The great filmmakers of the future are losing their opportunities to shine, is the fear of veteran actress and director Liv Ullmann.
The Norwegian icon – muse to Ingmar Bergman and long-established in her own right for work on stage and screen – tells HuffPostUK that, even though there is as much talent available as ever, “encouraging auteurs is not where the money’s going”.
She says, “They’re losing their opportunities, because everyone’s busy spending money on what they hope will be blockbusters.
“On the bright side, there is more talent than ever, with people wondering about this world, and people’s behaviour.”
Colin Farrell and Jessica Chastain star in Liv Ullmann's version of 'Miss Julie'
Against this backdrop of creative struggle, Liv’s latest screen offering is, nonetheless, as distinctive as ever – a sparse adaptation of Strindberg’s play ‘Miss Julie’. Jessica Chastain plays the lonely, privileged young woman, bored into toying with the affections of her servant, John, played by a feisty Colin Farrell. Samantha Morton plays his beleaguered fiancée in the film which Liv describes as “being like theatre. When it’s great actors, it’s like life, one acting, one reacting.”
What makes this 1888 play of class and gender warfare relevant today? Liv is passionate.
“Most of the world is in a class we don’t want to notice,” she starts. “Look around. They are literally drowning in waters because we don’t want to notice them.”
Despite her own huge body of work, Liv’s name will be forever associated with two great mentors – Ingmar Bergman and Erland Josephson - something she will always celebrate…
“It’s a wonderful luggage to have,” she smiles. “I know they couldn’t have done it without me, and I’ve done so much else that, even without them, it would have been a rich life. And I stayed friends with Ingmar for the rest of his life. So I’m honoured, anyone who wants to can always ask me about Ingmar Bergman.”
And it seems his unique genes are thriving for another generation, with Liv confiding that her grandson has recently graduated from film school in Norway, and has had a short film accepted by the Toronto Festival.
“He’ll be so cross I’m talking about him,” she laughs,” but I can’t help being a proud grandmother. He’s Ingmar’s grandson, but I’m also hoping he’ll flourish on his own steam as well.”
Miss Julie is on release at selected cinemas, and is also available on major VOD platforms including iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play. Watch the trailer below...