Garth Davis is making the rounds to promote his first feature film Lion, which tells the true story of an Indian boy who was adopted by an Australian couple and then, as an adult, used Google Earth to find the village of his birth.
Along the way, Davis has also revealed one or two tidbits about his next film Mary Magdalene, which recently finished shooting in Italy.
In a video interview with Collider, for example, Davis confirmed that Mary Magdalene will not be a prostitute in his film, and he talked about why he tackled the project:
Well in a similar way to Lion, it’s just deeply moving. I just found it a deeply moving human story, so I just had to do it. . . .
When I read the script, it was the first time that story made sense to me. I go, “This makes sense, I trust this.” And we’re not telling the story of Mary as a prostitute, because that was an invention. So we’re basically just telling Mary’s story as it should have been told, and that’s what we’re doing.
He also talked about casting Joaquin Phoenix as Jesus:
I couldn’t think of anyone else who could play Jesus, really. There was no one else on the planet, for me. I just got Joaquin in my mind and couldn’t get it out, and I just trusted that he was the right person.
The script was developed by See Saw as well, and they had a lot of experts in the field to assess the script as it went along, so they’ve had all their advice from people as well, so it’s been carefully managed in that way. . . .
I think everyone has a point of view, and all the points of view are valid, and I trust this story. I believe I can tell the story I want to tell, I can be myself in this story, and I believe it to be true, so I’m going to do it that way.
Finally, he also addressed the fact that he started working on Mary Magdalene while he was still deep into post-production on Lion:
I desperately wanted a break. It was not my choice, except Emile Sherman said, “Hey Garth, I’ve got a project for you.” . . . And he told me about it, and I read it, and I went, “Oh man, I’m going to do this.” Because it’s so beautiful, and he said, “We’ve got an opportunity, we can do it now,” so it was just like, here we go.
Davis was also interviewed by David Poland, and he said even less about Mary Magdalene in this interview than he did in his interview with Collider, but at the very beginning he says, “I see it as a humanistic portrayal of the story.”
If I find any more interviews along these lines, I will add them to this post.