[Editor’s note: The following interview contains some spoilers for “Fair Play.”]
All Chloe Domont wished to do was direct. But film directing assignments aren’t handed out to NYU Film School grads, so she apprenticed in tv to make a dwelling, beginning out as a author’s assistant, ultimately transferring onto being the one girl in an in any other case all-male author’s room on “Ballers.”
That intense, life-changing expertise impressed her directorial debut “Fair Play,” which she wrote throughout the pandemic. The primary define: a younger hedge fund govt (Phoebe Dynevor) is so glad together with her boyfriend (Alden Ehrenreich), who additionally works at her hedge fund, that they comply with get married. They maintain their forbidden relationship secret on the agency, going as far as to take completely different routes to the workplace. But when she’s all of the sudden promoted over him, changing into his boss within the course of, the dynamic swiftly modifications.
The film is intimate, attractive, and violent — and rapidly received financed. And after “Fair Play” premiered at the Library in Park City last January, it ignited a bidding war for worldwide rights, which was received by Netflix for $20 million.
That very writing room was the rationale Domont wrote “Fair Play,” she advised me on the Toronto International Film Festival, which performed the film forward of its theatrical launch this week (it begins streaming on Netflix subsequent Friday). “You’re treated like one of the boys,” she stated. “And so you’ve got to act like one of the boys. And if you don’t act like one of the boys, there’s a risk that you lose your seat at the table. It never rose to the level of sexual harassment. It was more like: ‘Are you tough?’ It’s a little more hazing. Like, you’re a guy. They did it to younger men, too.”
After the “Ballers” author’s room, Domont graduated to directing episodes of the present and different collection. Which was quite a bit higher. “While I was directing TV, I was looking for this story to tell,” she stated. “‘Fair Play’ came to me from my rise up in television. And I put that in the movie, because I felt like that that was an important thing to show. And, at times, there was a lot of shame. I was showing how women have to play ugly to survive in that kind of workspace.”
And but, directing tv is an episode by episode dedication overseen by the showrunner.
“You’re still a day player,” she stated. “I knew TV was not, especially as a director, not my medium. I have stories I want to tell and and so I always knew that the goal was to switch over. I wanted to make sure that when I did tell the story, that it was the right story. I had written other scripts, but I didn’t think they were good enough or timely enough or pierced through enough and it took life experience to realize that no, ‘Fair Play’ is the story I need to tell.”
Domont began with the thought of the unraveling of the connection. “The idea that there’s a power flip. I had no idea what backdrop it was against, or how exactly it was going to implode,” she stated. COVID supplied uninterrupted writing time. “The first thing that came to me was the scene when Emily gets promoted,” Domont stated. “And, the idea that her first reaction isn’t excitement, it’s fear. And when that scene happened: ‘OK, this is what I need to write from. It’s that.’”
The filmmaker has met her share of poisonous males in her romantic life — although not, she stated, the “lovely man” she is seeing now. “I met him through his mother, who was the breadwinner of the family. I knew that he could handle it,” she stated. “In my personal life, there are men that adore me for all my traits, but they also at the same time can’t help but feel threatened by them in some way, because of the way they’re raised. It’s that intersection and juxtaposition, that’s where the conflict is, not just in relationships, but also in work, too. What’s interesting art to me is you take your experience and you dramatize it, or you put it in new territories, you’re still exploring something new, but also, I get excited when people push it, but are still grounding it within the realm of reality.”
Domont determined to discover the world of excessive finance, particularly, a hedge fund. “I wanted to set it in an office setting,” she stated. “That would feel more universal for women. I had a bunch of friends in that space, who faced emotional highs and lows. They could start out their day where everything’s going great. And then right before close, suddenly they made a bad bet. And everything’s crushed.”
Again, Domont’s expertise within the author’s room knowledgeable her analysis strategies. She took a bunch of hedge fund guys out for drinks. “I got them drunk,” the filmmaker stated. “And I asked them a bunch of questions. Studying that world was like learning a foreign language.”
When Domont confirmed the script to her UTA brokers, they despatched it to Star Thrower and Ram Bergman and Rian Johnson’s banner T-Street at MRC, for producing and financing. It’s simple to see the attract: The film subverts the standard sexual attraction style, whereas pushing it into “what would you do?” territory. “They got it to the right producers who really connected with it,” she stated. “And it moved surprisingly quickly, and they signed on like the day after they read the script. So it was exciting.”
When it got here to casting the lead, Domont wished to search out an actress who, just like the character, was “a rising star in her world,” she stated, “someone that wasn’t already established. And I felt like Phoebe was a rising star. She was a rising star in TV, but she hadn’t had a film moment yet. So I was trying to think outside the box in terms of casting than the 12 names that you get.”
And clearly, throughout her time on “Bridgerton,” Dynevor has proven that she will deal with intimate scenes. “But for me, what I was looking for the most was, how present is she? How dialed-in is she, and for me, it was incredibly clear that she was totally present,” Domont stated. “There was a vulnerability there, but also a fierceness. I also liked the way that you could read distress in her eyes. That was incredibly important. I felt there were places I could take her that she hadn’t been, and I could push them.”
For her companion, Domont was in search of an actor who was the alternative of the character. “Alden is an incredibly strong, versatile actor that started out with a lot of pop,” she stated. “I I loved him in ‘Hail, Caesar!’ I knew that it was going to take a confident man to play that level of insecurity. And a lot of other male actors I spoke with, you could tell they were already insecure about going to those insecure places. And that’s never going to be a good recipe for this movie. But Alden came in super confident, so comfortable in his own skin. And he’s all about the craft and and there was never any question: ‘Why does this character goes to these places?’ He’s just ready to dive into the material.”
Because of her TV expertise, Domont wished to maintain capturing on inside units, so Bergman pushed for them to shoot in Eastern Europe, the place he and Johnson had constructed units for “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.” (Exteriors have been shot in New York.) They constructed the workplace, the bogs, and the residence. “I like the control,” Domont stated. “I like being able to build things exactly as you want and then have the space to shoot it. We built when she goes shopping for the blouse. It was amazing. We were able to build everything. I had a specific idea for how I wanted each of the spaces to feel claustrophobic in different ways.”
For the couple’s scruffy East Village residence, “the idea is that they would live together in a part of town that they wouldn’t run into [people from work] in Chelsea or Midtown, or on the West Side,” she stated. “And visually I wanted a different texture than the all-glass Midtown office, I wanted something a little grittier. And they’re also young, too. So it’s before they both made a lot of money. They’re still those types of finance bros and girls. They work all day and they party all night, and then they just crash for a few hours before they do it all again, the next day.”
When it got here to filming, the producers tried to search out a number of simple scenes for the neophyte director to start out with. “There were like two,” she stated. “We were just in it for the rest of the shoot. I wanted to treat this like it’s a ticking time bomb and this pressure cooker. And this ballooning tension. And once the balloon does pop, it turns into a dogfight. That’s how I wanted to go about making this movie.”
Most of the time Domont used one digital camera, favoring lengthy takes, however generally used two to seize simultaneous reactions. The intercourse scenes have been filmed in two elements: “usually the performance side before the sex part,” she stated. “So we were just trying to shoot it for performance, and we would shoot everything up until the sex part. We would treat that like a stunt. We had an intimacy intimacy coordinator, and we also had a stunt team there too. So that was helpful for me, it was helpful for the actors, so they didn’t have to worry about performance. And then worrying about where their head was going to land or anything like that and safety wise it just made a lot of sense. We didn’t do many takes of the intimate parts.”
The most tough scene to shoot was the toilet sexual assault. “It took us all day to shoot and we had a crane in there and things moved slowly,” stated Domont. “We shot Phoebe’s side first and her performance would lead and whatever happened on his side, so it was a challenging thing. We were editing the film while we were shooting, so I had my editor edit that scene and make sure. ‘If we don’t have this final scene, we don’t have a movie. Let me know if this works.’ So he cut it together, and then we found that there were some things missing. We went back, because we built the set, and we could do that.”
Clearly, it was an incredible feeling, being in cost. “Especially after years in television, where you do have the real voices over your shoulders and you’re serving someone else’s vision,” Domont stated. “I felt like I was finally in my element. I was burning and ready to tell this story. I had spent a lot of time honing and honing and honing my craft in TV. I feel grateful for the TV experiences, because I feel like it taught me to become a professional before I got to make my first film. A lot of first-time filmmakers, they’re not professional yet. And so they don’t know how to make quick decisions and sacrifice the things that are not as important to protect the things that are crucial. TV taught me how to do that.”
Also, she had sturdy producers behind her. “They knew how to give me the resources,” she stated. Which additionally helped when it got here to orchestrating the sale at Sundance. They saved the film low on the radar, and let it converse for itself. Why did they go together with Netflix? “Their pitch in the room,” she stated. “They are the ones who are going to put in the most effort behind behind getting this this film out into the world and the global reach that they were going to give us film. Ultimately, I want as many people to see this film as possible.”
Next up: Domont turned down some big-studio gives, however selected to stay to writing her subsequent three deliberate movies. For now, she’ll keep impartial and stick together with her producing workforce. Why repair what ain’t broke?