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April 04, 2019 | posted by Lara Klaber in Filmmakers
It’s probably fair to say not many modern films are inspired by books from the late 1600s. All it took to make one happen was a chance visit to a crumbling chateau outside of Paris for director Oliver Krimpas.
The chateau, which had been purchased by Krimpas’ oldest friend, had been the setting for Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle’s Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds, widely considered the first work of popular science. The book is a thinly fictionalized account of Fontenelle’s relationship with the lady of the house--five nights of flirtatious evening walks and discussions of the cosmos.
When a film Krimpas and his partner Jon Kiefer has been working on failed to materialize, the duo pursued a smaller production with only a few characters at a single location. What resulted was “Around the Sun,” which tells the story of a film location scout (Gethin Anthony of “Game of Thrones” fame) touring an aging chateau. Over the course of an afternoon, he falls for the owner’s representative (Cara Theobold of “Downtown Abbey”), who is recounting the story of a popular book whose story took place on the grounds.
Sounds like everyone’s favorite 17th century cosmic romance, no?
“(Kiefer) came up with various ideas for stories we could set there, but it wasn’t until he brought Fontenelle into the mix that it all seemed to gel,” Krimpas says. “And he very quickly wrote a draft that’s pretty close to what you’ll see on screen.”
The cosmic energy between Anthony and Theobold is the heart of the film, though the chateau serves as an almost character itself. Being surrounded by so much beauty at the chateau, Krimpas says, was “incredibly nourishing creatively and so stimulating to be around.”
“(Cara and Gethin) also had an enormous amount of dialogue to learn, so they were sequestered after each shoot day learning the following day’s lines,” Krimpas says. “So it really helps that they got on so well. There is great intimacy in the film, but it’s all conveyed by how they act in reaction to each other, rather than with each other, so we had to have a palpable sense of unrequited attraction. And boy did they pull that off.”
The Cleveland International Film Festival is hosting the world premiere for the film. As for what he hopes audiences get from the film, Krimpas has no expectations, only curiosities.
“What’s most interesting about a film is that you can never really tell what an audience will get from it,” Krimpas says. “Once it’s out there, it’s theirs. So what I’m really looking forward to is hearing what people bring to the film as much as what they take away from it. Or how their own experience allows them to see things in the film that I could never have imagined.”
– Timothy Magaw
PHOTO: British Director and Producer Oliver Krimpas, left, went to film school at Boston University. He is now based in London.
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