Shot in Norway and based on the novel of the same name by Jo Nesbø, here is “The Hanging Sun – Midnight Sun” told by the protagonists: Alessandro Borghi and Jessica Brown Findlay
Alessandro Borghi is John, a man who runs away from a troubled past and a life of crime. Jessica Brown Findlay is Lea, a woman who lives in the shadow of an abusive husband (for whose disappearance she is held responsible) and an oppressive father. They are the protagonists of The Hanging Sun – Midnight Sun , the film directed by Francesco Carrozzini who, after making his directorial debut in 2016 filming Franca: Chaos and creation (the documentary dedicated to his mother Franca Sozzani , historical director of Vogue Italia), he shot his fiction film starting with Midnight Sun , one of Jo Nesbø ‘s most introspective and dark novels .
The two characters are complex, tormented, marked by a path of suffering and trapped in a present contaminated by a dark past. The film – which after closing the Venice Film Festival out of Competition on Saturday 10 September, will only be in cinemas from 12 to 14 September (it will soon arrive on Sky Cinema) – will show us if there will be a redemption for their destinies. We talked about this with the two actors, two completely different characters : he Roman, extroverted, impulsive, she English, attentive, measured.
What did you like about this story?
Jessica Brown Findlay – The characters: they are two people who observe, do not judge and who have the courage to be in conflict with the rules of the world in which they grew up and in which they do not find themselves. And then the setting: total tranquility, the profound silence of the place where history comes to life.
Alessandro Borghi – I read the book after agreeing to participate in the project. But the gestation of the film started some time before and had a lot to do with my relationship with Francesco. We met 7 years ago in London, on the set of a photographic campaign, then we met in Los Angeles and then in Venice. And during all this time we talked, chatted, discovering a sharing of values and a sense of Italianness that united us. Two years ago, during a brunch in Venice, Francesco told me about The Hanging Sunwarning me that he had already decided the cast, all English. The next day, however, she calls me and tells me: “I’ve decided that I have to do this film with you”. I, displaced, of course I accepted. And from here began a long creative and emotional process that we carried out together. The film is very different from the book: it is a more psychological thriller than the novel. A project in which Francesco and I have made our friendship available.
What was the experience shooting in a location where, to take the title, the sun never seems to set?
JBF – It was incredible. The most immersive experience I have ever lived. The story is closely connected to the space in which it is set and when you are there, you feel it. You feel nature, silence, cold, desolation, they enter you. It was an almost meditative experience.
AB – I shot this film almost simultaneously with the 8 Mountains. I did Valle D’Aosta – Norway – Valle D’Aosta for a total of 8 months in the mountains. And when you go to places so far away from you, from your city, from your world, your thought is only one: the story, your character. And then you create a special bond with the cast because you are there, always together, always focused. It also strengthened my friendship with Francesco. We share practicality with Francesco Carrozzini. If there is a problem at noon, at 2 he comes to me and at 3 he has already
A lot of cold?
AB – When I heard we were going to shoot in Norway in October and November I thought I was going to freeze to death. But no. It may be because of global warming but 60% of the time, thanks also to super technical clothing, I was hot. Rather, the problem was how quickly the weather changed. Director and cinematographer went crazy.
What do you have in common with the characters you played?
JBF – More than sides in common, the characters I play always have something to teach me. Lea has a coldness that I don’t have and I had to do a lot of work to keep my natural instinct to embrace colors at bay. Lea, on the other hand, is always on the defensive. Not that she doesn’t feel emotions, but she has suffered a lot and therefore had to bring out a hardness. Maybe what I share with her is the fact that it’s hard to lie to yourself and when you realize it’s time to change the course of your life, you have to.
AB – John is a man who runs away from his past. On the other hand, I am very nostalgic: I have a very bad relationship with the passing of time, it doesn’t suit me. Perhaps because I am aware that I have not fully enjoyed some moments that I have already lived. But over the years I have been learning more and more to focus on the present, optimizing what happens in the short term, especially relationships with people.He always understood what I was feeling and left me the space to express my emotions ». –
What did you like about each other?
JBF – Alessandro is very focused and calm. He is an actor who knows how to manage the scene and, in doing so, also puts others at ease.
AB – Jessica has incredible strength, she is a very straight woman. She is a great theater actress, and the specific weight she brings to the stage also transfers it to real life. When she speaks it is as if with every word she is delivering something to you, shooting you a bullet that you then need to be able to handle.
The crew was all English except you, Alessandro, and of course Francesco. Is acting in another language an extra filter or challenge?
AB – Regardless of specific knowledge, when you speak in another language you are already wearing a mask, you are already moving away from yourself. And this puts me at ease because playing a character has to distance me from me, from who Alessandro really is.
Last question: what would you really like to be said about you at the end of this interview?
JBF – What a difficult question. I have spent over three decades with myself and I don’t know how to sum them up. Perhaps the only compliment I’d love to hear is that I’m an artist.
AB – This question allows me to make an appeal: people must stop talking about themselves. There is nothing more fake than the consideration we have of ourselves. I can’t even imagine what I would like you to write about me. There is a dimension that we should reclaim that has little to do with our ego and a lot to do with the idea we have of what we are doing. That is, whether it makes us happy or not. Nothing else matters.