Bringing a distinctly Chilean flavor last month to Deadline’s big annual awards-season event The Contenders Presented by Deadline, screenwriter Guillermo Calderon discussed his and director Pablo Larrain’s approach to making a film that does justice to the life of  Chile’s legendary poet Pablo Neruda for the movie Neruda. As part of The Orchard’s presentation to a packed DGA theater audience of Oscar and key guild voters, Calderon joined Christine director Antonio Campos on the distribution company’s panel.

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Calderon explained that Neruda, which was Chile’s official entry for the Oscar Foreign Language race as well as a current nominee for the Foreign Language Film Golden Globe, was never intended to be a traditional biopic and that the filmmaker’s idea was to explore the poet’s inner life when he was actually in hiding from authorities. It’s a tricky proposition that is brought off in intriguing and unexpected ways in a script Caleron said was initially 200 pages.

Check out our conversation above.