Play­wright Mark O’Rowe makes his big-screen di­rec­to­rial de­but with He tells PAUL WHITINGTON about the in­tri­ca­cies of in­fi­delity films and ac­tor Cil­lian Mur­phy’s ‘in­ter­est­ing process’

Irish Independent - Weekend Review - - FRONT PAGE - A path less trav­elled: will be O’Rowe’s di­rec­to­rial de­but. PHOTO: DAMIEN EAGERS

‘My big fear was that I’d be over­whelmed by the pres­sure of it all, but in fact it was the op­po­site — I loved it.” Mark O’Rowe is talk­ing about The Delin­quent Sea­son, his fea­ture film di­rec­to­rial de­but, which was built on his own script and stars Cil­lian Mur­phy, Eva Birthis­tle, Cather­ine Walker and An­drew Scott as two ap­par­ently happy cou­ples whose lives dis­as­trously col­lide.

It’s a dense, thought-pro­vok­ing film, in which Mur­phy’s char­ac­ter Jim is putting up with the pres­ence of his wife’s mar­i­tally chal­lenged friend Yvonne (Walker) in his home when a spark flies between them, they fall in love and all hell breaks loose. What drew O’Rowe to this par­tic­u­lar sub­ject?

“I like in­fi­delity movies,” he says. “There aren’t a huge amount of them but I do like them, and David Lean’s Brief En­counter, for in­stance, is one of the best, be­cause there’s a kind of love tri­an­gle at play there, no one is bad, no one is re­ally at fault. But what I find with a lot of con­tem­po­rary sto­ries about in­fi­delity is that usu­ally some­one is the bad guy, or the cir­cum­stance is un­ten­able for the char­ac­ter, so it kind of lets them off the hook in terms of hav­ing the af­fair.

“In this film, I wanted them not to have an ex­cuse to do it, so I could ex­plore that thing of, why does any­one fall for any­one else? It’s just some­thing that hap­pens, you can’t say well it’s be­cause he has blue eyes, and be­cause he made me laugh: there’s plenty of peo­ple who can do that. There’s some­thing hap­pens, some elec­tri­cal charge between you, so I just didn’t want to give any­one an easy way out.

“I was also in­ter­ested in the idea that if you’re in a mar­riage, you’re liv­ing in a par­tic­u­lar house, with a par­tic­u­lar per­son, or group of peo­ple, and then when you break up or an in­fi­delity hap­pens or what­ever, every­body’s life has to take on a new shape. I was in­ter­ested in all of that.”

O’Rowe’s film un­folds by in­cre­ments and is care­ful to re­serve judg­ment on its char­ac­ters, all of whom could claim to have their rea­sons for act­ing as they did. “It’s too easy if you can put the blame on some­body,” he says, “and I think if you find a way of shar­ing the blame as it were, or be­ing for­giv­ing of ev­ery­one, then it’s eas­ier for view­ers to iden­tify with the char­ac­ters, and recog­nise them­selves in them.

“I look at the four of them, and their reactions to cer­tain things, and I think, I do that, and I do that. They’re all a lit­tle bit me.”

His char­ac­ters also seem like peo­ple you might know. “I just wrote them the way I kind of felt peo­ple spoke. I mean if you were to com­pare this film to say a Woody Allen movie deal­ing with the same sit­u­a­tion, those char­ac­ters would be in­cred­i­bly ar­tic­u­late about how they’re feel­ing, but they would still run into the same prob­lems that my char­ac­ters ran into. So that even with great ar­tic­u­lacy, there’s still a deeper level of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, emo­tional or what­ever, that we’re not quite ca­pa­ble of.”

In The Delin­quent Sea­son, O’Rowe’s char­ac­ters mis­un­der­stand each other so dis­as­trously that he seems to be sug­gest­ing that we’re all un­know­able to each other.

“It’s ter­ri­ble, isn’t it? You know the older I get, the more I think life is a game of self-de­cep­tion, or not look­ing at things that you shouldn’t be look­ing at, like the idea of death, even down to the idea of help­ing some­one. We all want to be gen­er­ous peo­ple but there’s a line we won’t cross, and if that act of gen­eros­ity be­gins to cre­ate prob­lems be­yond which we’re pre­pared to go, well then we don’t. So it’s like there’s this limit to ev­ery­thing, we’d all like to think the best of our­selves, but un­for­tu­nately we’ll only go so far.

“We can know each other in a way, we can know each other in mo­ments, but it’s kind of sad that we’re all locked in­side our own heads and our own hearts as well.”

Di­rect­ing a film seems to have been a hugely pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence for Mark.

“I loved it,” he says. “I re­mem­ber be­fore I di­rected a play for the first time in 2007, I’d been com­plain­ing to my wife say­ing that even when peo­ple di­rect your work well, it changes, it’s not yours any more. So I said I need to try it once, and if it’s not for me, I’ll con­tinue to moan, but I just won’t have that thing of want­ing to do it.

“So I re­ally en­joyed di­rect­ing for theatre, but then the film thing was an­other thing al­to­gether — the big fear with a film is that you’ve a lim­ited pe­riod of time to get the shots you need. But the way it works, and the thing I re­ally liked about it, is that ac­tu­ally you’re never think­ing about the film

I’d been com­plain­ing to my wife say­ing that even when peo­ple di­rect your work well, it changes, it’s not yours any more. So I said I need to try it once, and if it’s not for me, I’ll just con­tinue to moan

as a whole, you’re only think­ing about get­ting through the bit you’re do­ing now. You al­ways have to be told what’s next be­cause you’ve been so fo­cused on this bit that ev­ery­thing else is kind of a whirl. And once you get your shot, you move on. It’s a real come­down af­ter you shoot it, and even though you’re ex­hausted while you’re do­ing it, you don’t re­alise that un­til it ends. I don’t have an­other script yet, but I’m dy­ing to do it again, I’d love to.”

A cast of The Delin­quent Sea­son’s cal­i­bre must have made life a lit­tle eas­ier for him. “They’re all bril­liant ac­tors,” he agrees, “so they didn’t need a hell of a lot of guid­ance or di­rec­tion.

The Delin­quent Sea­son

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.