Maggie Gyllenhaal on Why ‘The Lost Daughter’ Is Set in Greece

Fans of Elena Ferrante’s novels Daughter is gone may have realized that the Maggie Gyllenhaal film adaptation takes place in a different European country than the book. But Gyllenhaal, who wrote and directed the film, says that her repetition of Daughter is gone was originally supposed to be set in the US, before a series of obstacles forced the production team to move to Greece.

“I originally adapted the movie to take place in the United States, and that’s what I sold Ferrante to,” says Gyllenhaal. THR Gifts, provided by Vision Media. “I said, I want to adapt it to happen here. It’s like an eastern plank, nameless but a watercolor Gothic town, probably in Maine – you know, boardwalk, cotton candy and lobster rolls, stuff like that. And it works fine. “

But when she realized that Maine got a 5% tax break, she knew it wouldn’t be possible to have a low-budget movie like the one they were making. They then diverted to New Jersey and started filming there, but quickly realized that it didn’t fit the plot either. The pandemic hit and production was half-funded, so Gyllenhaal and her producers looked at other locations in North America, like Nova Scotia and elsewhere around the world due to the pandemic. the international character of the film crew.

“One day, out of nowhere, I said, ‘What about Greece?’ In Greece, I can be an outsider looking into and the way [Leda] is an outsider looking in. And even if I don’t understand what the groceries in the supermarket look like there, she doesn’t, and so that’s okay,” Gyllenhaal said. “And as soon as I say, Greece, we can’t be stopped. We were in Greece three weeks later.” It’s August 2020.

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The lost daughter, Nominated for three Academy Awards including Best Adapted Screenplay, stars Olivia Colman (Oscar nomination for best actress), Dakota Johnson, Ed Harris, Jessie Buckley (Oscar nomination for actress). best supporting actor) and Peter Sarsgaard and follows Leda (Colman), a woman who must confront her dark past during her beach vacation.

Gyllenhaal said it was one of the first US products to be made back in time during the pandemic, before a vaccine was available and while SAG was still figuring out the protocols to get back to setting.

She explains: “I remember someone telling me that you need to put on paper every time any actor touches another actor and any time they touch a prop. “And I thought, let’s not make the movie because that’s never going to work for my movie. Everyone will have to freely touch each other. Like, really, let’s not make the movie. And then people go back to the drawing board, and they say, ‘OK, that’s right. Through many.'”

Gyllenhaal says she was drawn to Ferrante’s novel because she felt the author was “incredibly honest about the experience of being a woman in this world”.

“I had never heard some of the things she wrote about explicitly before, and I found it really amazing and shocking,” she said. “I thought, what if instead of sitting alone in a room with these books, listening to the truths being told, what if I could put it in a community context? ? Like a movie theater where you actually hear these things out loud, then you know, the cat really came out of the bag. There’s no going back from there about taboos about our experience in the world. “

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When she was writing the screenplay for the film, Gyllenhaal said that she didn’t have a specific actor idea for the role, but did have some fantasies about her character that became clearer as she She continued to write, but who actually joined the cast was very different from what she had envisioned, “it was a real gift.”

“Olivia was cast first, and I was really curious who she thought would be interesting to play her at a young age and we talked about a handful of actresses,” Gyllenhaal said. “It was Olivia who introduced me to the idea of ​​Jessie Buckley, whom I didn’t know her job, and the same weekend she and I had lunch to talk about her acting, wild roses go out [in which] Jessie plays a Scottish singer who wants to be a Country West singer. … I think there are a lot of good actors, and I think there are only a very few who are really, really good. And I think Jessie is one of them. And then Ed, Dakota, I think, and my husband will always be in it. I wrote everyone in the movie for Peter [Sarsgaard] in a way, and of course, he played in a really consistent way. “

From the very beginning, Gyllenhaal knew she would be directing the film as well.

“Looking back now, maybe I was always a director or that was somehow always what I was aiming for, I didn’t even let myself think about it or consider it, I didn’t even think about it. Gyllenhaal explained. “I love acting, and I miss it. But I think I thought, because I’m always trying to resist something when I’m acting, you know, I think, that’s just part of the artistic experience, you know, that’s it, you use the obstacles you present to create more demand. And now that I’ve become a director, I find it very different, it’s completely expansive. You can create, you right create, boundaries for yourself, but they mine boundary. “

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This edition of THR Gifts brought to you by Netflix.

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