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APRIL 2010

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DIRECTOR’S CHAIR Neil Jordan— Ondine T By IAIN BLAIR A modern-day fairy tale. ORONTO — Irish writer/director Neil Jordan first made an impact in Hollywood with his 1986 tale of ob- sessive love Mona Lisa, and then joined the big leagues with 1992’s The Crying Game, which earned six Oscar nominations and a win for his screenplay. Since then, his credits have included both big Hollywood produc- tions and smaller films ranging from We’re No Angels and Interview with the Vampire to Michael Collins and The Butcher Boy. But Jor- dan’s varied work, which also includes The Brave One, Angel, The Company of Wolves, High Spirits and In Dreams, has always fared best outside the Hollywood system. His latest film, Ondine, which he also wrote and produced, was shot entirely on location near his home in Ireland, and is a modern fairy tale starring Colin Farrell as an Irish fisherman whose life is transformed when he catches a beautiful and mysterious woman (Alicja Bachleda) in his nets.While at the Toronto Film Festival premiering his new film, Jordan took time to chat with Post.He spoke about making the film, his love of post, and the death of film. POST: What sort of film did you set out to make? NEIL JORDAN: “I wanted to make a fairy tale set in reality.A series of misunder- standings that lead to a fairy tale, and I wanted to create something very romantic and very Irish.” POST: What were the biggest challenges? Is it Neil Jordan: “I love editing and choosing the shots, and then you have to recon- figure the film and add the music and sound — all the fun stuff.” true you had one of the worst summers on record in Ireland when you were shooting? JORDAN: [Laughs] “Yes,we don’t experi- ence summers anymore at all, just rain. I wrote the script specifically so that it could be shot all around the place where I have a house, in Castletownbere in Cork, on the west coast. I’d written it with all the locations in mind and I wanted to be able to just drive five or 10 minutes in any direction and get to the locations. But it rained a lot. On the other hand, it was very beautiful and the DP got all these magical landscapes. It was over- cast all the time, but it was very magical, and it suited the story perfectly.” POST: After shooting Titanic and The Abyss James Cameron told me, “Never, ever shoot in water!” So how tough was this, particu- larly all the fishing scenes? 16 Post • April 2010 POST: Do you like the post process? JORDAN: “I love post. For me, it’s the nicest time of all on a film as the craziness of JORDAN: “It was hard, but luckily we had pretty limited underwater scenes.There’d been some talk of using visual effects and a tank, but in the end we didn’t even use a tank.We actually shot in the real sea.We just the shoot is over and now you get to sit down and really see what you have. I love editing and choosing the shots, and then you reconfigure the film and add the music and sound — all the fun stuff.” Jordan’s longtime editor Tony Lawson cut Ondineon an Avid. plunged the camera in with the actors and went for it, and I thought it was fascinating, because when you shoot in a tank the water’s always clear and you can almost see too much.The mystery’s gone. But in the real sea, it’s all churning and brown with an almost amber texture to the water and quite beautiful, but it was very cold.” POST: That must have been hard on the actors? JORDAN: “It was, very hard. But they did- n’t complain too much. Alicja was a real trooper even though she must have been freezing in all those scenes where Colin first fishes her out of the ocean.” POST: You write most of the scripts you shoot. Is it a big advantage being both the writer and director? JORDAN: “I think it is in the way that if anything goes wrong, you can rewrite it very quickly yourself and hopefully fix the prob- lem. I actually approach filmmaking from a writing standpoint, so when I’m directing, I’m still thinking in terms of the writing a lot.” POST: Where did you do the post? How long was the process? JORDAN:“We did all the post in Dublin at Windmill Lane Studios, and all the sound at Ardmore Studios in Dublin. The shoot was about eight weeks, and post was quite long, about six months.” POST: This was edited by Tony Lawson, your longtime editor who also cut such films as Michael Collins,The Butcher Boy and In Dreams for you. How does that relation- ship work? JORDAN: “Tony’s a very experienced ed- itor who’s done some truly amazing work in cinema. He actually began his career work- ing with Stanley Kubrick, for whom he edited Barry Lyndon, and Sam Peckinpah, for whom he cut Straw Dogs, and then he did a lot of work for Nicolas Roeg, including films like Track 29 and Bad Timing, so it’s been a great honor to work with him for me. And after so many films together I have a very close relationship with him. In fact, right at the start I always show him the script, and it’s almost as if I need to get his approval first before I even begin [laughs]. “He always comes on location with me, as you have to start cutting while you’re shoot- ing, so if there are any holes or extra scenes

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