Wed. Jan 29th, 2020

«In a thousand pieces», how to get out of hell from crack

The controversies, however scandalous they may seem at the time, are often forgotten soon. In 2003 James Frey published his heartbreaking memories of addiction and rehabilitation under the title "In a thousand pieces" (Taurus). Oprah, among others, strongly recommended it. The book became a bestseller at almost the same time it was discovered that Frey's memories were more fiction than biography. The public was shocked, feeling cheated, and Oprah interviewed the author to put all the deception on the table. Fifteen years later comes the film version of a story that, regardless of its fiction quota, tells how hard it is to deal with addiction. In a nod to the scandal of yesteryear, Sam Taylor-Johnson, director of the film, has chosen to introduce "In a thousand pieces" with a phrase from Mark Twain: "I've lived terrible things, some of which really happened."

Taylor-Johnson trained as an artist – belongs to the generation of Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin – and dedicated himself first to sculpture and later to photography. In 2008 he made the leap to the cinema with «Nowhere Boy», and years later he entered Hollywood with the adaptation of «Fifty Shades of Gray». If with the second one he got the ticket office validation (the film raised more than 550 million euros worldwide), with the first he got four Bafta nominations. In the filming of "Nowhere Boy", in addition, she met her husband, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who this time not only stars in her partner's film but also signs the script with her. With a budget that is not generous, the film, which also involves Billy Bob Thornton and Juliette Lewis, was shot in just twenty days.

–How did the project come about?

– I read the book when it came out in 2003, and what I felt when reading it stayed with me for years. When I learned that the rights to turn it into a movie had returned to its author, I contacted him to buy them. He replied that he did not want money but that he made a good film that would maintain the spirit of the text.

– Frey participated somehow in the script or filming?

–Aaron and I wrote the script. James told us that he wanted us to be as creative as possible and that if we needed him at any time we could contact him. He was always at our disposal and we contacted him from time to time. Aaron even took a car trip with him to get to know each other better. They went to a rehabilitation center together. I joined them a little later.

– What aspect of the direction is more difficult in general and what was the challenge of this particular film?

– It has been a challenge since its inception. The budget we had in mind when we wrote it was much larger than it ended up being. In the end, we ended up rolling in twenty days with a very small budget. But, looking back, that made a lot more sense for the subject the film is about. We are talking about addiction and recovery. It is something crude, hard, so rolling it in such a few days was better for everyone. It has been a truly amazing experience. It is from these films that it has reached our soul.

– How was working with your husband?

–I love working with Aaron. He is an extraordinary actor. Every time we work together I learn from him a lot. From «Nowhere Boy» we have tried to find a project in which to collaborate again. When he arrived we realized that he was the right one; It is a perfect role for him. Aaron has offered a sublime interpretation.

– What would you like people to take away from the movie?

– The film deals with the issue of addictions and the struggle that recovery entails. I hope that those who need it can see that there is hope and light at the end of the tunnel. And that the community of people around you is important when you're in a recovery process, and how much those people can help you get out of the hole. In this story there is humor and sadness, but the most important thing is that there is hope.

–As a woman, have you seen any significant changes since #Metoo?

–The #Metoo has put the conversation on the forefront. It has been placed in the foreground and that, no doubt, has had some impact. The road is long and we are moving forward, although very slowly.

– The film is quite hard. Was it difficult to disconnect at the end of the work day?

-Yes, you don't really disconnect until filming is over. The aura surrounding the film remains with you at different intensities while you are involved in it. It is unavoidable. You have to live with it until you finish.

– Surely all the projects you have done are very special for you, but is there a genre with which you feel more comfortable?

– I like to direct films where the stories are good and the characters are the true protagonists. Now I would love to make a musical.

– Can directing be therapeutic? Is it a way to investigate human behavior?

–I don't know if it's therapeutic, but rather creative. Nor do I learn too much about human behavior in directing. About that I have learned more through other vital experiences. When I was a waitress, for example, I learned a lot about how people behave.

– Of all the projects you have directed, are there any that have a special affection?

-This. It is a project that I was passionate about from the beginning and of which I feel very proud. It has taught me a lot and has led me to reflect a lot about myself and my art. It has been an interesting trip.

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