Tony Kaye's first film this decade is "Detachment" — and his follow-up is called "Attachment." Though they're not part of the same story, the two projects are related, the director told The Playlist.
"Both films are about love," Kaye explained. "It's the journey from detachment to attachment in 'Detachment,' and it's about the love of mankind. And 'Attachment' is about love for the self alone, with no interest in how the other person feels, and how that is damaging."
"Detachment" follows a substitute teacher as he learns to engage with his high school students as well as a fourteen-year-old runaway, while "Attachment" revolves around a college-age student (Tom Felton, who just joined the cast today) who is obsessed with and starts stalking an older woman (Sharon Stone) after they have a one-night stand. "It's a continuation of my exploration of love," Kaye said. "Maybe all my films are."
Most of Kaye's other projects have been in limbo for years, including the unreleased "Black Water Transit" and "Lobby Lobster." Kaye shot the bulk of the post-Katrina thriller "Black Water Transit" in 2008, and screened it at Cannes in 2009, but the film has been stuck in the courts ever since. (It's set to go to trial at a still-to-be-determined date, as Miramax co-owner Ronald Tutor and financier David Bergstein continue motions in Los Angeles Superior Court.) [Read the complaint here]
Lamenting the ongoing legal struggles, Kaye noted that he wasn't the only director affected by all the litigation with the financiers, citing David O. Russell's "Nailed" (which is mostly shot save for one crucial scene) as being a similar situation. "We all got caught up in this, and we all ended up on the washing line," Kaye said. "But I'm in constant touch with the producer and we're going day to day to see how this plays out."
Despite the delay, the director still says that he hasn't made any progress with the project in the past year, but hopes to finish it soon. "It's a wonderful story, with a number of powerhouse performances from the likes of Brittany Snow, Laurence Fishburne, and Stephen Dorff," Kaye said. "It takes place three or four months after the flood, and it's about the connections between each of them, but I won't be sure what it's all about until I'm done with it."
Since he's been editing "Black Water Transit" for "quite a while," Kaye said he never really knows what a film is until it's locked. "The film we made so far is not the film they expected," he said. "But as you edit, you learn more about the subject matter, and more about the actors, and nothing is set in stone. Movies are made many times — once in the writing, once in preproduction, once again during the shoot, once again in editing, in post, and again when you put it in the marketplace. These things, they change all the time, and that's what I love about it, the constant reinvention."
"Lobby Lobster" is also already shot, for the most part, since the director has been working on it for over a decade. "We're still working on it all the time," Kaye allowed, "but we're getting there eventually."
The experimental film features Nat Faxon, now an Oscar winner for his work on the screenplay for "The Descendants" with writing partner Jim Rash and Alexander Payne. "There's no real script, which is wonderful," Kaye said, "but I really don't know what it's about. Perhaps it's about chaos, or connections, or how chaos is mapped out and calibrated in a mathematical way. There are no accidents."
Which will hit theaters first — "Attachment," which shoots in April, or the already shot "Lobby Lobster" or "Black Water Transit"? "Please, God, let it be one of them!" Kaye laughed. "I've learned how to walk, and I want the opportunity to run. I think 'Detachment' is going to give me that. I got an email from Bob Shaye who used to run New Line last week — just completely out of the blue, I don't even know where he got my email from, he's never even phoned me before — and he pointed out how emotionally engaged he was with 'Detachment.' That was a fantastic email."
"Detachment" opens this weekend in limited release and is on VOD now.