Drake Doremus talks Opening Night at EIFF

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Ahead of tonight's red carpet event, EIFF Web Editor Nicola Balkind caught up with Drake Doremus, director of tonight's Opening Night Film, Breathe In.

Upon arriving at Edinburgh International Film Festival director of Breathe In, Drake Doremus, described himself as “jet-lagged but glad to be here.”

He’ll be walking the red carpet with star Felicity Jones this evening before the European Premiere and Opening Night Gala, and told us he’s very much looking forward to the ”great honour” of opening this year’s edition of the world’s longest-running Festival.

Breathe In stars Guy Pearce and Felicity Jones (Doremus’ Like Crazy, EIFF 2011 hit Albatross).

Pearce plays Keith, a high-school music teacher and family man in upstate New York who nurtures his lifelong dream of becoming a full-time orchestral cellist. His bohemian ideals and impatience with his current middle-class suburban lifestyle are inflamed by the sudden arrival of Sophie (Felicity Jones), an exchange student from the UK, whose personal maturity and exceptional talent as a pianist set her apart from her classmates and drive her and Keith closer and closer together.

So what was it like to work with these two fantastic leads? “It was great,” Doremus told us. “It was exciting to work with Felicity again and continue our collaboration. Guy was fantastic – I think he was a little apprehensive about improvising the dialect and learning to play the cello, but he certainly embraced it and it was really exciting to work with them both. They’re both so brave and vulnerable and allowed themselves to do things which were quite scary.”

This was also Doremus’ second collaboration with writer Ben York Jones. “He’s such a talented and articulate guy,” said Doremus, “and so patient as well. Working with him enhances the experience so much for me.”

“We worked from a 60-page outline that was written like a short story. Through the course of rehearsals and shooting the film [Guy, Felicity and I were] always finding what we’re doing. It’s really fun to explore that way.”

Although the two characters share some intimate moments in the film, Doremus was keen for the focus not to land on their ages. “I didn’t want to make a movie that felt like it was sexual in nature. Even though I do feel like there are some sex scenes in the movie – even though there aren’t – it’s not carnal and it’s not animalistic, it’s much more romantic.

“The greyness in relationships and how things aren’t black and white and the question of morality and things like that were definitely themes that I was playing with.”

Ultimately, Doremus hopes that the Festival audience will embrace the film. “Hopefully they don’t hate it!” he joked. “Yeah, I just hope that it will affect them emotionally.”

Tonight’s red carpet event takes place at 5pm at the Festival Theatre.

Tickets for the Opening Night Gala screening at 9.15pm are available online, by phone on 0131 228 2688, or in person.


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