Acclaimed foreign movies usually go on from TIFF to be remade by American studios—they rarely arrive as English-language indie remakes. Yet in the case of Gloria Bell, an intimate study of a middle-aged divorcee, not only is the film a Los Angeles-set retelling of a 2013 arthouse hit—Berlin Jury Prize winner Gloria—it was directed by the same helmer, Chile’s Sebastián Lelio. Making a quick return to TIFF after last year’s Disobedience, Lelio brought his stars Julianne Moore and John Turturro to the Deadline studio for a chat.
Asked whether he’d been reluctant to go back to Gloria for a second time, Lelio revealed that he actually felt the opposite. “I think I found lots of reasons to revisit this material,” he enthused, “almost like it was a play—you give another chance to the material, and you find whatever is universal, and find a new vehicle for that, you try to make it resonate with the current times and … make it work in a different culture. I think all of those challenges were really maybe frightening at the beginning, but later they became exciting, and then to have the chance to work with Julianne and John, with the rest of the cast, was just such a privilege.”
Similarly, Moore revealed that such a seemingly perfectly cast project had almost collapsed, due to a misunderstanding. “Honestly, I was such an admirer of Sebastián and of the original Gloria that I really wanted to meet him and just talk to him and get to know him a little bit,” she said, “ because he is such an extraordinary filmmaker. He was living in Berlin, and I happened to be in Paris. [He came to meet me and] we had this really, really long conversation. He said to me that he was under the impression that I didn’t want anything to do with the movie, and that’s when he said to me, ‘Well, I know that you don’t want to do Gloria. I said, ‘I said I would only do it if you directed it.’ And then he said, ‘Well, I would only do it if you were in it.’ So we were like, ‘Well, I guess we’re doing it!’”
She laughed. “It was such a thrill and an honor for me to get to participate in the story of this woman’s life, that is so intimately observed.”
Hear more from the conversation by clicking on the video above.