Speaking at the American Film Market about his second feature film as writer-director, “Lost and Found in Paris,” Rupert Everett says: “Sex is quite an important feature [of the movie], but I’m not a big fan of full on sex in films. And so, even though there’s a lot of sexual content in this movie, I want it to be glimpsed at rather than seen full on.”
Everett gives an example, involving the central character, adventurous teenager Rupert, a sex worker called Danny who he falls in love with, and Delphine, a transsexual sex worker who works out of a truck in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris. “The first big love scene between Rupert and Danny is really only seen through a rearview mirror of Delphine’s truck: Odd snatches of bodies intertwining, clumsy embraces. The sex is inferred rather than seen.”
Everett sketches an outline of the semi-autobiographical story: “ ‘Lost and Found in Paris’ is a story about a teenager discovering himself. It’s a true story that’s collaged from various different periods of my life in Paris.”
He adds: “We’re going to meet Rupert who is this young man; he’s been sent away from London by his very middle-class respectable parents because they have a feeling that he’s going out of control. And they’ve sent him to stay with a family in Paris. Rather than it helping to get him back on track, he goes further off into his own world.”
Everett says of his real-life story: “I happened to be 16 when I first went to Paris, and it really turned my head. Arriving in Paris the first time was the most important move I ever made in my life, really.”
Rupert is played by Kit Clarke, and Kristin Scott Thomas plays Parisian socialite Madame Feuillate, the lady of the house in which Rupert lives.
Everett says of Clarke: “He’s got the kind of beauty that is slightly neurotic and hysterical, and you feel that he could rear up at any minute, which I think is great. He has an uncanny resemblance to a kind of androgynous Lady Di, in that he looks at you through his eyelashes.
“I was looking for someone who, in a very old fashioned sense, was a lead in a film. He has a relationship with the camera, which is slightly beyond acting. One of the exciting things about him and him in this movie is I feel I could create some amazing cinema character.”
Dance music and night clubs play a central role in the film. “The 70s was the era of disco. In New York Studio 54 happened, in Paris, Le Palace Club and Le Club Sept happened. Le Club Sept, in which a lot of the film happens, was this amazing tiny club. That is where everybody went night after night, week after week.”
He explains that “the songs in the film are my own personal disco anthems,” citing “Native New Yorker” as an example. “During the 70s, when it came on in the disco, everyone went crazy and the whole dance floor was filled up.”
He adds: “The tracks are going to give it such a dynamic driving quality. The whole experience is going to be really electric, like that period was.”
As well as Le Club Sept, the Bois de Boulogne is “a very important character in the movie,” he says. “The Bois de Boulogne is like the forest in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’ As soon as darkness falls, it becomes this center for bent cops and dealers and transsexual escorts, girls, or rent boys. You can find everything in the Bois de Boulogne. Our hero gets lost deep in the forest and finds a whole cast of characters that completely change his life.”
The world of fashion also plays a part, with the appearance of the two greatest couturiers in France: Gary Saint Lazare, played by Everett, and Wim Waldemar, played by John Malkovich. “Even though there is a certain comedy of manners between them, underneath there is a ruthless fight to the death,” Everett says.
Everett concludes: “It is a good time for a film like this. After two years of pandemic, with everything falling apart, I think we need to have a kind of celebration moment. I think a hedonistic film would be a wonderful thing to see.”
“Lost and Found in Paris” is produced by Jeremy Thomas at Recorded Picture Company, and will go into production in the spring. HanWay Films is handling worldwide sales at the AFM.