Pour la version traduite en français de l'interview, cliquez ici.
Films de Lover : Since it's really hard to find something about "For lovers only" on the internet, can you tell us a few words about the story of the film ? Have you finished post-production ?
Mark : The film is completed and is expected to premiere in the states in June. The story centers around Yves, a former fashion photographer and Sofia a model, now journalist. Former lovers their paths cross again in Paris and a new chapter in their relationship begins. I really wanted to make a movie that was about "being in love" rather than "falling in love". I believe those are two different spaces in a relationship. The latter is more interesting in sense of story because those are deeper moments between two people - I also think it requires small sacrifices along the way - which makes each moment of surrender even more beautiful.
Michael : Mark, you said it best.
Film de Lover : You're defining "For lovers only" as an hommage to the Nouvelle Vague french films. Is it a newborn influence or is this the kind of films you've been wanting to do for a long time and couldn't until now ?
Mark: I think somewhere between Lelouch's "A man and a woman" and The Beatles "Hard day's night" lies the birth place for our latest film. We saw both at a very young age. Both very inspirational.
Michael: I believe there has always been a great desire for filmmakers just to pick up a camera and shoot without rules. Particularly since traditional ways of making movies has a lot of moving parts, financing being the biggest hurdle. Technology has now provided moviemakers with an extremely high quality image. And the price for that technology is very reasonable now.
Films de Lover : The Nouvelle Vague is, at the core, a revolution in the filmmaking and scripting process (Real stories, less technical set up). Did you stick to that or tried to improve on it in "For lovers only" ?
Mark: We completely embraced the French New Wave in every aspect. It was quite rewarding. The process allowed us to capture moments we wouldn't otherwise have gotten. With less focus on the technical, we as actors were allowed a much more intimate setting. There's an amazing freedom in the French New Wave, that's very inspiring as an artist. Is that entertainment to others, I don't know. I do know Michael was able to capture a level of intimacy that even makes me blush when I watch it. And that's your high water mark as an artist. To have your work be almost a confession, not in a sense of sin, but as in you're telling the truth. And that to me is a wonderful thing to watch.
There's was inherit risk in filming like the New Wave. You're not going be able to get exactly what you want but you're going to capture moments that you never thought of. So you have to be willing to accept that trade-off. I think the real risk is if there's an audience here today that will embrace the New Wave like we did. One of the hurdles is that will be exhibited in black and white. We already had resistence due to not willing to convert it to color. So right up front, you see detractors, but like the title suggests, it's for lovers only.
Michael: I don't know if the French New Wave needed any improving, hopefully we bring some attention to an amazing time in cinema. If we can help shed light on the New Wave filmmakers that came before us, that would be honorable.
Films de Lover : Did the actors improvise or was everything scripted ?
Mark: Yes there was some improv, but not in your typical fashion. Nothing was "made-up", we had a script, a solid foundation to build off of. Very little made it in the film actually. It filled in some blanks which was helpful.
Michael: The improv came in the way of not knowing where we were going to shoot everyday. Mark and Stana knew the script and we could set-up anywhere that we liked. They would add words to dialogue to help connect their relationship to the places we were at.
Films de Lover : How did it go with Stana ? The teaser shows a great intimacy and complicity between Stana and you Mark. How did the audition process go ? Was she the first choice or did she just ran into the room and you said "That's it, she's Sophia" ?
Mark: We don't audition actors. Rather we meet them and discuss the story, their part. We know they're talented and their ability to act is obvious by their past body of work. Stana was our first choice and our first meeting. What we were interested in was if there an actress brave yet sensitive enough to do a role like this. It required as much concentration on screen as it did off screen.
She was going to have to really live this part, it's like a fighter that can't rest between rounds. It may sound extreme, but playing on the opposite end I can say you had to have extreme focus on what you were doing at all times. Mike had the camera on us all the time and so it required that Stana and I to be in character at all times. Our shooting schedule was tight so we needed every moment we could capture. But back to our meeting with her, it was clear in our first conversation with Stana that she was clearly both, brave and sensitive. Did I mention stunning as well?
Michael: Stana is a professional in every sense of the word. An actor full of courage. It helps that she's beautiful to photograph.
Films de Lover : You shot your film in France from Paris to Nice through The Mont-Saint-Michel. Why the latter location ? What have been your impressions about filming in France ?
Mark: Filming in France is beyond expression. We couldn't have been more welcomed. The people could not have have been more pleasurable. It was a dream scenerio when you're shooting with these time and financial constraints. You can't buy time and you don't have money for locations, so you can't buy your way around. You really need the generosity of the people. We surely felt the love throughout France. It was overwelhming at times. There was an incident where we went to pay the bill at a hotel and the owner refused to take our money. I felt as an artist we were really being appreciated for this type of filmmaking.
Michael: Mont Saint Michel really represented symbolically what "For Lovers Only" is about. A remote castle in high tide where no one can access you, like being in love.
Films de Lover : One aspect I'm really insterested in "For lovers only" is the soundtrack. I'm a film score fan but I'm not familiar with any of the work of Kubilai Uner. What do you think his music will bring to the film ?
Mark: Its the emotional back-bone. I wouldn't say it was difficult but we needed to really find its tone. It's black and white so for instance you add a distorted guitar sound, it sets a certain tone. So we had to really had to pay attention to the marriage of music to picture. I really love the music Kubi did. I hope everyone else does as well. Its straight from his heart. I believe the theme was based off a song he wrote when he proposed to his wife.
Michael: I have always been a fan of Kubi. A brilliant collaborator. He's not well known in the soundtrack arena, not yet anyways. The Original Soundtrack will be available in early May on iTunes.
Films de Lover : When can we expect "For lovers only" on French screens ?
Mark: We are currently working on the foreign distribution.
Michael: One way or another the world will be able to see this movie.
Films de Lover : And after that ? Are you going to become like Woody Allen and go filming love stories around Europe or are you going back to more of a classic way of doing films in the United States ?
Mark: I would love to make movies in other countries. I would just need to have a story that works. I guess stories work anywhere but I would personally need a connection to be able to create a compelling story. I wouldn't want it come off as false and disrespectful.
Michael: Shooting in France was a great experience. Anytime we get the opportunity to shoot abroad I'm all for it.
Films de Lover : The last question is a traditional one we ask to every person we interview : If you had to pick the perfect love film for an evening with your special one, which one would it be and why ?
Mark: That's a hard question. I would probably put in George Michael's "25 LIVE" concert film. Does that count as a movie? Visually its stunning and his music pretty much covers the spectrum of emotion.
Michael: "BLUE / WHITE / RED" (trilogy) by Krystof Kieslowski.
Films de Lover : Thank you !
Interview by Frederic R for FilmsdeLover.com
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