Youre likely to be familiar with the classic Wuthering Heights, but what about the author of the iconic 1847 story? Thats exactly what Frances OConnor digs into in her feature directorial debut, Emily, which stars Emma Mackey as Wuthering Heights author Emily Bronte.
OConnor takes a part-fact and part speculation approach to her story, given the degree of mystery surrounding Emily and the Bronte family. All bonded, all quite different, and all under some form of pressure, all due to inner demons and/or societal expectations.
OConnor, Mackey, Dowling, Gething, and Oliver Jackson-Cohen, who play William Weightman, the local curator, met with the Marbl Collider Supper Suite and Media Studio to discuss their experiences bringing OConnor's vision to life.
Mackey has been making a huge impression on Sex Educationever since the program first premiered in 2019, but it's becoming quite clear that she's eager to make the most of her time between seasons. Next up is the highly anticipated Barbie film starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling:
Emily was wonderful because she was at the right moment for that particular project, and I was so excited about working with a literary figure. It felt like a whole piece to me, and then yeah, I've been lucky to do different things with Emily. You read the script and you just follow it.
Mackeys instincts were on point with Emily, which has a beautifully rich and moving narrative. One of the most impactful of the bunch is Emily's connection with her sisters, not only.
Emily was very much accustomed to being a rebel or a difficult character, [that] was something Charlotte found very difficult because she was much more concerned about how others perceived her, while Emily just didn't care. She was fine with being a weirdo. [Laughs] So it was very much that factor of being able to balance the kinds of love and care and the frustration.
Theres also Anne, the youngest of the bunch, but the only one who is able to deal with her siblings and truly sees her siblings. Why does Anne have this ability when her sisters do not? Here's Gethings' take on it:
I guess as the youngest sibling, seeing how the other siblings have grown up and have their different dynamics and different things that they disagree on or get on with, I guess she was very observant. So yeah, I think it was probably her way of trying to keep everyone happy in the house and just being a laid-back person.
Emily acknowledges that no matter how close one thinks they are to their siblings, there may be hidden parts of their world that are unknown to the Brontes until they reach an agreement. Here's how she put it:
Emily's character, her being such an enigma and holding me back, the desire to be close to her and wanting to be a part of it, was something I certainly thought about in the filming of it. It was a great pleasure to witness this film, and it sparked my interest in the film.
OConnor emphasized that he believes that he is capable of delivering excellent service.
Sometimes, when it comes to siblings, you think you're so close, and you know each other so well, but in other ways, they're just total strangers to you, and I think it was very similar for the real Bronte's as well.
Emily has a slew of important on-screen relationships, but there's also a fairly unique one behind-the-scenes collaboration that influenced the mood and immersive nature of the film. OConnor and Segal opted to eliminate markings and allow the cast to wander freely around the cinematography as they pleased.
"I never felt stuck," says the author of "the most wonderful film." Even if you're in a costume drama, even if you're wearing corsets, I never felt tense or stilted in that way.
Jackson-Cohen further explained that Nanu does the majority of her films on her own, and that she finds it so raw about her ways of working. OConnor further explained, I think it depends on the actors who're looking at you through the lens, and because Nanu, she's also a wonderful person, and you feel that she's enjoying what the actors are doing.
Are you interested in learning more about OConnor, Mackey, Dowling, Gething, and Jackson-Cohen's experiences making Emily? Be sure to check out our entire TIFF 2022 interview at the top of this article!
A-list Communications, Marbl Toronto, COVERGIRL Canada, Tres Amici Wines, Toronto Star, and Blue Moon Belgian White beer are all of our TIFF 2022 partners.