Jason Sheppard recently did an interview with William Nunez, the director of Dianna’s upcoming film The Laureate, in which he shared a lot of interesting information about the project! I’ve included my personal Dianna-related highlight, and below you can read the full interview with Nunez. I’ll have a big The Laureate photo update for you soon!
Source | The Laureate stars Tom Hughes (Victoria), Dianna Agon (Glee), Laura Haddock (Netflix’s White Lines), Fra Fee (Les Misérables) and Julian Glover (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) in this romantic drama about British war poet Robert Graves (Hughes) and the women in his life, wife Nancy Nicholson (Haddock) and American writer, Laura Riding (Agron) who served as his muses in London during the 1920s.
William Nunez, a graduate of NYU film school and a former TV news director, wanted to film this story for many years. As an admirer of Grave’s written works, Nunez was equally interested in exploring the topics of desire fuelling creativity and how PTSD affected individuals after the war. With his background in news and passion for history to aid Nunez in authenticity and getting straight to the heart of his characters, and with the cooperation of members of Graves’ family, Nunez has now made his literary ménages à trois, The Laureate. He spoke to us about the long journey to bring the movie to screens.
Jason: Can you tell me a bit about how you got involved with The Laureate and what appealed to you about the story of Robert Graves?
William Nunez: The Laureate has been a long gestating project of mine. The genesis of it started back in the ’90s. Robert Graves was always my favorite writer, mainly because as a kid I would watch I, Claudius, which was shown on public television once a year. My mother had a book of his and as I learned more about Grave’s work, I loved it. In the ’90s, I read a biography of his and knew he lived in Majorca, Spain, but that was about it. I read about his partnership with Laura Riding and thought it might make an interesting movie, but I was just out of university and was young, and didn’t think I was authoritative enough to write and direct something with these adult themes and relationships. So I put it away for a while and over a decade later, I came back to it.
Jason: What was it about Robert Graves that compelled you so much to want to bring his story to the screen?
William Nunez: I’m always fascinated by creativity and whether it’s a painting, piece of music, or a book, the struggles and the internal conflicts and inspirations that artists go through interest me. That’s what drew me to Robert. He needed a muse, in order to create his expressions and his first wife, Nancy, was one and then Laura Riding became his next one. And even after he broke up with Laura, he continued with that practice. It fascinated me how we need conflict, which I guess most artists do in a way to create and The Laureate has a lot of conflict in it, which is a kind of outrageous, but that is how he transitioned himself from the well-known war poet to author which is what he became known for in poetry circles, aside from Goodbye To All That and I, Claudius.
Jason: Can you describe the methods of research you underwent in order to depict the 1920s on film?
William Nunez: The history I already kind of knew, but since I knew what my budget would be, I needed to be contained. I mainly researched production design and the fashions of the time, the mannerisms, even to how the light switches looked like. I try to get it as accurate as possible. In terms of the history, I knew what it was anyway, because history has always been my other passion. And I just went into my research trying to get all the minor details right so that people can go, ‘okay, these guys got these little bits right, and they got the era right, in the language of everything correctly.’ So that’s where my research mainly laid for this project. (more…)