In a good year for English-language remakes, Sara Colangelo’s take on the 2015 Israeli film of the same name by Nadav Lapid built on the momentum it gained in Sundance with a TIFF bow in the run-up to its release by Netflix in October. Dropping by the Deadline studio with co-star Gael García Bernal, star Maggie Gyllenhaal explained that the project had gripped her from the get-go. “Every once in a while,” she said, “there’s a script you read where you’re like, ‘I have to do this movie.’ I read it, I finished it—the ending is particularly interesting in this movie—and I closed it, and I was like, ‘Yes, please. How do I sign up for it?’ I just felt I knew immediately it was the next thing I was supposed to do.”
Gyllenhaal plays Lisa Spinelli, who is, as the title suggests, a kindergarten teacher. “She’s also an artist, a poet, [but] nobody is seeing her at all. Nobody’s hearing her work, nobody cares about it … and we meet her at the moment where she’s waking up to the fact that she’s really not satisfied with what her life is, and she goes down a really problematic and questionable path to try to feed herself, which is basically that she hears a child saying what she thinks are poems and she takes those poems and gets kind of obsessed with [the boy].”
Asked to define the film by genre, Gyllenhaal said, “I think it’s something new. It’s a thriller in a way. It’s a psychological thriller. You’re inside the mind of this woman. It’s terrifying. Not because a monster’s going to jump out at you, or there’s blood everywhere. There’s not. It’s terrifying because you’re watching the consequences of starving a woman’s mind.”
Find out more about The Kindergarten Teacher by clicking on the video above.