What’s the premise behind Whoever Was Using This Bed, your new short film?
The film is based on a short story by Raymond Carver, whose writing served as a foundation for the film Birdman. The premise of Whoever Was Using This Bed is a confronting life-and-death question that is ignited in the minds of an insomniac married couple. The couple are played by two superb performers: the French/American actor Jean-Marc Barr from The Big Blue and Australian actress Radha Mitchell, whose work I loved in Woody Allen’s Melinda And Melinda.
How much does it draw from the text on which it’s based, and where does it differ?
Every film adaptation is a reimagining of the text on which it’s based. The original story is in essence a darkly funny and very touching dialogue between a married couple. The film expands upon that and incorporates another element, a mysterious phone caller voiced by the wonderful Jane Birkin, who develops a strange connection with Jean-Marc’s character.
Is it a straight-up drama, or is there more to the film than that?
People who’ve seen the film have told me that it plays like an intimate American drama from the ’70s, but there’s definitely a visual quality to the film that evokes classic film noir. I think it also has an emotionally unnerving and suspenseful quality to it. It feels a bit like a thriller.
When it came to creating the mystery and unsettling atmosphere, were there many filmmakers’ tricks you relied on or avoided?
I just tried to be honest in my creative choices. So I guess honesty was probably my only filmmakers’ trick! This project had a long development – almost seven years – and we were very lucky to work with Altaire Productions, who backed us all the way. Time gives you the opportunity to really think about every decision you’re making, from writing, to casting, to key creatives. Then you need to just let it all happen on the set. Good filmmaking is good collaboration, and I love working with open-hearted and talented people.
Flickerfest will mark the film’s Australian premiere, but where else has it or will it show overseas?
It’s shortlisted for a couple of great international film festivals, so fingers crossed! And I’m really looking forward to sharing the film at Flickerfest, which is a fantastic festival with such a diverse selection of films from all over the world.
Whoever Was Using This Bed is showing as part of Flickerfest 2016. The festival runs at Bondi Pavilion from Friday January 8 – Sunday January 17.