×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Dormael’s ‘Nobody’ bows at Venice

Long-in-gestation pic unspools at Lido

Belgian helmer Jaco Van Dormael’s “Mr. Nobody,” which unspools in the Venice competition today, is about as big-budget as it gets for a European pic, especially one by an auteur.

The E37 million ($53 million) long-in-gestation English-language pic is set in the late 21st century. Jared Leto stars as a 120-year-old man who, on his deathbed, imagines alternate lives he could have led with three different women. It certainly constitutes a bold attempt to do something different in European cinema, both conceptually and from a production standpoint.

“If I had not been prepared to put up a large portion of the money myself, this project would have stayed on the shelf,” said producer Philippe Godeau. Then Pathe and Wild Bunch came onboard. With Leto, Sarah Polley and Diane Kruger attached, the six-month shoot began in June 2007 in Belgium, Canada and Germany. More than a year in editing and post followed, partly due to plenty of effects, but also to other factors.

An earlier, longer, work-in-progress version of the film was rejected for competition by Cannes, which offered that cut of “Mr. Nobody” a out-of-competition berth. Godeau turned that down.

The Venice version is a “wet-print final cut which we are really happy with,” he says.

For Van Dormael, the former circus clown and children’s theater director who became a hot helmer after his 1991 hit debut “Toto The Hero,” “Mr. Nobody” comes after a 13-year hiatus from “Toto” followup “The Eighth Day.”

“I spent a long time writing,” he said. “This is a very complex film, and also I have to say I enjoyed the writing process because it is compatible with my family life.”

Van Dormael was adamant about the fact that “Mr. Nobody” not be considered a sci-fi pic. Rather, it is “a film about the “many possibilities that are inherent in our lives; about choice, chance and the complexities of their interaction.”

As for the challenge posed by his first foray directing an English-language pic, Van Dormael said that, being from Belgium — where Flemish, French and German are all spoken — he is “used to changing languages.” He has been familiar with English from an early age since his father was a buyer in Europe for Sears, Roebuck.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Ken Burns

    Ken Burns, Library of Congress to Present Documentary Award to 'Flannery'

    Documentarian Ken Burns is partnering with the Library of Congress and two philanthropic organizations to present a new award to “Flannery,” a documentary about Flannery O’Connor. Filmmaker Elizabeth Coffman and Jesuit priest Mark Bosco will be presented the first Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film on Oct. 17 at the library. The award includes [...]

  • Palazzo BarberiniPalazzo Barberini, Rome, Italy -

    International Execs Descend on Rome as MIA Market Serves Fresh Films, TV Dramas, Docs

    Rome’s MIA market for TV series, feature films and documentaries kicks off today with hundreds of international buyers descending upon the Eternal City for four-days (Oct. 16-20) of presentations of fresh top-notch mostly European product and dealmaking done in a more relaxed setting than Mipcom. The new concept mart now at its 5th edition, which [...]

  • Former Orange Studio Exec Andrei Kamarowsky

    Former Orange Studio Exec Andrei Kamarowsky Becomes Gulf Film COO (EXCLUSIVE)

    Andrei Kamarowsky, who recently stepped down from Orange Studio where he spearheaded international, has joined Dubai-based distribution group Gulf Film as Chief Operating Officer. Founded three decades ago, Gulf Film is involved in both distribution and exhibition in the Middle East, and has close relationships with Studiocanal, Pathé, having output deals with STX Entertainment, MGM, [...]

  • Harry Connick Jr. American Idol

    Harry Connick Jr. to Receive Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

    Grammy and Emmy Award winner Harry Connick Jr will be honored with at star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame next week. The ceremony will take place on the morning of Oct. 24. “When choosing a star location, we try to incorporate ties to the honoree and this one turned out to be a coincidence [...]

  • Zombieland: Double Tap

    Film Review: 'Zombieland: Double Tap'

    The zombies have evolved in “Zombieland: Double Tap”; the comedy not so much. But that’s OK, because Ruben Fleischer’s 2009 breakout hit — which gobbled up $75.6 million in a genre fast approaching its pop-culture saturation point — was already a few steps ahead of the curve: Its central quartet actually knew they were living [...]

  • Chinese director Jia Zhangke at the

    Iconic Chinese Auteur Jia Zhangke Touts Trio of Projects at Pingyao

    No one attending the Pingyao International Film Festival can escape learning about Jia Zhangke’s upcoming projects, with the same three trailers for them playing before each and every screening. The art house icon-turned-businessman’s presence looms large over the event he founded in his home province.  First off, there is a new collaboration between Jia and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content