Nearly 40 years after her death, 2015 looks like the year of Eileen Gray, the designer, modernist and architect behind E1027.
Gray, the Irish-Anglo architect who lived much of her life in France, is now the subject of Mary McGuckian’s new feature, The Price of Desire, which is being prepared as part of an ambitious eight-strand project devoted to Gray.
Gray had already been through several career shifts by the time she started work on the iconic modernist villa E1027 in 1924. She later lost the house, and Le Corbusier controversially stepped in and painted murals on the walls and didn’t acknowledge Gray’s authorship of the house.
McGuckian, another Irishwoman living partly in France (who happened to study engineering), was drawn to Gray’s story for many reasons. “Her story became fairly metaphoric about the lack of recognition for female artists,” McGuckian says. “its a lifetime of little insidious chauvinistic events, no singular massive events.”
“The story is really a dialogue between herself and Le Corbusier and Le Corbusier’s promoter…it’s the story around that house, it’s not a biopic,” she says. Orla Brady plays Gray with Vincent Perez taking on Le Corbusier (and in fact getting a PhD to prepare for the role). There’s also a love triangle between the bisexual Gray and two lovers.
The production was allowed to shoot in E1027 and even helped with the restoration that finally saw the house opened to the public earlier this month.
Buyers seeking a respite from the Palais might consider a trip to Villa E1027 (just an hour from Cannes), with sales company The Little Film Company arranging daily visits.
The narrative feature is just one component of the Gray package — there is also a documentary, Gray Matters by Marco Orsini, a new biography, exhibitions, photography, villa tours, music and even a video game.
As McGuckian says, “We set out to make a movie, and you spend two years researching it and think this is such great research somebody should use it all!”
Little Film Company is showing scenes of The Price of Desire today at noon in Riviera 1, and a summer launch is planned theatrically in Ireland with more territories to follow.