D’Après une Histoire Vraie (Based on a True Story): Press conference with Roman Polanski, Olivier Assayas, Emmanuelle Seigner and Eva Green
Roman Polanksi has returned to Cannes with a film adaptation of Based on a True Story, a lurid melodrama about an obsessive fan and a vulnerable author. The director explained his interest in the best-selling book by Delphine de Vigan.
“I haven’t made a film where two women oppose each other. The thriller aspect of the book enthralled me. I wanted to respect Delphine’s book.”
For Polanski, working with Eva Green, who plays the sociopathic Her, was a delight. “I wanted to highlight the ambiguous character played by Eva. You never know if she’s real or not, and that’s up for the audience to decide. I loved Eva in Sin City [A Dame to Kill For]. She’s so seductive in it.” Of working with Green and his wife Emmanuelle Seigner, the director induced widespread eye rolling by stating, “It’s easier to direct women than to live with them”.
In response to the Netflix controversy and the film’s inclusion of advancing technology, Polanski tried to assuage fears of the death of cinema. “They said after the Greek circus and Roman theatre it was the end of the concert. People like to experience spectacles together. This is the main reason why they go to the cinema. You have to see Borat in the cinema with a laughing audience! But I will never have Facebook; I hope I never go near it.”
The film brings together Personal Shopper writer-director Olivier Assayas and Polanski for the first time. The latter outlined their creative partnership. “Olivier helped me no end. You do not want to go too far from the original. When I was child I was often bitterly disappointed with films that deviated from the books I loved. Olivier was able to reduce and compress the book into a script and nothing was lost.”
In response, Assayas spoke of his work with Polanski and his preference for creating fiction over replicating reality. “I was flattered and honoured when Roman thought of me to adapt the novel. I placed myself in his service. People say that what is real is truer than fiction – I feel the opposite: fiction is deeper than a minor trivial truth.”
Polanski had the final word on the subject of ghostwriters, who Green’s character purports to be. “It’s an interesting profession. There aren’t many good ones. They have no problem writing in other people’s stead. They don’t want the limelight. I was greatly attracted to the book by Robert Harris, as this was the subject of my last film, The Ghost.”
Photo: Stephane Cardinale – Corbis / Getty Images
Read our review of D’Après une Histoire Vraie (Based on a True Story) here.
Read more of our reviews and interviews from the festival here.
For further information about Cannes Film Festival 2017 visit here.