Luis Berdejo Talks THE NEW DAUGHTER
Based on the strength of his four astounding short films - check the archives for word on them - we have become big, big fans and supporters of Spanish film maker Luis Berdejo in these parts. And over hte last year I'd say a whole lot of others have as well. After struggling unsuccessfully to make a feature in his native Spain Berdejo struck gold as a screenwriter last year, penning the enormous hit [REC] while Stefano Bessoni is currently putting the finishing touches on the Berdejo-scripted Imago Mortiis, and is himself putting the final touches on his feature length directorial debut - a Hollywood production titled The New Daughter with Kevin Costner in the lead. Think all the people in Spain who told Berdejo no are wishing they could have that decision back now? Yeah.
I had the chance to meet the man in person during AFM and asked a few questions about The New Daughter. You'll find the interview below the break.
TB: Most Spanish film makers seem to be doing a feature or two at home before making the leap into English language film but you've arrived in Hollywood, working with a major star, after just a handful of short films. How did that happen?
LB: With a bit of luck and a lot of Paul Brooks ... I came to LA two years ago to make a casting for another project that I never did, I met my manager (Peter Safran), he loved my short films and started to help me. In the next months he sent me some scripts until I read The New Daughter... I fell in love with the project and I tried to make Gold Circle think that I was the best option for the movie. I don't know if that was true, but at least I convinced them...
TB: Did you find that you had to change your approach moving from shorts to features?
LB: No. I just know one way to make the things, which is serve the story, and that's what I brought to this movie. It doesn't matter if the length is going to be 11 or 99 minutes, I had to tell a story and that's the only thing that I had to respect. The New Daughter is just my longer short film.
TB: How did you find working in English rather than in your native Spanish?
LB: That was my biggest concern when I came here, but everyone in Gold Circle was really helpful. I used to bring a small electronic translator with me to every meeting... Until I found out that they knew that I didn't speak English very good when they hired me, so it wasn´t my fault!!
TB: Without spoiling anything, what can you tell us about The New Daughter?
LB: I can say that is a supernatural drama about a writer with two kids who moves to the countryside trying to find a new start after his divorce. And he really finds it...
TB: Okay, you're a first time film maker, you walk on to the set on the first day and Kevin Costner is there. What do you say to him?
LB: I met him lots of times before that day, we talked a lot, we rehearsed ... That day I just told him that I would be nervous for two or three days but that I was the happiest man on the earth for sharing that experience with him. And I wanted to torture him as much as I could.
TB: Can you describe your working relationship both with Kevin and your child actors?
LB: Kevin gave me all I wanted and more... He's an amazing team player, really respectful with the idea that I had of his character, generous, helpful and as passionate as if this would have been his first movie. I love Kevin.
Ivana and Gattlin are amazing, we rehearsed, we played, we had a great time... And we filled the screen with the naturalness of our relationship plus their power to play different persons.
TB: Speaking of child actors, all of your shorts except for one involve children. What is it that attracts you to child-oriented films?
LB: I don't know... Maybe the fact that I love to play... And I guess that the fact of loving their world, their innocence, honesty, courage... Everything went really fast in childhood and I left lots of things to do. Now I love to go back there and keep on living that time. I love the fact of being able to change everything and sculpt yourself and your life as you want...
TB: Now that you have some successful scripts on your resume are you finding it easier to get your own projects done?
LB: I hope that the fact of making a movie in Hollywood will help; at least in the States. Let's finish it, release it and see what happens...