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“There Was Not A Clear Understanding Of The Kind Of Movie We Were Making”: Susanne Bier Gets Candid About ‘Serena’

"There Was Not A Clear Understanding Of The Kind Of Movie We Were Making": Susanne Bier Gets Candid About 'Serena'

How could it have gone so wrong? That was the question many were asking about “Serena.” From any perspective, it looked like a no-brainer success, with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper taking the lead roles in a Depression-era drama based on the best-selling book by Ron Rash. However, it seems from the moment cameras rolled in 2012, something was off. The buzz on the picture was not good; there were rumblings of behind-the-scenes turmoil; and two years later, the movie quietly premiered at the BFI London Film Festival, and the reviews were not kind.

Director Susanne Bier (“After The Wedding,” “In A Better World“) survived the production, and is at the helm of highly anticipated upcoming series “The Night Manager” starring Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie. But when asked about “Serena” by Variety, the filmmaker was candid about what led to the film’s failure. 

READ MORE: BFI London Film Festival Review: Susanne Bier’s Long-Delayed ‘Serena’ Starring Jennifer Lawrence & Bradley Cooper

“Serendipity is essential for any kind of moviemaking, and I think that movie suffered particularly after filming. It definitely suffered from a lack of serendipity. It suffered from being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I think that possibly, the different expectations of what the movie was going to be weren’t aligned. At some point, it changed tracks. I will never do that again,” she explained.
“What happened with ‘Serena’ was that there was not a clear understanding of the kind of movie we were making. And also, I think the mistake I won’t ever make again is not being abundantly convinced that whoever is financing the movie is totally in agreement about what kind of movie this needs to be,” she added. “It’s one of the pitfalls of movies in general because there has to be a very distinct vision. One that vision becomes soft; it just can’t really be a very strong piece.”

READ MORE: Susanne Bier Says ‘Serena’ Was “Never A Mainstream Film,” Talks “Anxious” Bradley Cooper & Jennifer Lawrence

In essence, she chalks it up the pieces not coming together and second-guessing by other parties involved, and hey, sometimes that happens. And the experience hasn’t put Bier off working on another Hollywood project. 

“I’d love to do that and I wouldn’t be worried about it. Because with the right project and with taking the time, making sure that the movie I want to make and the movie the studio wants to make is the same movie — then I’d be very happy to do that. I’d be very confident that it would be amazing. I think what wouldn’t work is somehow not getting those ideas totally in sync,” she said.
“The Night Manager” arrives on the small screen later this year.

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