USA FF: Letters to Juliet – Director Gary Winick

5 05 2010

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A cute twist on the ol’ Romeo & Juliet story.  Not quite Shakespeare but it’ll tug at your heart nonetheless.

LETTERS TO JULIET is the story of Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), a fact checker for the New Yorker, who goes on a pre-wedding “honeymoon” with her fiance Victor (wonderfully played by Gael Garcia Bernal).

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The film also takes us along a 50 year journey of love.  With her fiance busy “working” with his new restaurant’s Italian suppliers (the real reason for his trip), Sophie was left to explore the city of Verona by herself.  She befriends a group of ladies that respond to the letters that women and girls leave at Juliet’s square.  Sophie comes across one older letter and decides to respond to it herself.  The letter convinces Claire (Vanessa Redgrave) to travel to Verona in search of her teenage love affair with a local boy named Lorenzo.  With her on the journey is her loving, but overprotective grandson Charlie (Australian actor Christopher Egan doing a wonderful turn as a proper British gentleman).  The trio go on a short trip through the Italian countryside to find Claire’s Lorenzo.  The film does drag a little with so many driving scenes, but the film takes you down roads you don’t expect.  Claire’s story is a much deeper tale and so is Sophie’s for that matter.  The film deals with the budding romance of Sophie and Charlie, the falling out of love of Sophie and Victor, the eventual (and beautiful) reunion of lost lovers Claire and Lorenzo (real-life connection – I’ll let Gary explain it in a second), and then also the connection Claire and Sophie have.

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The film does a nice job of not falling into to predictable scenarios, even though we all know where they end up.  Its a much more touching film then I expected going into it.  Vanessa Redgrave really commands the screen and Gael Garcia Bernal is just so perfectly funny and yet still the biggest a-hole.  Overall a good summer movie that makes up for all the over-hyped trash that’ll follow it into theaters (aka that other Summit Productions BLOCKBUSTER film that is ruining Vampire films – I digress).   Lets get to the good stuff and meet the director of LETTERS TO JULIET.

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Vanessa Redgrave, Christopher Egan, Milena Vukotic, Amanda Seyfried, and Gary Winick with his back to us.

On Sunday night Director Gary Winick answered our questions about his most recent film.  Beloved film critic Bobbie Wygant acted as the moderator.

Bobbie Wygant with Gary Winick.

And like the ol’ William Shakespeare we’ll start from the beginning.

“In fair Verona, where we lay our scene”

Where does the actual plot line come from?

Gary talked about how he got onto the film.

Gary talks about casting the part of Lorenzo, who is the long lost love of Claire.

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Bobbie Wygant chimes in the best times and well I’ll let you enjoy…

Gary had one member of the cast that just stands out for his humor and selfishness.

What was it like directing Vanessa Redgrave?

Gary talked about having a great Cinematographer and what he brought to the film.

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Marco behind Gael and Amanda.

What was it like to shoot in Italy with a foreign film crew mostly.

Gary talks about his career and gives an honest look at what he wants to do.

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Gary’s still working in fact he has two films in development according the IMDB – another with Summit Productions called Rat Bastard.  LETTERS TO JULIET releases nationwide next friday, May 14th.

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