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'Alps' Director Yorgos Lanthimos on Following Up 'Dogtooth,' His Move to England and What He Finds Boring

Photo of Nigel M Smith By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire July 12, 2012 at 11:26AM

'Alps' Director Yorgos Lanthimos on Following Up 'Dogtooth,' His Move to England and What He Finds Boring
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"Alps"
Kino Lorber "Alps"

What can you divulge about your English language debut?

Actually I have three projects going on at the moment.

Wow, OK!

The only thing I can say is that they're all very different from one another. There's one that we're writing with Efthymis who wrote "Dogtooth" and "Alps" with me. It will be like one of our worlds, but a bigger one this time. It has a bit of a fantasy or science fiction element to it. At the same time I'm attached to a British period film, which is very different. Who knows how that's going to turn out?

Did you write that as well?

No, that's a project that was offered to me. We're rewriting the script at this moment with other writers. And the third is a book adaptation, which is very early on.

Also in English?

Yeah. I've moved to London so I'm trying to set up things there, thinking that it might be the sane thing to do. It might end up that it's not.

"I'm very open to making films anywhere in the world."

That begs the question: why England over America? Is it just a matter of distance?

Well I think it's that England is still Europe. It is more familiar in a way. It was easy for me to do the intermediates steps, like meeting and interacting with people even from Greece. I could easily go back and forth.

I have nothing against doing it in the U.S., though not in the Hollywood system at the moment. I wouldn't go there to pursue these kind of projects. I do meet people from there, and I do investigate the possibilities of doing something there. But that's a different ballgame to me. It's like making a different kind of genre.

And then there's the other thing -- the independent market in America. I'd like to pursue that, but it's practically harder for me. Up to a point there was a discussion to bring "Alps" to New York with producers here, which we abandoned because it couldn't happen as fast as we wanted it.

I'm very open to making films anywhere in the world. Not just because it's hard to make films in Greece. Even if it was easy, I would want to expand and explore different cultures. Maybe the next film is going to be in Asia, which I love. I'd love to be able to move around the world and really draw from all these different places.

"Alps"
Kino Lorber "Alps"

Going back to "Alps" -- the plot begs the question: what the hell inspired it?

To us it doesn't seem so unique [laughs]. It seems unique enough to explore, but I think it just seemed natural to us. This one just came by discussion with Efthymis. We had shown "Dogtooth" in Cannes and were thinking about what we could do next. There was a discussion about what happens when you did -- does anyone remember you; how long does it take for people to forget about you? At some point Efthymis had an idea about people who have lost someone, asking from someone else to write them letters, pretending to be someone that had died to keep some kind of connection with them. I thought that was interesting, but I wanted to make it cinematic and engaging.

So I thought about the story of the nurse in the hospital. It seemed much more interesting and complex if she actually physically tried to stand in for these people. It could be associated with so many different things, not just death. It became about these people who are offering this service.

This article is related to: Interviews, Alps, Yorgos Lanthimos






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