Fernando Meirelles’ 360 explores the mystery of coincidence and personal connection set against an international backdrop and boasts a diverse ensemble which includes Anthony Hopkins, Rachel Weisz, Vladimir Vdovichenkov, Jamel Debbouze, Moritz Bleibtreu, Ben Foster and Johannes Krisch.
Fox International Productions was originally on board to finance and after it withdrew due to logistical issues, producers David Linde, Andrew Eaton of Revolution Films and Chris Hanley pulled together a patchwork of financing and shooting got underway in March 2010. Wild Bunch sold out international rights and UTA is in discussions with US buyers.
360 has been chosen as the opening film at the forthcoming London Film Festival.
How did you get involved on 360?
I was sent the script. Peter Morgan developed it and the seed of the idea was that Viennese playwright Arthur Schnitzler had written his classic Der Reigen [adapted into La Ronde by Max Ophuls] almost 100 years ago. Peter used the original story’s circular structure to create the film but it has almost nothing to do with La Ronde, except that both the film and the play start with a prostitute in Vienna. His motivation was to talk about how we’re all connected and how our acts affect people on the other side of the world. Peter send it to David Linde who called me up.
How did the shoot go?
This was the best shooting experience I have ever had. It lasted nine weeks and it went very smoothly and we finished ahead of schedule. We started in mid-March and shot two days in Minneapolis, which doubled for Denver. There was a snowstorm and we couldn’t fly in directly so we took a plane to a city nearby and drove six hours to Minneapolis where we shot footage of the airport in the snow. Then we shot for five weeks in London, went to Paris for a week and did a few days in Bratislava in Slovakia.
You have an in-demand international cast. Was it difficult to corral everybody?
The most difficult one was Vladimir Vdovichenkov [who plays Sergei]. He’s a superstar in Russia and has done 39 films. He can’t walk down the street without getting mobbed. I fought hard to get him. They wanted me to change schedules but I was stubborn. Jamel Debbouze was also very busy with a play so when we decided we were going to shoot from March to June all the schedules were organised so we could get him for those few days in Paris. They love him in France.
How did you prepare for the tonal shifts in the various storylines?
The beauty of the project for me was I felt like every week I was shooting a different film with a different mood and cast. It was a joy. I really got involved with each of these stories and I shot tones I hadn’t explored before. Each story was different: it’s romantic and sad in Paris, there’s a bit of action in Vienna and there’s family drama with Jude and Rachel. From the beginning we knew it should be a very simple film and not pretentious at all. Everybody will relate to some character whether it’s the way Jude Law looks at Rachel at the school.
What are you doing next?
I’m developing a project for Pathe UK to be shot next year. The script is being written by Braulio Mantovani [screenwriter on City Of God] based on Peter Evans’ book Nemesis. It’s about Aristotle Onassis and his gang. It will be more of a story about the power of hate and how hate builds things. We’ve got some cast ideas but don’t ask me because I can’t tell you just yet.