Before penning the script for “Supernova,” writer-director Harry Macqueen volunteered at many charities over the course of two years and spent a lot of time with people with dementia. He said the story behind his film is inspired by his time working with people going through this journey.
In the Variety Streaming Room hosted by senior culture and events editor Marc Malkin, Macqueen spoke about “Supernova,” alongside co-stars Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth. The two actors play a middle-aged couple struggling to come to terms with a devastating diagnosis. Macqueen said he began writing the story about five or six years ago after witnessing a middle-aged woman he worked with battling a version of young-onset dementia.
“What I had been watching, although I didn’t know it retrospectively, was her personality unraveling and her being unraveling because of the dementia,” Macqueen said. “At the same time, a friend of mine put her dad in a care home just after his 60th birthday. He had young-onset dementia as well. These things made me really want to learn more about dementia just as a human really, not necessarily as a filmmaker.”
Tucci was the first to sign on to Macqueen’s film. Tucci said it was one of the most beautiful scripts he had ever read, describing it as incredibly poetic and profoundly moving.
“It had a beautiful restraint to it and a lot of writers can’t achieve that,” Tucci said. “There was very little exposition. I loved the silences, the sort of clumsiness of the dialogue.”
Firth and Tucci have been friends for more than 20 years, working on various films together, such as “Conspiracy” and “Gambit.” After being offered a role alongside Tucci and then watching Macqueen’s 2014 drama “Hinterland,” Firth said he felt like he was being handed an experience rather than a job.
“I thought if this is the way Harry shoots and the way he trusts his actors, and that he is not afraid of silences, and not every moment has to be a scene-stealer, a zinger or a dramatic thing, I thought this could be something very, very beautiful,” Firth said.
Watch the full conversation above.