggie-gyllenhaal-asks-the-dangerous-questions-am-i-fucked-up?source=articles&via=rss ‘The Lost Daughter’ director Maggie Gyllenhaal asks dangerous questions: ‘Is something wrong with me?’

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