«Olive Kitteridge» (2014), Lisa Cholodenko
I read Elizabeth Strout’s novel, Olive Kitteridge (2008), which is really thirteen short stories compiled into one novel, and I immediately started passing it around to all my friends. I love to read, and when I find a good one, I pass it on. I sent it to a friend of mine, and she read it in 24 hours. She is a friend from drama school, another actress and she said, “Oh, you want to play this part.” I said, “No, no, it’s a novel, it’s found its form, it doesn’t need to be anything else.” And then, a couple days later… I’m thinking to myself, “Hmmm…”.
It had just been presented to me by my representation that perhaps I needed to consider looking for material to develop into projects that I could also act in. I’d never been interested in that before, because it takes too long and I don’t have that much patience. But it came into my life in a very specific time of my life when I knew that my son was going to be leaving home in a couple years, and I was going to need something to focus on. I had, over most of my professional life, played the supporting role to male protagonists, which is also the case for most female actresses’ lives. And not only is that a fact of most female actresses’ lives, it was very convenient for me because it also allowed me to do theater, and allowed me to have a life, allowed me to be a very good housewife, which I am, and the mother to my son.
I was introduced to Jane Anderson, who adapted the novel into a screenplay, by a mutual friend of ours, because she and her wife Tess met their son the same year that we met our son—both were adopted from Paraguay. Talk about fate! We had dinner to introduce our sons; it’s all about the four parents being thrilled that they met other people in similar circumstances, and we’re chatting. Jane said, “You know, I’ve just written a play.” I said, “I know, I’ve read it. It’s wonderful. I’ve read your other plays.” And she said, “What are you doing?” And I said, “Well, I’ve just optioned this book. For the first time, I’ve done that weird optioning of a book.” And I had met with many writers, and she said, “Oh well, I’m a writer.” I gave her the book and, BOOM!
We then started the process of developing the story. She had—at the time—a 15-year-old son, I had a 15-year-old son. We were the same age. The conversation about the adaptation of this character from Elizabeth Strout’s story, was also full of our conversation about being parents to a son, having been in long marriages—we had many things in common. And we were very certain [that this project was not going to be a film], because in my experience, the easiest way to tell a story in genres of film, more often than not, is as a supporting character to a male protagonist, because most films are 90 minutes, linear, and genre driven. I had recently seen The Wire—an excellent, excellent, five year series all taking place in a small city called Baltimore, and it was superb long-format story-telling. Aha! That’s the way to tell a female story.
We were able to take it to HBO, who at that time was known for taking literature and adapting it to the screen. They’d been very successful at doing that and they had given a lot of their budgeting towards that, but I had also heard and was told that, every three years, they had a little bit left over, which they would give it to a project such as this. So Jane took these thirteen short stories, and she wrote a six-hour adaptation into a screenplay.
I have always believed it should have a theatrical release because it is a film. It’s a four-hour film. It takes place in the life of a couple over thirty years of their life. And I’m so glad that you’re going to see it in this room, with a lot of other people, on a large screen. The first time that I saw it with my husband, Joel, who’s a filmmaker and my mentor of many years, we saw it at a screening of all four hours at the Venice film festival, and—two hours, and then a lovely dinner, and then two more hours,—and at the end, it was very well received, and he turned to me and he said, “You did good, Francie.”
Retranscription établie par Nathalie De Biasi.
Pour citer cette ressource :
Frances McDormand, Nathalie De Biasi, "«Olive Kitteridge» (2014), Lisa Cholodenko", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), janvier 2020. Consulté le 07/12/2023. URL: https://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/arts/cinema/olive-kitterdige-2014-lisa-cholodenko