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HomeEntertainmentMaggie Gyllenhaal is a natural-born director. Netflix gives her the spotlight

Maggie Gyllenhaal is a natural-born director. Netflix gives her the spotlight

Maggie Gyllenhaal has devoured films and books for so long as she will keep in mind, and she or he at all times seen that when it got here to tales about girls, it’d often really feel like some form of fantasy or wish-fulfillment model of what it’s wish to be truly be a girl.

As a rule, these movies and books had been written by males, however typically girls wrote them too as a result of the custom of this sort of storytelling was so pervasive that it was nearly inescapable. Taking all this in, Gyllenhaal started to marvel: Am I OK? As a result of what I’m feeling is a little bit stranger, a little bit darker, a little bit extra joyful than what I’m seeing portrayed.

Then at 16, Gyllenhaal noticed Jane Campion’s “The Piano,” and she or he felt one thing articulated that she’d by no means seen on display screen. A few many years later, Gyllenhaal started studying the novels of Elena Ferrante, the nameless Italian creator of the four-book collection of “Neapolitan Novels” in addition to “The Misplaced Daughter,” the e-book Gyllenhaal would find yourself adapting and directing as her function debut.

Premiering on the Venice Movie Competition — the place it could go on to win Gyllenhaal the jury prize for finest screenplay after this interview was carried out — earlier than screening on the Telluride Film Festival, “The Misplaced Daughter” follows Leda (Olivia Colman), a divorced professor who turns into emotionally concerned and borderline obsessive about a younger mom (Dakota Johnson) whereas vacationing on a Greek island.

Flashbacks present why Leda (performed as a youthful lady by Jessie Buckley) is likely to be zeroing in on a girl combating the calls for of motherhood. Mixing components of a psychological thriller with an astute, uncompromising character examine, Gyllenhaal’s film will doubtless generate loads of dialog when it lands in theaters on Dec. 17 and two weeks in a while Netflix.

I chatted with Gyllenhaal, recent off a night ingesting tequila (only one shot, she says, due to the altitude) and dancing to Greek music at a small dinner held within the movie’s honor at Telluride.

Olivia Colman as Leda and Dakota Johnson as Nina in “The Misplaced Daughter.”

(Yannis Drakoulidis / Netflix)

Once we final spoke, you informed me that whenever you learn Ferrante’s “Days of Abandonment,” it disturbed you a lot that you just actually dropped it and didn’t choose it again up for 2 days. What about “The Misplaced Daughter”?

It was the identical as all of the Ferrante books. I believed, “This lady is so f—ed up.” After which within the subsequent breath, “Really, I actually relate to her. Am I f—ed up or is that this a typical expertise that many individuals have that isn’t being talked about?” Which is a comforting feeling as a result of it means you’re not alone.

So I believed, “Let’s take that terror of recognizing your self in one thing painful, darkish, shameful, complicated, aberrant and never simply really feel it on their lonesome in your room. Put it on a display screen in a giant room full of individuals sitting in the dead of night collectively, the place you is likely to be sitting subsequent to a girl who you’ve by no means met earlier than or your husband or your mother or your daughter. Then there’s a risk for one thing radical to occur.” That’s what made me wish to adapt it right into a film.

In what methods did you relate to her because the mom of two daughters?

We’re by no means informed the darkest, most painful and shameful emotions that I believe everyone feels whereas parenting. Parenting pushes you to the sting. Parenting stretches you in locations you’ve by no means been earlier than. So how may it not embrace — together with the enjoyment, the ecstasy, the large happiness — all the opposite colours of the rainbow? The fear, the anxiousness. When you don’t speak about these issues, you get to feeling suffocated like Leda does. When you speak about them, you would possibly have the ability to cope. Not less than you recognize you’re not alone.

A woman reading a script wears a mask while four men in the background sit at a table.

Maggie Gyllenhaal on the set of “The Misplaced Daughter.”

(Yannis Drakoulidis / Netflix)

You informed me a narrative as soon as about your oldest daughter being form of obsessive about having you learn “Homicide on the Orient Specific.” And also you had been pleased to — simply not in the meanwhile whenever you had been working. There’s a scene within the film that just about mirrors that.

Sure. With my daughter, I questioned if she will really feel {that a} piece of my thoughts is elsewhere and she or he needs it again together with her. She feels that change the place I’ve one thing else on my thoughts — and it’s fairly intense and it’s fairly profound and she or he’s attempting to get my consideration, attempting to get my focus, attempting to regulate me a little bit bit. I’m proud to say that I did learn that e-book after we completed. I didn’t wish to. However I did. And it was enjoyable.

You had six weeks to make this film, your first time directing. Your husband [actor Peter Sarsgaard] is within the film. And I perceive you introduced your daughters to Greece …

Sure, and Peter did the heavy lifting with them. I’d get in mattress with them on the finish of the day and we might watch “The Nice British Baking Present.” I’d go to sleep, after all. [Laughs]


Olivia Colman as Leda and Paul Mescal as Will in “The Misplaced Daughter.”


This is able to be a bizarre film to check display screen. You’d get playing cards again — that lady is so unlikable! However what was it like getting suggestions in your directorial debut in the course of the pandemic?

Folks gave me a number of useful notes whereas I used to be writing it. Peter gave me a very good one once I was actually jamming. He informed me I wanted to maneuver a second earlier within the script. I used to be like, “No. And f— you.” And for weeks I used to be like, “No, the script is working,” then, “No, god, f— you’re proper.”

However I didn’t see the film with an viewers till Venice. I arrived to town a little bit early. I believed so long as I’m right here, I’m going to go to the opening ceremony. I’m going to see movies. I’m going to see Jane Campion’s movie [“The Power of the Dog”]. I used to be thrilled to be invited, so I’m going to take all of it in. However I noticed looking back that I used to be holding my breath the entire time.

After which I’m sitting within the theater subsequent to Olivia and Dakota who had by no means seen it, and I may really feel their vulnerability. I do know that feeling as an actor. However I obtained out of that screening and I felt like I used to be strolling on air. And now I simply wish to create issues. I miss performing, however making this film gave me the most effective feeling.

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