Writer-director Sarah Polley and producer Dede Gardner joined Deadline’s Contenders Film: The Nominees to discuss Women Talking, their film that is nominated for a pair of Oscars, for Best Picture and Polley’s adapted screenplay.
The all-star cast includes Frances McDormand, Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley and Ben Whishaw. Plan B Entertainment, MGM’s Orion Pictures and hear/say produced the pic, which was released by United Artists Releasing.
Women Talking follows the women of an isolated religious colony who reveal a shocking secret about the colony’s men: for years, the men have occasionally drugged the women and raped them. The truth comes out and the women talk about finding a solution to their situation.
The film is based on Miriam Towes’ novel that was inspired by real events within Bolivia’s Manitoba Colony.
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When asked about the process of casting, Polley commented, “Dede, Frances, casting directors John Buchan, Jason Knight, and I spent a ton of time thinking about and talking about so many actors, and we met with so many people. It was a real puzzle because we had to cast everyone together. We really couldn’t make any moves until we made all the moves, so figuring out how to cast this organism of a community took a really long, complex process that involved getting to know people and having a sense of how they would help build that dynamic.”
Gardner also talks about how she first learned of the book and why she got involved in the project. “Frances McDormand brought me the book and said ‘read this and let’s talk.’ We decided to give it a shot and try to make it a movie because I saw its cinematic potential as soon as I read it — visually and also structurally. And Sarah was our very first choice.”
In the discussion, Gardner and Polley also talked about the protective environment on set.
Check out the panel video above.
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