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From the Archive: Luca Guadagnino

Nothing Concrete text
23 Jun 2020
35 min listen

We return to a series of interview speaking to bold and much-admired cinema director Luca Guadagnino and focus on two of his much admired films, 'A Bigger Splash' from 2015 and 'Call Me By Your Name' from 2017.

Sometimes it's important that you don't always have the complete palette. You can play with a limited amount of colours and you can create more colour out of that. 

From the Archive sees us dig into our extensive contemporary and classical music and cinema podcast archive as we rediscover interviews and discussions with artists, with our long-standing producer and presenter, Ben Eshmade.

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BE: Hello, and welcome to Nothing Concrete, the Barbican podcast. I'm Ben Eshmade and this week we return to a series of interviews, speaking to the bold and much-admired cinema director Luca Guadagnino. We focus on two of his much-admired films 'A Bigger Splash' from 2015 and 'Call Me By Your Name' from 2017. 

LG: A budget of a film is really something that binds you to the scale of your possibility of communication. I think it's like a family movie, it's the closest thing I could have ever done to a Disney movie.

BE: We begin with 'A Bigger Splash', the tale of rock star Marianne Lane, played by the director's longtime cinematic partner in crime, Tilda Swinton. Swinton's Bowie-like character is hiding on the remote island of Pantelleria in the Strait of Sicily with her companion, filmmaker boyfriend Paul, played by Matthias Schoenaerts. As she recovers from an operation on her voice, their lives are rudely interrupted by the arrival of old rock producer flame Harry, played by Ralph Fiennes, and his daughter Penelope, played by Dakota Johnson. In 2015, I spoke to the director.


BE: I thought an interesting place to start is when you're going from one film project to the other. So, going from 'I Am Love' to 'A Bigger Splash', does it flow into each other? Do you feel that one should contrast or it should complement the previous film?

LG: I think the answer is in the knowledge of yourself, like what do you know about yourself? What do I know about myself? And it's also very intuitive. So the question is more for an historian who will retrospectively see my work and try to understand how one thing went after the other? I mean there is not a rational answer to this, apart from the fact that it's all about, for me, being invested in the characters, in the story, the world of the movie in which I can be immersing myself for a number of months and years. 

BE: Did you ever abandon a project? 

LG: Well for any film that a director makes there are five that they doesn't succeed in making, and I am no exception.

BE: I think I read that you like having some constraints when you're making a movie?

LG: Constraints means that you have to find a way to go through things with a toolbox, and sometimes it's important that you don't necessarily have the entire palette. You can play with the nine unlimited amount of colours and you can create more colour out of that. It's about a constraint that asks your mental energy to develop to a degree in which you can really expand the constraints. It's a very efficient way of working in my opinion.

BE: Tilda Swinton is an actress that you've worked with for I think something in the region of 21 years. Someone you've come back to again...

LG: Well, first of all Tilda is a filmmaker, from where I'm concerned she is more than an actress. She's such a great three dimensional cineaste, there's so much more to her than just simply being an actress. My parents have been together for 48 years this year. Of course, it's fabulous, it's about humankind. It's what is the outcome of a long relationship that's so fascinating. 

BE: Ralph Fiennes, I believe, was someone else that you hadn't got to work with, but you've been very inspired by?

LG: Well, I've been drawn by Ralph since Schindler's List, but also through other great roles he played like 'Quiz Show' and 'Strange Days' and 'The End of the Affair', such a fantastic performances. And in 'The Grand Budapest Hotel', I saw the trailer to the film, and I realised there that Ralph was the right person to play this role because I saw how light he was in this trailer. Monsieur Gustave in Wes Anderson's film is of course a different kind of bird, he's a man of chivalry, he's a man of codes, he's a man of manners. Whereas Harry is a shutting man, someone would really destroy everything with the sort of pagan attitude, and this is this is truly fantastic that he could unleash himself into it so radically.

BE: I felt that he was exhausting himself in the role. He was just throwing himself and his energy as much as possible at the camera.

LG: I don't think he exhausted himself. I think Ralph is a scientist. He knows how to modulate the elements.

Harry Hawkes (Ralph Fiennes) in A Bigger Splash: I was angry with you. Yeah, I know I was strutting around, but you took everything so hard. And now what I've done, I've thrown you this square. Yeah, he's square, Marianne he's a square. There he's all cuddly and built for hibernating with, when you're stuck.

Marianne Lane (Tilda Swinton) in A Bigger Splash: I will always be grateful to you.

BE: I read the dance that he does in the film was something that he worked on for a long time.

LG: Yeah, it needed to feel like something completely natural and nothing's choreographed.

BE: Let's talk about the other two actors in the film. Dakota Johnson came on and I think she was one of the last people to come on to the project. What did you think was so hard to find, to fill her role?

LG: No, it wasn't hard to fill her role, it was a process that went this way. But when I met Dakota immediately, I felt that she was the perfect Penelope. And I'm glad because you know, life is very strange. Sometimes, it leads you somewhere that eventually you don't go anymore and you turn and that's the case with Dakota in 'A Bigger Splash'. She's such a great, witty, clever actress. I love her.

Penelope Lannier (Dakota Johnson) in A Bigger Splash: Would you think I was being ingratiating if I said I wanted to make documentaries? Just pick up a camera and go film the kids and Mansoura or something. 

Paul De Smedt (Matthias Schoenaerts) in A Bigger Splash: Have you been there?

Penelope Lannier (Dakota Johnson) in A Bigger Splash: I wouldn't let that stop me. 

Paul De Smedt (Matthias Schoenaerts) in A Bigger Splash: You want some advice?

Penelope Lannier (Dakota Johnson) in A Bigger Splash: Why? Because I'm a girl. 

Paul De Smedt (Matthias Schoenaerts) in A Bigger Splash: No, no, you should definitely go to Mansoura or Detroit. Whatever moves you. Just don't do it the Harry way. Just lay low. Keep your mouth shut.

Penelope Lannier (Dakota Johnson) in A Bigger Splash: Alright. I'm not afraid of that. Do you want some? 

Paul De Smedt (Matthias Schoenaerts) in A Bigger Splash: No, I don't smoke.

Penelope Lannier (Dakota Johnson) in A Bigger Splash: Doesn't mean you don't want some. 

Paul De Smedt (Matthias Schoenaerts) in A Bigger Splash: Yes, it does.

LG: I got David Kajganich, who wrote the script and is my dear friend and a great writer, to be with me in Pantelleria whilst shooting, in order for him to let the movie be embodied by the script and not the other way around. So every happening was really welcome. Everything that was happening in the real time of the shoot was really welcome,

BE: What interested me as well, and I think this goes back to one of the directors that you particularly enjoy, I was reminded of 'Stromboli' because the island was either crying or it was angry because of the wind and stuff like that.

LG: Roberto Rossellini is my personal God. And a voyage in Italy is the hidden homage, both hidden and not hidden there. Yeah, I love Rossellini. The island brings such a strong character to itself.

BE: And music, 'I Am Love' is an incredible showcase for the musical John Adams. But here we switch to the Rolling Stones.

LG: Well you switch to the Rolling Stones, because they are a character in the film, their spirit informs the film and inform the actions of characters such as Ralph's character. But also you still have John Adams, there is a great piece of John Adams in the soundtrack. And you have the great Antonio Carlos Jobim played in the movie, you have the great Popol Vuh, there is a lot of music. Sometimes you know what you want from the beginning of the writing process and they ended up being the same thing at the end, which is the emotional rescue dance. Sometimes you try things and you change your mind. But the spirit stays the same. 

BE: We start the film with Tilda Swinton's character as this incredible rock star and Bowie-esque figure, where they heroes of yours when you were growing up Bowie and the Rolling Stone? 

LG: Of course, they are still heroes of mine. 

BE: Do you think the film has a certain resonance now, unfortunately, that Bowie died a few weeks ago? 

LG: Well, it's a strange question. First of all, because I think regretfully not having any more Bowie with us, we still have Bowie between us and we shot the movie these two years ago. So, I don't think that the disappearance of the physicality of Bowie from the world has an impact on this film. But if the spirit of Bowie is in a way part of the spirit of 'A Bigger Splash' I'm glad and happy and proud.

Harry Hawkes (Ralph Fiennes) in A Bigger Splash: I gotta tell you a story about my contribution to Rolling Stones history. Keith is insisting no drums you know and we're working away and I think, no, no. I go to Keith and I say, okay, so can Ronnie do a track on pedal sheet? He goes, yeah, but no drums. I'm thinking what the fuck? So I give Mick castanets. So you've got Chuck Leavell on the harmonium and everyone is folding in all this beautiful shit. But this song is not taking off. So I say to Keith, do you trust me? He goes, yeah, if I promise, no drums, can we do a percussion track? He says, what's Charlie gonna play? And I'm thinking, yeah, what is Charlie gonna play, but I'm asking myself what's that sound, something not to crisp. And I look over and I see in the corner. Wait, what is it? 

LG: It was a fantastic idea that Tilda brought to the table. Something so compelling, so challenging in a way that was, now that I see the movie, I think how could she have thought it? It seems to be the only way and that's a sign of her greatness as an artist.

Harry Hawkes (Ralph Fiennes) in A Bigger Splash: It's a trash can. It's an aluminium fucking trash can. So I put Charlie out in the stairwell, put a mic three floors up. Charlie starts banging on it and we're off. A can for trash, human evolution in the Key of C.


BE: Moving now to 2017 and his follow up film, one which really brought his work to a more mainstream audience. A summer of music, food and a powerful and profound romance in 'Call Me By Your Name'.

Oliver (Armie Hammer) in Call Me By Your Name: Look at this. Good morning, professor. Good morning. Was I out that long. 

Elio's father (Michael Stuhlbarg) in Call Me By Your Name: How are you? 

Oliver (Armie Hammer) in Call Me By Your Name: Well rested, now. Thank you. 

Elio's father (Michael Stuhlbarg) in Call Me By Your Name: Would you like some espresso? 

Oliver (Armie Hammer) in Call Me By Your Name: I would love some, thank you very much. This looks amazing.

BE: This film is based on André Aciman's book with the screenplay by James Ivory. The story takes you back to the summer of 1983 in Italy, and centres on the meeting of the young Elio played by Timothée Chalamet and his encounter with Oliver, an academic play by Armie Hammer. Oliver has come to stay at Elio's parent's villa and a passionate relationship develops between them as they bond over music, food and the idea of being an outsider. I spoke again to Luca about the origins of this film.

LG: I read the book in 2008 when Peter Spears and Howard Rosenman, the producers who originated this project, they approached me because I was Italian and I was making films in Italy and they wanted to make this movie happen in Italy. So, I read the book because they wanted me to give them some advice. And so that was my first time with the book. It's funny because the film follows a very convoluted path until one day me and Ivory decided to write the book, the film together. Ivory was part of this group of people trying to make this movie happen as a producer since the beginning. But then, because we couldn't make this movie happen in the way the script that had been written originally, we said, why don't we try to make it together? So we work together on the script.

BE: But he didn't direct, he left that you. 

LG: We really wanted him to direct the film very, very much. But unfortunately, the law of the markets are cruel. And that version of the movie didn't happen, because we really hit all the walls which could have made this movie happen and it didn't happen. And then Peter came back to me and said, I think we can try to make it with a much smaller budget, if you will take the reins of it because, I could be faster and we could make it into a very small movie. And I said I would do it only if James would bless the choice and James blessed the choice and we tried again. It was a tiring year and a half of trying to put together the movie and eventually we made the movie for little money. 

BE: Well, you said it's a small movie, but the ideas are big. They're universal and they're incredible, I thought.

LG: That's why I don't believe that a budget of a film is really something that binds you to the scale of your possibility of communications. Think of 'Moonlight' it's a movie that I think was made on a million and a half [dollars]. And yet, the magnitude of this beautiful movie waves through place in time right now.

BE: Okay, so you have the screenplay and you're going to make the film. What was the first few steps? Do you need the actors in place? How do you decide? 

LG: I was in both the space and the place and the actors. But once I decided to try to make this movie happen by doing it myself, I also said let's make it in my hometown, because I knew the place and I wanted to create that kind of lazy, frozen kind of time that has to do with the summer in the plains of Lombardy. And at the same time, I said, let's go for Timothée, who I met before as a producer and I loved, and because he's a very intelligent, articulate and ambitious boy. And also with Armie Hammer, who I've always been a big fan of. And once they signed on the film, I felt like okay, we can go.

BE: One of the many themes of the film, for me, was this idea of translation or the way the film moves between different languages had a real sense of beauty about it.

LG: I'm fascinated by cosmopolitanism and fascinated by the use of language. My mother is Algerian, but she spoke to us in French. We grew up in Ethiopia, they were talking Italian, Ethiopian, Amharic, French and English. You know, like I sold myself into a cosmopolitan world. So, I guess it's something that has to do with, I feel at ease in that kind of shifting languages. No barriers in language, that's what I love. 

BE: And the other things in there, which I thought were really good on a similar theme was music. So, Elio plays the piano, it just connects with people on a very instinctual level, or later on with the dancing as well both things kind of transcend any explanation.

LG: Well, music is an art that can lead you to self-discovery and to connection. And Elio is a pianist. So, he is basically a sort of, subject of the transmission of that. This movie is all about the transmission of knowledge. It's about that idea. I think it's a family movie. It's the closest thing I could have ever done to a Disney movie, you know. So, it's really like if you think of a great Disney film like Snow White, it plays all the arts, including music and songs to convey something that is about a sort of beautiful, powerful transmission of knowledge. There is something about the wonderment of a child watching a film like Disney or like Miyazaki or Pixar, that it's about a very deep understanding of how you can make someone aware of something through the beauty of the connection with someone. So, I thought about that a lot. I do believe this is a family film. It's about a young boy learning to be himself, another boy learning to welcome that in himself. It's about a family who is really connected by the beauty of culture and the beauty of understanding and the capacity of loving and accepting the other without being biased by it.

BE: It's amazing how the mother and father are so open to the adventure. Even though they're not seeing first-hand, they are kind of instinctually aware that he's exploring his sexuality. 

LG: I think that was something that I really wanted it to be, very much. 

BE: The first word of the novel is 'later'. And that's another word that is within the screenplay as well. It's fun because it shows the different cultural styles that we come across in the film, this American coming into Italy, him adjusting to their way of life, but then they also take something from him. 

LG: I think it's always mutual. I wanted to use a song by David Bowie called Loving the Alien in this film. Then, because it was too didactic, I didn't use it. But this is a movie about loving the alien, in yourself and in the other. So, it's very important that they change through him and he changed through them. Not like in 'Theorem' by Pasolini, an agent of destruction, because these people, they don't need to destroy anything because they're really open people. 

BE: That's the thing that if I was talking to someone about the film, trying to explain how it doesn't judge, it doesn't blow up the drama. It just lets everything happen as it should, which we don't see in many films. 

LG: Thank you. I don't know what else to say. Thank you so much. It's great to hear. 

Oliver (Armie Hammer) in Call Me By Your Name: I never even heard of the Battle of Piave.

Elio (Timothée Chalamet) in Call Me By Your Name: The Battle of Piave is one of the most lethal battles of World War I, 170,000 people died.

Oliver (Armie Hammer) in Call Me By Your Name: Is there anything you don't know?

Elio (Timothée Chalamet) in Call Me By Your Name: I know nothing, Oliver.

Oliver (Armie Hammer) in Call Me By Your Name: Well you seem to know more than anybody else around here. 

Elio (Timothée Chalamet) in Call Me By Your Name: Well, if you only knew how little I know about the things that matter.

BE: The film being set in the 80s, how do you see that as important to the story? How does that affect the story?

LG: I think it's a very important moment that, '83 it's the moment in which the exciting and great experience of the 70s was collapsing into the Arianism of the 80s and the brutality of Reagan. So, that's probably the last summer of innocence probably for all of us, before this brutal individuality and extreme neoliberalism started to grow and grow to the corrupted depravity of what we are experiencing today

BE: Something I noticed that I know is important to you in your films, is there was a few moments where I felt you were painting a picture. There's one particular scene where you frame on a big landscape and we see the characters wheeling his way up. Obviously, the cinematography is something that you want to be right.

LG: I don't know if I want it to be right, I indulge, and I love the collaboration with great visual people. I love Sayombhu and I love Yorick Le Saux, my previous director of photography, I've worked with on two movies. It's something that has to do with empowering everybody who does a movie, every element of the movie has to be empowered. I don't know if it's about being right...

BE: Is it about resting between certain moments of action or not or reflecting?

LG: I think the moment that you're describing is one of the most tense moments of the film, where there is a brooding under the skin tension between these two people that are going toward the inevitable. So those contemplative shots in reality, they're the most hectic ones because the soul is very hectic in that moment. 

BE: And they challenge each other intellectually, which is quite interesting. They test each other out, you know, there's a moment where Elio's talking about the history with the statue. And that's quite interesting again.

LG: But everybody does that. Like even if you're not cultivated like Elio and Oliver are, you're going to challenge your other person because of maybe, I don't know the app on your phone. I have these you have that, you know, the intellectual challenge is the ground, it's always there in the seduction, I would say.

BE: And without giving too much away, the moment that broke me or the moment that I found so powerful was when the father is empathising with his son or showing him an understanding that only a father can I suppose.

LG: As I said to you, being a movie about the transmission of knowledge, that scene is, in a way, summarises all the concepts that we would try to pull off with this film.

Oliver (Armie Hammer) in Call Me By Your Name: What things that matter?

Elio (Timothée Chalamet) in Call Me By Your Name: You know what things.

Oliver (Armie Hammer) in Call Me By Your Name: Why are you telling me this?

Elio (Timothée Chalamet) in Call Me By Your Name: Because I thought you should know.

Oliver (Armie Hammer) in Call Me By Your Name: Because you thought I should know...

Elio (Timothée Chalamet) in Call Me By Your Name: Because I wanted you to know...because I wanted you to know...because I wanted you to know.


BE: As a bonus on this podcast we also covered Luca's next film, his remake of the 1977 Dario Argento cult horror 'Suspiria'. His impressive cast for this film included Dakota Johnson as Susie, Tilda Swinton as Madame Blanc, Chloë Grace Moretz as Patricia and Mia Goth as Sara.

Madame Blanc (Tilda Swinton) in Suspiria: I want to start work on a new piece, a piece about rebirth, the inevitable pole that they exert, and our efforts to escape them. Now, but Susie, you will improvise freely at its heart. I'm interested in your instincts here.

BE: A dance academy run by witches in 1977 Berlin. This is no ordinary film, I spoke to actor Mia Goth…It's a dark thriller, crazy mesmerising, horror, powerful, weird experience. I mean, would you agree?

MG: Yes, but on top of all of that, I also think it's a very tender film. And I think there are moments that are beautiful and explore womanhood and celebrate women and explore these ideas of femininity and sisterhood. And, that's one of the reasons I love it so much is because it is so layered.

BE: How did you get involved, where did the journey start for you with this film?

MG: I got sent the script from my agent, and then I very quickly after that had a Skype meeting with Luca, and he told me all about it and how he'd been a fan for many years, his whole life. And he had finally had the opportunity to recreate this but he was very specific and said it's not a remake. It's more of a reimagining and how he wanted his version to have dancers much more of a central theme, how he wanted it to be an all-female cast, and he told me how to Dakota and Tilda had already signed up for it and all of this was incredibly exciting for me.

BE: Did you find the original film? Or did you want to stick clear of it?

MG: I did watch it. But I watched it once I got to Italy. And I'd spoken to Luca all about it. And he told me and pointed out what it is I should watch and how to watch it and things they should look out for. And that made me appreciate and enjoy the original 'Suspiria' all the more.

BE: And were you a dancer, have you trained in dance?

MG: No! But I told Luca I had and I would have told Luca anything to have the chance to work with him. So that's why when I got the job, I cut my holiday short and two days later I was in Italy and I started dance training. We trained for two months before we started filming.

BE: Oh wow. That's intense, isn't it?

MG: Yeah, I loved it so much. It was so much fun. It was hard. It was brutal at times. But once you got it and you hit a milestone It was really addictive and really fulfilling as well.

BE: How did Luca describe the dance to you because, I think I'd be fair to say, it's a sort of a demonic dance of sorts.

MG: Yeah, he wanted to make something sensual, but equally something that wasn't seen through a male gaze. It's not voyeuristic in any sense. There's something very roar about it, very primal. It's very poetic. He wanted to make a dance that celebrated women. And he also had an incredible choreographer, Damien Jalet, who he respected and trusted entirely. And so, they very much collaborated with that and was very open to Damian's suggestions.

BE: And was this a great time to get to know some of your fellow cast members as well during these very exhausting rehearsals?

MG: Oh, yeah, that's how we bonded too. We were all in it together, really. And that's how I got to know Dakota and we became friends and we were very supportive of each other. And I remember she helped me, especially in those first couple of weeks where my body was literally being broken down, she would make me cups of tea and massage my feet at one point. She has a very maternal quality to her, which I was really taken with.

BE: Let's talk a little bit about the plot of the film. As you mentioned, Dakota, she plays Susie, and you become her best friend, I suppose.

MG: Yeah. And that was the easiest part of the job. She's so lovely. That was a breeze.

BE: And your character in the film is the one that starts to suspect this dance school isn't everything it should be?

MG: Yeah. Sara, my character, she kind of takes the audience by the hand and we figure out what's going on together. We kind of go through the ups and downs of what that entails. And she's sort of the voice of reason throughout the film.

BE: Had you seen much of Luca's work before?

MG: Yeah, 'I Am Love', 'Melissa P', 'A Bigger Splash'. He's a master at what he does. And I love the worlds that he creates. So, to be a part of that was a huge honour.

BE: And obviously, you've worked with other directors. Could you talk about it his directing style or how he gets what he considers a good performance out of you?

MG: Yes, he's very collaborative, which I love. He wants to hear from you. He wants to know what you think and what your take is on the scene and on the character. When he trusts you very much, he knows that you ultimately are going to have the best understanding of your character and what she would or wouldn't do. He also pushes you; he knows that he can get more from you if he pushes you just a little bit out of your comfort zone. And that's one of the biggest things that I took from working with Luca is to really trust yourself, even when you are uncomfortable because sometimes that's where your best work is. 

BE: Does he do lots of takes? 

MG: It varies, sometimes you could do two takes and then other times you might end up doing ten. He doesn't have one way. He's very malleable and fluid and it depends on what's right for that scene at that time.

BE: Does he do anything specific to create the atmosphere, especially on this film? I mean, does he play music at certain points? Was there anything that he did, or was that just there in regards to the set and the lighting?

MG: I think, well, Luca is the one that picked the location. And I think that's the ultimate act of ensuring that we were all in the right frame of mind. And I know for a fact that's partly why he wanted that location because it became a character in and of itself. It was so eerie and so untouched for all those years. I'd say that was probably a very smart move from Luca to pick that abandoned hotel.

BE: Did you have any nightmares? I mean, the characters have nightmares living in that in that place. Do they give you a few eerie moments?

MG: Yeah, absolutely. And it was very difficult to just go home and unwind because we went from one abandoned hotel on the hill and then we were staying in this very old hotel on another hill. So, you never really left. We were in this town outside of Milan, about an hour's drive, and there really isn't much going on there. That actually helps, too, because I find when you're in small towns like that you form much quicker and tighter bonds with the people you're working with. And we were there for four months. And it was all over the winter period. I mean, it was a long shoot. I think it's the longest shoot Luca has ever done. And, doing these horror movies, they're usually done quite quick and cheaply and they get turned around very quickly. But we really did take our time to make a quality movie, as you would with an any Luca movie. And I think you see that in the result. It was intense. So, we shot there. And then we also shot in Berlin, but only a couple of weeks there. It was challenging, but it's also such a luxury. You're able to go away to these towns and make a movie with whatever challenges or problems you might face. I always think ultimately, they're great problems to have, whatever it is that we're dealing with.

BE: What's nice about this, and I think it's unusual, is that there's a big cast and then there's two layers of cast as well because you mentioned the younger cast, a lot of which are the dancers. And then you have the teachers within that as well. Did you enjoy that experience?

MG: Yeah, very much so. I love the fact that I had an opportunity to work with all these incredible actresses, who were given a platform to shine and do what they do best. It was so empowering to see how they work and then how they deal with scenes and how they find that characters. I learnt so much through that process. I feel incredibly fortunate to have that under my belt and to have experienced that because unfortunately, it's all too rare still.

BE: I have to talk about Tilda Swinton who is a major collaborator with Luca from previous films. And I imagine on the set was the one that maybe helped define it a little bit or helped drive the film.

MG: Yeah, they've been talking about remaking 'Suspiria' for many, many years. So, when they finally did get to set, they really were collaborating the entire time. That was something I found really inspiring watching them together, and how they decided upon things for her characters and for the film as a whole. It's definitely something I would love to aim for in my career to have an artistic relationship of that calibre because they create such beautiful things.

BE: In your career so far, you've been involved in some projects, which are bordering on horror. I don't give anything away, but in this film you do get involved in quite a lot of special effects, what's that like? Is that something you just have to get through? Because it has to be done for the film? Or is that quite enjoyable because of the weirdness of it.

MG: It's actually really fun. Being a fan of cinema and watching films my entire life, to then actually see how it's all done and the magic behind it and realising all of that, it's really fascinating. It helps too, with the scenes. When you have that kind of thing going on makes it easier in a way

BE: What would you like when you watch the film through? I presume you couldn't quite imagine what it was going to be like until it finished. Or was it all there in the script?

MG: I mean, I was blown away. I really didn't know what to expect. And then I saw it. I always knew we were making something special. But then to see the final product with Thom Yorke's score and the editing and the colours, I was just so proud of what we had made. I'm also so grateful that it's been received the way it is.

BE: A favourite scene? Either one that you're in, or one that you enjoyed seeing from the other side?

MG: Towards the end, the big crescendo I love that. We filmed that for three days, and I really had no idea what they were going to do in the editing room and how it was going to come out. It's one of my favourite scenes I've ever seen. I think it's done beautifully.

BE: And where do you go next, as an actor?

MG: I feel I'll steer away from Horror for a while. I just want to keep working with directors that I admire. Directors that are making really interesting movies, with roles and characters that present some sort of challenge, people that aren't perfect with flaws - movies that matter.


BE: Mia Goth there, speaking about Luca's remake of the delightfully over the top 'Suspiria'. Going backwards, 'Call Me By Your Name' is one of the most moving and powerful love stories I've seen captured on film. And 'The Bigger Splash' is worth watching for Fiennes' dancing and Tilda Swinton just being her usual amazing self. I'm Ben Eshmade, thanks for listening to this archive edition of Nothing Concrete, the Barbican podcast here to inspire more people to discover and love the arts with weekly episodes of archive finds and themed series. Subscribe to Nothing Concrete on Acast, Spotify or wherever you find your podcasts. And if you can, leave us a review to help us get the word out.

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