On April 27, 2015 zoomdune.com was on the red carpet for the New York premiere of Fox Searchlight’s “Far From The Madding Crowd” at the Paris Theater. The period piece hits theaters this Friday, May 1. Stars Michael Sheen, Carey Mulligan, Juno Temple and Matthias Schoenaerts, and director Thomas Vinterberg all walked the red carpet. They were joined by Sarah Silverman, Yigal Azrouel, Nathaniel Parker, Marin Ireland, Laura Michelle Kelly, Montego Glover, Mamie Gummer and Grace Gummer, to name a few. Based on a Thomas Hardy novel of the same name, the film tells the story of and independent, beautiful and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan), who attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts), a sheep farmer captivated by her fetching willfulness; Frank Troy (Tom Sturridge), a handsome and reckless Sergeant; and William Boldwood (Michael Sheen), a prosperous and mature bachelor.
This timeless story of Bathsheba’s choices and passions explores the nature of relationships and love as well as the human ability to overcome hardships through resilience and perseverance. The cast gives stellar performances and the film is beautiful. Mulligan shared that she grew up reading Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, but she always liked the darker tones in Hardy’s novels. His characters felt more real, the women were much stronger and more three dimensional. One of the most renowned poets and novelists in English literary history, Thomas Hardy was born in 1840 in the English village of Higher Bockhampton in the county of Dorset. Read our exclusive red carpet interviews below:
Carey Mulligan plays Bathsheba Everdene.
How excited are you to be the lead?
Carey: I haven’t played a lead for seven years. It’s a rare opportunity and sadly I think quite rare for women to get interesting female characters to play on screen, so to have this opportunity and to get to do it with Thomas was just a dream job.
Do you equate Bathsheba’s goals and attitudes with contemporary feminism?
Carey: I think she’s a modern character, I think she has her own feminism, so when you read the book, she’s imbued with strength and feminism and forward thinking and stuff so yeah I guess when you approach anything now you probably have a model idea about it, but … we still tried to stay within the context of the time.
Why do you think she falls for Sergeant Francis Troy so quickly?
Carey: Good answer. Yeah pretty much and I think it’s that and he says she’s unconventional, he’s unconventional. He says the things that you shouldn’t say and if you read the book Gabriel Oak is a very inarticulate person. His proposal isn’t particularly together and she meets Troy and he’s lyrical and poetic and says these outrageous things and all of that is completely enchanting for a girl who has not really discovered her sexuality and so it’s through him and through sex I guess that that whole story starts.
Speak about working with Thomas.
I enjoyed working with Thomas so much. We had nine months before we started filming of conversations and back and forth and I would drive him crazy with all of my opinions about things and it was a great collaboration and that was a complete dream for me because I loved his films. I wanted to only do this because of him. I loved “Far From The Madding Crowd,” but if it hadn’t been Thomas who was directing it, I wouldn’t have done it. And it was him and his appeal as a director that made me want to do the job and working with him paid off in every way that I dreamed it could have done in terms of a collaboration and a creative experience.
Do you think Thomas is a romantic?
Yeah … And also you don’t look at his films and think he’s going to be a particularly jolly person either. He’s much nicer than you imagine when you watch the films. He’s so much fun and I think everyone was very excited about the opportunity to make a romantic epic and that was Thomas’ vision for it.
Speak about working with Thomas.
Matthias: Well, Thomas, apart from the fact that he’s one of the most talented European movie directors, he’s someone who infuses an entire crew with such an enthusiasm and that enthusiasm generates a playfulness and that playfulness is to me the perfect soil for creativity, for creative process.
What did you love about your character?
Matthias: His consistency and his permanent righteousness, even though he suffers a lot and he gets emotional beat down after beat down, there’s a total absence of self pity, he remans loyal, truthful, honest and that is pretty admirable of him.
David Nicholls wrote the screenplay.
How did you come to write the screenplay?
David: Well I wrote another Hardy adaptation years ago “Tess of the D’Urbervilles” and Allon and Andrew, the producers, asked me to write this. I wrote a draft and it went through various drafts. Then Thomas Vinterberg came on board and Carey came on board. Suddenly it was happening very, very quickly.
What was your creative process?
David: I read the book about three times and then I listened to it on audio-book, maybe five times. Then I went back to the book and read it again and underlined the bits that I thought were relevant. Yeah, it was an endless process.
Speak about seeing Carey bring your work to life?
David: Yeah, that’s been the best thing. That’s been really brilliant. She’s so good in the role. So good! It’s such a great performance and she’s such a smart, creative, intelligent actress. That’s been a real inspiration for me.
Speak about Thomas and collaborating with him?
David: Thomas is incredibly charming and funny and persuasive. He has a very close relationship with the actors. They really love him, and they trust him. … He’s been brilliant as well. He’s been very good to work with.
Do you prefer writing your own original works? Or adapting?
David: I enjoy all of it. I sometimes feel that adapting stuff is a little bit lazy because the genius has already happened. Somebody’s already come up with this amazing story and amazing characters. And all you’re doing is editing it. You have to remember that it’s Hardy’s creativity really, and you’re sort of shaping it … but I love both. When a novel is going well and when you feel like it’s doing what you want it to do, that’s lovely. But you never leave, you never see anyone, you never work with anyone. You never get opinions, so it’s nice to have a little bit of both.
This is one of Hardy’s most famous works. Why do you think it continues to resonate with people?
David: Because of Bathsheba think. I mean, it’s not a straight forwardly feminist book, but it’s a proto feminist book. It’s about a woman making choices in her life and making mistakes. It’s got a wonderfully complicated central character. Who’s driven by pride and ambition and sex and makes terrible errors along the way. But is endlessly interesting and provocative.
What’s next for you?
David: I’m having a little break, actually. I feel like I’ve done too much in the last five years, so I’m going to take some time to think. But I don’t think I’m going to do another 19th century novel. I’m going to try to do an original piece next. My latest novel, “Us,” is still coming out around the world, so I’m doing a lot of publicity for that. I haven’t done any writing for a while but I’d like to get back to it at some point.