Magazine article Screen International

Michael Winterbottom, the Face of an Angel

Magazine article Screen International

Michael Winterbottom, the Face of an Angel

Article excerpt

Michael Winterbottom talks about his genre-bending new film inspired loosely by the Amanda Knox-Meredith Kercher case.

Michael Winterbottom looks at the media frenzy surrounding the Amanda Knox-Meredith Kercher case as a very loose jumping off point for his story of a filmmaker the media circus around a fictional murder trial in Italy who is questioning his own family priorities. Daniel Brühl, Kate Beckinsale, Cara Delevingne star in the film, which premieres in Masters tomorrow, is sold by WestEnd.

When you optioned Barbie Latza Nadeau's book, did you have any idea that the author would become part of the story?

I read the book and then I met Barbie in Rome. Barbie took me up to Perugia, and I knew she could be a central character. By the time we started the outline of the film I knew the role of the media would be one factor of the story we told.

Were you in Italy for the Amanda Knox frenzy?

I was there for the first day of the appeal. There were a lot of journalists rushing around, like we show in the film. And the main report was about her hair and the clothes she was wearing. These were intelligent journalists and at the same time the information for them to relay was very trivial and superficial because that's all there was to report.

This film also examines the filmmaking process and how Daniel Bruhl's character is coming to terms with the kind of film he wants to make, and the kind of film he could get financed.

After meeting Barbie, one thing you are aware of is that journalists are writing about other people's lives. I didn't want the filmmaker to make a remark on journalists' lives and their morality, the filmmaker is also involved there.

It allowed a discussion about the issues and what should our response be? Maybe we should make the film more about the central truth of the fact that someone has lost a daughter.

Why was it important for you to keep the victim at the centre of things?

The Kercher family had talked a lot about that, with a huge amount of dignity, the reasons they went for the trial was to make sure that amongst the chaos, it was remembered that someone had lost their life. That was one of the central things I thought about.

We wanted to make that a general point, it's about the possibility of love for someone who is not there, and fathers and daughters...Daniel's character is missing his daughter in a much more mundane way. …

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