How did creating a book trailer differ from your usual work – commercials, music videos and documentaries?
The idea of doing a trailer for A Delicate Truth came from le Carre himself. He wanted to launch his book in a new and original way. I thought this was quite maverick of him for such an established writer.
What I quickly realised with the medium is that it is a tricky space for making a film, as you can’t tell a whole story. You need to leave that to the book! I felt that a book trailer should be incomplete somehow… not give it all away, but still engage and intrigue the reader by capturing the mood of the book.
For me it was really important to respect the reader and not spoil their reading experience. Reading is so personal and everyone imagines the characters in their own way. I didn’t want to visually cast the characters in the book as I didn’t want to pollute the reader’s imagination. The movie of the book can do that!
Is that actually John le Carré in the film as well?
After meeting the man himself (what a joy) I realised what an incredible character John le Carré is. I became determined he should be in it. I wanted the film to be both a portrait of him as a writer and something that captures the atmosphere of the novel.
I found out that he still hand writes all his novels, so all the text in the film, the photocopier shots, are his hand written manuscript.
I then decided to use a similar technique to what he uses in the book. To give the viewer a series of clues so the story unravels, rather than tell it in a straightforward way.
So I took the locations in the novel, the key places where drama happens in the book and made those locations the visual spine of the film. I then took the inciting incident from the novel, the drama in the first chapter, and we created an action soundtrack of the events; an accidental murder by corporate mercenaries. The sound was designed by the guys who did the recent film of le Carre’s Tinker Tailor Solider Spy.
Clashing those two things together became a very interesting juxtaposition and (hopefully) tantalises the viewer with the tone and world, without giving away too much.
Was it a straight forward shoot?
All shot on one day in and around London. The hardest location to shoot was The Clive Steps as all the workers from the Foreign Office kept walking through shot.
Budgets are of the music video genre.
Director: Kim Gehrig
DP: Jaime Feliu
Art direction: James Foster
Editor: Tom Lindsay
Sound Design: Andy Shelley, Stephen Griffiths
Production: The InkFactory, Rhodri Thomas and Somesuch & Co, Lee, Tim and Denna.