this interview was originally published in the Middlebury Campus and is presented here in its unedited form.
The Reel Debate (TRD): First, what attracted you to the novel (Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates)?
Justin Haythe (JH): I’d read the novel with a novelist’s hat on first. Then I was approached by the BBC for an adaptation, and it is a very filmic book in certain ways. So I felt that it could be done justice because it is a great literary novel which rarely makes a great movie, but I felt there was something cinematic and dramatic about it, inherently. There was a kind of mystery posed as to, I mean, literally in the novel the two people are by the side of the road screaming at each other about which one of them is trapped in the marriage, and the film is posing the question: which one is it that is trapped? I had a couple stipulations, I just wanted to make sure they were going to do the abortion and they were going to drink and smoke as much as they do in the book. It’s a pretty unlikely piece of business in Hollywood. They don’t usually crack into books that are that heavy, that dark. So I leapt at the opportunity.
TRD: Can you just take me through the production and how it got started. You said you were approached by the BBC…
JH: I was approached by the BBC and I wrote a draft. Kate Winslet, who shares the same agency as I do, read the draft and became attached as an actress, which is rare, but Kate is someone with great instincts, and we, together, explored different director possibilities. Clearly she was doing what she could at home to convince Sam Mendes, her husband, to direct. He became involved and about six months later Leo (DiCaprio) became involved and then we were in production almost immediately. Continue reading
originally published in the Middlebury Campus
Confession time. I haven’t seen “Revolutionary Road” since when I first saw it during the first week of February (thanks, Middlebury College, for letting students get first crack at those seats in Dana for the screening this past Sunday). Normally that would make it tough to review, but “Revolutionary Road” was one of the more striking, not to mention best, films released last year. It marks a return on several fronts. First, and most oft-noted, it is the return of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, who reteam for the first time since “Titanic”. It also marks the return of director Sam Mendes to suburbia, the setting where he first made his auspicious debut with 1999’s “American Beauty.” “Revolutionary Road,” based on the 1961 novel by Richard Yates, tells the story of Frank and April Wheeler who, in the midst of a blissful romance, move to the suburbs. They tell themselves the move is only temporary, but soon find they are trapped in their marriage, job (in his case), housework (in hers), and suburbs. They soon find themselves yearning for an escape from the slow descent into middle aged mediocrity. “A man only gets a few chances in life. It won’t be long before he’s sittin’ around wondering how he got to be second rate,” Frank’s boss (played by the spectacular Jay O. Sanders) tells him over lunch. Soon affairs and promotions take the place of plans for liberation as the couple spirals even deeper into their suburban prison. Continue reading
Hello everyone. Welcome to my new blog. I have always been a pretty big fan of films in general, and I was incredibly stoked when my friend Melissa, who was the Arts section editor of the Middlebury Campus, asked me to start writing reviews for them. I was so stoked and liked doing it so much that I figured I might as well continue on with this amateur critic schtick post-graduation. Plus it gives me the opportunity to contribute to the incredible mass (or lack thereof) of online opinions and information. I can’t promise a new update everyday, or even every other day, but I’ll do my best to throw a little bit of content up here every chance I get. Look out for reviews, essays, trailers, clips, and really anything else I can think of that might be interesting. I’m stoked.