From the office of his name brand headquarters in London, Ford smiles at the mention of Firth’s Oscar speech shout-out. “It was so sweet of him” says the 54-year-old superstar designer, who became world famous two decades ago as the creative director of Gucci and Saint Laurent. “Colin is a very loyal, solid, terrific person and I was so spoiled to make my first film with him.”
Ford has been even more spoiled on his follow-up movie, the dark, wicked, double-narrative Nocturnal Animals, which stars
Jake Gyllenhaal (seen here in these exclusive images) in the lead roles. Like Ford’s debut film, this one is also based on a novel, which Ford once again adapted into a screenplay himself.
The 1993 book Tony and Susan was written by a Cincinnati author named Austin Wright, who died in 2003 at the age of 80. It starts with such a tantalizing hook: A married woman named Susan receives in the mail a manuscript called Nocturnal Animals from her ex-husband, Edward, who she hasn’t spoken to in years. As she begins to read Edward’s book — a tense page-turner about a family under siege by hoodlums on the highway late at night — we read it right along with her. And we wonder, what does it all mean? Is the book an act of forgiveness? Or an act of revenge?
Ford was certainly intrigued, enough so that he optioned the book’s rights. “I think that what Edward has done,” he says, “is written this book and sent it to his ex-wife and through that, he’s saying, ‘This is what you did to me.’ But it took him 20 years to express himself to her. And what really spoke to me was the whole part about the choices we make in our life. And how long we sometimes wait to make them.”
In the story-within-the-story, we meet Tony (Gyllenhaal), his wife (Isla Fisher), and their daughter (Ellie Bamber) as they depart for vacation in their car and cross paths with three dangerous men (led by Aaron Taylor-Johnson) on the road.
Their plot is filmed with extreme faithfulness to the novel — but Ford’s boldest move was to make the world of Susan (Adams) so adventurously different than it was in the source material, where she is basically just sitting on a couch flipping pages in the book. In Nocturnal Animals, Susan is a complex, avant garde artist living in Los Angeles, dealing with feelings of apathy and a growing isolation from her husband (Armie Hammer). She’s seen here in her sleek, modern-art-dappled home, as played by Adams.
Nocturnal Animals is expected to appear at film festivals this fall before opening in theaters on November 18th from Focus Features.Ford promises an experience. “What is movie-making," he asks, "other than an hour and 50 minutes to do something in a cinematic way that says to an audience, ‘Boom, boom, boom.’”
“I can over-think everything and find a million ways to doubt myself. And since Charles left, I’ve been thinking… about that part of myself and I’ve just come to realize that we’re only here briefly.” – Her (2013) dir. Spike Jonze