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10/30 (Sat) Competition Section "Never Let Me Go" Press Conference and Q&A: Notes & Quotes

10/30 (Sat) Competition Section "Never Let Me Go" Press Conference and Q&A: Notes & Quotes

A press conference and Q&A Session featuring Never Let Me Go from the Competition section was held as follows:

Press Conference: October 30th (Saturday), from 14:50 @Movie Café
Q&A: October 30th (Saturday), from 16:15 @TOHO CINEMAS ROPPONGI HILLS SCREEN7
Appearance: Mark Romanek (director)
©2010 TIFF

Here are some notes and quotes:

Mark Romanek (MR): It's my first time to be in Tokyo, so I'm very excited to be here. I'm eager to have some time to see the city once I’m done with working!

Q: Carey Mulligan, who plays Kathy is younger the actual age of the role. What was the reason for casting her? Also, did you cast the young actors before the older ones?

MR: We felt we had to cast Kathy first. The head of the studio at the time saw Carey in An Education at the Sundance Film Festival. He was very excited and told us that we had to see this girl, so we auditioned her and agreed that she was amazing. Then the other actors were casted. Once we were done with that, we casted the younger children because it was important to me that they not only be wonderful actors but that they strongly resemble their older counterparts. I had a wonderful casting director called Kate Dowd and she looked at thousands of children. I didn’t want professional actor children because their performances are not very affecting so she went to many schools to look for children. Kate then narrowed it down to 40 children per role so the cast is really due to her hard work.

Q: How was the writer of the novel, Kazuo Ishiguro, involved in making this film?

MR: I like to describe him as a benevolent uncle to the project. Mr. Ishiguro was very gracious and trusting and allowed us to make the film as we wanted but at the same time, he made himself available to us at key junctures in the project. He made some comments about the script but overall he approved it and was very happy with it. He couldn’t have been lovelier.

Q: It has been a while since your last feature film. What was the main reason why you were attracted to this novel?

MR: I'm an enormous fan of Mr. Ishiguro's writing and I've read all of his books. I read Never Let Me Go the week it was published. It made me cry at the end and I couldn't stop thinking about the book, which you hear from a lot of people who read it—it just stays with you for months. It was on the second reading when I started to picture how it could perhaps be a film. I then inquired if anyone was planning to make one and found out that DNA Films, Alex Garland, and FOX Searchlight were making the film. So I auditioned for it like an actor auditions for a part. What attracted me to the story was how moving it was, how original, strange, and interesting the concept of the book was. Also, you are often sent a lot of junk but what you want is to be involved with a film of quality. Therefore, the opportunity to adapt an Ishiguro novel is impossible to pass up.
©2010 TIFF

Following the Press Conference, a Q&A Session was held where the director took questions from the audience.

Q: There was a stranded boat on the beach where the 3 friends visit. Is there any kind of special symbol you wanted to give that boat?

MR: On a literal level, it's a place where they can go away, where Ruth can get them all alone so that she can make her redemption and confess her sins. On a symbolic level, I would hate to impose my idea of what that boat may mean because I want the film to be interpreting for the audience. I have my own idea about that scene, but I never asked Mr. Ishiguro about it. I think Mr. Ishiguro is against the notion of symbols in that sense. It doesn’t have to mean more than what there is to it.

Q: This film touches upon the controversial issue of organ donation. What is your position on this?

MR: In the process of making the film, the issues and ethics of biotechnology weren't interesting to me. The science fiction aspects of the film were a metaphor that Mr. Ishiguro invented to address much more universal themes about human existence and the fact of our mortality. Therefore, although the ethics of organ donation is interesting in itself, I was making a love story foremost.

Never Let Me Go
© 2010 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
Film Information

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