WAMG Talks To IAIN SOFTLEY : TRAP FOR CINDERELLA
TRAP FOR CINDERELLA, the new film written and directed by the critically acclaimed filmmaker Iain Softley (The Skeleton Key, The Wings of the Dove) is available on digital platforms, including SundanceNow as of the 13th. Recently, I was able to interview Softley about the film. I might have snuck in a HACKERS question too. Check it out below.
Micky is a fun-loving photographer, living a party lifestyle in London until a chance encounter with a childhood friend changes her world forever. The opposite to life-and-soul Micky, Do is a quiet bank clerk, with little by way of a social life. Yet much to the annoyance of her DJ boyfriend Jake, Micky is all too delighted to reacquaint herself with Do, embracing her old friend with typical gusto. But when they return to the tranquil French villa where they spent so many happy summers in their youth, tragedy strikes. A fire engulfs the building, leaving Do dead and Micky badly burnt and blighted by amnesia. Unable to even recall her own name, Micky is forced on a shocking journey of self-discovery. For nothing – friends, relatives, lovers and even herself – is as she remembers it.
TRAP FOR CINDERELLA is based on a novel. What drew you to this story?
I was gripped by the novel when I read it, the twists and turns of the plot, but also the way it got inside the heads of both girls. It was also very eloquent about the way that we often envy people or their lives, when if we were in their shoes, we might take a different view. In fact the observation in the book that one’s unhappiness will not necessarily be solved by switching lives with some else, is a central theme of Wing’s of the Dove too.
Because the film is based on a novel… Was there any pressure to stay true to the book, or did you take liberties with it?
I made a very loose adaptation of the novel. I really only became confident in the script when I made it about people that I known who were close to me who were similar to the main characters. A number of scenes in the film are not from the book at all but are taken from situations that I have observed first hand.
There was a film adaptation made in 1965. Did you look at the other film before starting your own? Or did you choose to ignore it?
I didn’t see the original film and after many inquiries in France have never met anyone else who did. Sebastien Japrisot himself told me that the film was barely released and that no one saw it, so it never really was an issue for me. In fact I approached my adaption of the book as if it was the first time that the book was being adapted.
What was behind your decision to set the film in modern times?
The initial reason was budgetary, because the original drafts I wrote were set in Paris and the South of France. As soon as I made the change I realized it was the right decision. In many way the Bohemian scene on London’s East End where much of the action takes place, is more like 60s Paris, where the book was set, than contemporary Paris is. It was also exciting making a contemporary film set in my home town. All my other films that take place today are filmed elsewhere. It also meant that we could make a film that was very immediate in the way it reflected the world in which it was set. Often we shot on the streets with members of the public.
Since you wrote this script, did the cast stick to it verbatim, or was there room to improvise?
Because I had written the script myself I felt very easy about improvising, but it was me who was doing the improvising! I quite often changed the dialogue and in a couple of cases had ideas for new scenes or sequences as I was shooting. To me that was a liberty that came with writing the script.
I have to ask… Did you ever think HACKERS would gain such a cult following? What does that film mean to you today? Has your view on the film changed at all?
At the time we were shooting we felt we were tapping into the internet as a sub culture, a rock n roll for the 90s, in a way that no one else seemed to be at the time. That’s why the clothes and the music and the environments as well as the language and the gangs that the hackers hung out in were very important to the substance of the film. Everyone else seemed to be focusing on the technological consequences and not the cultural or social consequences. And a lot of people didn’t seem to get that this was what the film was about at the time. So if people are into it now, well that’s great!
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