How do you feel working without Ismail Merchant for the first time'
We miss his energy. He was in all the details without ever losing his sense of humour. He was laughing all the time. There is a sense of sadness, loss and emptiness, but Paul (Bradley), Richard (Hawley) and all the team are doing a wonderful job with a fantastic spirit. No one wants to fill his shoes because they are much too big. What Ismail had built survived him.
Why did you choose Argentina'
Argentina has a growing film industry which has been very supportive and satisfied all the technical requirements. It would have been very difficult and expensive to shoot it in Uruguay, where the novel is set. I know Argentina has a new wave of young directors and technicians graduated from film schools and this was also important when we made the decision.
What were the biggest challenges'
The lighting, camera and grip equipments and services were excellent, but we faced a great challenge accommodating the entire cast and crew in an isolated area with no hotels, restaurants, roads and communication.
The response from local people living in small communities like Veronica and Punta Indio was very positive. We were allowed to shoot in a local school and to rent a whole navy base. We lived together like a big family in those late 19th century plantation houses. We also spent the weekends enjoying the swimming pool and horse riding. A whole wonderful experience.