Maggie Gyllenhaal On Finding A New Kind Of Thriller In ‘The Kindergarten Teacher’ – Toronto Studio

Chris Chapman

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.

Deadline Studio at TIFF 2018 presented by eOne. Special thanks to sponsor Watford Group, and partners Calii LoveLove Child Social, and Barocco Coffee.

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