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Interview: Lone Scherfig

By BRETT MICHEL  |  November 16, 2009

BM: Who knows if there's any truth to it, but all of the stories I was reading when I was reading up on your film were linking to articles about her and Shia Labeouf. Apparently, they are canoodling.
LS: Yeah, but she was with me in Telluride…

BM: And-?
LS: Well, he was not with me in Telluride! But they are shooting together in this new Wall Street film, and I think yesterday they had to rehearse motorcycle scenes, because I think he's going to cross the Brooklyn Bridge on a motorcycle, and she'd be sitting on the back of that, so…I haven't read any of it. She's a good girl. She makes good choices. So, if that is true, I'm sure he's a nice person. I have no idea!

BM: How about Alfred Molina?
LS: Oh, I want to work with him again, too! As you know, he is English, but he's here [in the US]…but he still has that very typical British approach to the material. They are so faithful to script, and they come out of the tradition of great, great drama and very humble traditions. He said he knew the man immediately. He grew up, I think, in Notting Hill and knew that world, even if he's slightly younger than his character, he can't have experienced very much in '61…he must have been a child back then. But still he clearly remembers that world, the fear of excess, the anxiety, everything that Jack's character is built on. Every time he came in the room, it's like the three tenors come into the room. He's so warm and overwhelming and puts everyone in a good mood. And of course, for Carey Mulligan, this is her first big role, [and] playing tennis with John McEnroe; it makes playing tennis very easy if you have someone like that playing with you. I still wish that we had had more scenes and more time.

BM: I bet a lot of people would have liked to see more of that collaboration…
LS: Mm-hm. This intensity, and this urge for art, and people who really have these nuanced opinions on what they consume, is unusual here and amazing. It’s not that common in my part of Europe anymore…in Denmark, even…that the Universities still attract the best minds. It’s some of what Jenny urges for in An Education, is just to be around people who share her appetite. And that kind of intense urge may not be that common anymore!

BM: Sadly true.
LS: So it’s great, that here it is, and obviously at the film festivals, you always experience people flying in from all over the world to just watch films with other people! It’s a very positive thing! So in that way, I hope that the film somehow advertises the joy of and the way that things can get more value if you understand them better. Or that…the way education is…is…a gift!

BM: Well, you’re intensely thankful when Jenny finally gets her education back on track and she finally reaches out to her teacher…
LS: But because there’s a love story – and the love story tends to always become the “A” plot in a film – as soon as someone dates somebody that’s the magic wagon you want to jump onto. And then you tend to forget that it was actually a story about a girl who wanted someone who she could talk to, and hopes that she could read and hopes that she could think. So I still kind of feel that she should have ended up with Peter Sarsgaard and no education.

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