Your new movie Divertimento
- in a few words, what is it about?
Itís about Jonas Olsen, a chess player whoís given an opportunity to
participate in a mysterious game, Divertimento.
being a murder mystery of sorts, is that a genre at all dear to you, and
some of your genre favourites?
it was interesting to me to start the story as a classic murder mystery,
something everyone has read or watched and can relate to. I needed a
basic aim to gradually change directions and create a different, special
tone in the second part which is proper to the film itself.
Other sources of
inspiration when writing Divertimento?
was of course inspired by The Game, which is one of my favourite
films. I can watch this film as many times as you want. But I didnít
want to do the same thing. The idea was to establish a new, fresh
approach. Something challenging that hadnít been done before, and
could attract such a cast.
What can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at
Iím keen to make a cinematic experience. The audience should be caught in
the film, from beginning to end, without thinking about anything else.
The idea was to employ simple but dynamic camera work which follows the
characters, so that we can highlight the complexity and mystery of the
features quite a star studded ensemble - so do talk about your cast, and
why exactly these people?
Working with so many actors was a premiere to me, and I loved it. They were all kind are perfect.
For Jonas, the main idea was to cast an actor well known by the audience for
his great heroism and kindness. Someone who canít be seen as a
villain, at first sight. Kellan Lutz has played a kind vampire, Hercules, one
of the Expendablesí teammembers, an FBI agent and many more
heroesÖ he was perfect to make the film unexpected and the character
more ambiguous and disturbing.
I also absolutely wanted Torrey DeVitto. She was perfect to portray the queen, and
to play an emotional, yet disturbing character. You want to relate to
her but her character leaves a bitter taste at the end of the film. I
loved working with both of them. And thereís a lot of exciting
discussion by the audience. Who between Jonas, Cathy and the others is
innocent, or guilty?
I couldnít imagine this film without GŲtz Otto. I mean, who else could
have played the rook?
I absolutely wanted Nordic actors for Gustav and Mark. For me, Ola Rapace
was an obvious choice. I already had him in mind since several years.
For this reason and for the seriousness, severity he can portray and
that he played in Skyfall, he was my first choice. When he said he
wanted to do it, it was extraordinary for me.
It was a gift to make this film with Christian Hillborg. I needed an actor
able to deliver a very strong and impermeable performance in a few
minutes. Chritian was more than perfect. The script is the script but my
only regret is that I wanted him more present in the film.
For Helen, I was looking for an actor of English origin. I first had in mind
another actor, based in United States, who wanted to play the part but
her schedule was too complex for our shooting. We both tried to find a
solution, yet the circumstances of her play in New York didnít make
it possible. I stopped casting for a few weeks. Then, I remembered I
watched a few episodes of Harlots and I immediately thought about
Ellie Heydon. She was my new first choice.
You of course also have to
talk about the castle you filmed Divertimento
at, and what was it like filming there? And did you write your movie with
this location already in mind?
I knew I wanted to film in a castle but not this one specifically. Yet,
during pre-production, I absolutely wanted this one, which was not an
easy thing. Filming there was challenging, the rooms and spaces are very
large, you need dozens and dozens of lights.
A few words about the
shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
Incredible. Literally a dream.
$64-question of course, where can Divertimento
Screening at festivals right now.
Anything you can tell us about audience and
critical reception of Divertimento?
Moviegoers are impressed, I can only be happy ! I wanted to make an ambitious
with a different, new approach, with some classic tropes to not lose
the audience. Iím happy thereís a very positive reception to it.
future projects you'd like to share?
working on several scripts.
website, social media, whatever else?
Iím mainly active on
Instagram - @keyvansheikhalishahi
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Anything elseyou're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
I want to again thank everyone involved in this film. There were lots of
artists and people from the industry at every step. As you know, a film
canít be made by its filmmaker alone. We were about 150. I feel
grateful to everyone. And a specific thank you to my make-up team who
came from Spain.
for the interview!