Much like the media sensationalism around the Amanda Knox trial itself, there have been misleading reports that Michael Winterbottom’s new film The Face Of An Angel is an Amanda Knox exposé.
“It’s not a film about Amanda Knox,” Michael Winterbottom says emphatically about his new film, being sold at EFM by WestEnd Films. “The case in our film is a fictional case.”
“Once people see the film the talk about [Amanda Knox] will stop,” he adds.
It’s easy to see why there is some confusion, as Winterbottom acquired the rights to Angel Face: Sex, Murder and the Inside Story of Amanda Knox by the American journalist Barbie Latza Nadeau. But he uses that book just as a jumping off point for his original script (written by Paul Viragh).
Winterbottom’s story is about a British filmmaker (Daniel Bruhl) who goes to Italy to study the aftermath of a high-profile murder case. He meets the American journalist (Kate Beckinsale) who wrote a book about the case, as well as meeting an English student living in Siena working at a bar. While abroad, he starts to question his priorities with his own rocky family relationships, especially with his estranged daughter.
“None of the main characters of the film are directly connected to the case,” Winterbottom adds. “It is in some ways about the way in which the media covers a case like this…At the heart of the film it’s about the tragedy of what it would be like to lose a daughter, and what that means.”
Winterbottom says the recent re-conviction of Amanda Knox would have no impact on the project. “The whole point of Daniel’s character is that you can never know what the truth is,” he adds. “You hear all the noise around the case, but at the heart of it, it’s the family who has lost a daughter and also the family of the accused who is forever changed. It’s the tragedy of someone so young being killed.”
The film is produced by Melissa Parmenter for Winterbottom and Andrew Eaton’s Revolution Films alongside BBC Films, Multitrade, and Ypsilon Films. Executive producers are Eaton, Christine Langan, Norman Merry, Eric Anidjar, Leon Benarroch and Roberto Mitrani, in association with Lipsync LLP and made with the participation of the Tuscan region.
The film finished shooting in and around Siena about two weeks ago and will now head into editing for delivery around August. Marc Richardson will edit. “It’s a complicated story but the shoot went relatively well,” Winterbottom says.
English model Cara Delevingne takes on her first major screen role as the student; her character isn’t at all connected to the murder trial and her relationship with Bruhl’s character is platonic. Winterbottom says Delevingne is “genuinely full of energy and force…she’s very spontaneous and natural.”
Winterbottom has been working on The Face of An Angel for three and a half years. The prolific director also recently shot The Trip To Italy, which premiered at Sundance and is being sold internationally by Goalpost.