Van Dormael’s ambitious Mr Nobody
by Anne Feuillère
15/06/2007 - Originally planned for early May, shooting on Belgian director Jaco Van Dormael’s third feature Mr Nobody has begun only this week.
Between directing commercials, teaching and producing (La vie est un rêve by French helmer Bernard Campan), the director has not worked in cinema for over 10 years.
Van Dormael has had a string of successes: Toto le héros received the Caméra d'Or at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival, a César for Best Foreign Film and a BAFTA nomination. Five years later, the big box office hit The Eighth Day was nominated for the Golden Globes after its actors Pascal Duquenne and Daniel Auteuil won Palme d’Ors, with Auteuil also pocketing a César for his role. The director’s third film is much awaited and also very ambitious.
Filming and post-production are scheduled to last six months, between Belgium in co-production with France, Canada and Germany. The film’s budget – not yet secured – is approximately €30m, a record for Belgium.
Starring US actor Jared Leto (American Psycho, Requiem for a Dream), Mr Nobody recounts the adventures of Némo over a century or more and on more than one planet. While he leads a normal life as a young husband and father, along his way he meets individuals that look like him, commercial billboards that send him messages and façades of cardboard houses. But then he wakes up and finds himself in 2092 on the verge of death, vaguely remembering his life as a child, the three women that he could love and the multiple lives he could lead.
This epic in space and time between science fiction and fantasy also features Canadian actress Sarah Polley (The Secret Life of Words [trailer, film focus]), French actresses Eva Green (The Dreamers [trailer], Kingdom of Heaven) and Linh Dan Pham (The Beat That My Heart Skipped [trailer]).
Cinematography is by Christophe Beaucarne (Irina Palm [trailer, film focus], To Paint or Make Love [trailer, film focus]) while Dominique Warnier will be responsible for sound and Van Dormael’s regular partner, his brother, Pierre Van Dormael, will handle the film’s score.
Produced by the director through Toto & Co Films with Belgian outfits Climax Films, Scope Pictures and Caviar Films, Mr Nobody is co-produced by Philippe Godeau for France’s Somebody Productions, Germany’s Integral Film and Lago Films, and Canada’s Christal Films, who will also distribute the title.
Backed by the Centre du Cinéma et de l’Audiovisuel de la Communauté française de Belgique, the Vlaams Audivisueel Fonds, Wallimages and Eurimages, Mr Nobody is being sold by Wild Bunch.
Portugal, Greece, Scandinavia, the Baltic countries, Romania, Turkey and Korea have also bought rights. The film is scheduled for a 2009 release.
(Translated from French)