While she remains one of the definitive American movie stars of her generation, Faye Dunaway hasn’t appeared in a major film production in years. Her last onscreen was role the 2010 TV movie “A Family Thanksgiving,” and it’s been decades since she appeared in anything that has received the degree of attention and acclaim paid to the definitive projects from her earlier career, such as “Network” and “Chinatown.”
But that doesn’t mean Dunaway has dropped off the scene. In fact, the 73-year-old actress has arguably increased her aspirations in recent years by taking a shot at her directorial debut, an adaptation of Terrence McNally’s 1995 play “Master Class” about the late opera singer Maria Callas, whom Dunaway played onstage to great acclaim. Later, Dunaway bought the rights to the play and announced her intention of writing, directing and starring in the film.
Early last year, Dunaway acknowledged that shooting was currently underway on Twitter, sharing photos from the set and singing the praises of her son Liam Dunaway O’Neill and Danielle de Niese, calling their performances “electric.” Then came radio silence: While IMDb and Wikipedia both suggest the film is in post-production, over a year later, there hasn’t been much in the way of updates about “Master Class.”
Dunaway cleared up the story to some degree yesterday at the Locarno Film Festival, where she was honored and engaged in a public discussion with Locarno artistic director Carlo Chatrian. While she briefly addressed the production during the event, she left the details vague. However, when Indiewire briefly caught up with Dunaway later that night, the actress-turned-filmmaker hinted at behind-the-scenes setbacks. “We’ve had some drama,” she said. “A fraud was perpetrated on the production.” Though she refused to elaborate, it’s likely that Dunaway was referring to a court case from 2011 in which an editor sued her over alleged unpaid wages.
However, she confirmed that she has completed the first half of the film and plans to shoot the rest this fall.
She added that she felt confident about her current team. “I had a wonderful director of photography and first assistant director,” she said. “I knew enough to get them because I knew they’d help me so much.”
However, Dunaway said she hoped to refrain from discussing much more about the movie until it was finished. “We’re going to build the buzz,” she said, before being whisked into a festival car and off to the airport.