Nocturnal Animals: Tom Ford on his Film

At the Toronto Film Festival premiere of Nocturnal Animals on Sunday night, director Tom Ford said that he keeps his two careers–as a fashion designer and director–separate.

Fashion is Quick, Movies Are Forever

“Fashion is very quick,” he said at a Q&A following the screening. “Movies are forever.  I don’t let them cross.  You will not find one Tom Ford product in this movie.  It’s not a commercial for Tom Ford. If you watch the end credits, it’s Prada, Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel. It’s completely different things.”

Ford made a strong case that his 2009 directorial debut A Single Man, which was well received and earned Colin Firth Best Actor nomination, was not a fluke.

Nocturnal Animals, which picked up the Silver Lion (runner-up) prize from the jury at Venice Film Fest, is a thrilling tale about a woman (Amy Adams) who gets lost in a novel written by her ex-husband (Jake Gyllenhaal).

The Toronto crowd was especially excited about Michael Shannon in a career-best performance as a rough Texas sheriff (a role that could win him yet another best-supporting Actor Oscar nomination), as well as Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who portrays a terrifying baddie.

Authenticity

Ford talked about how authenticity was important to him as a director. “All the art in the film is real by very well-known artists,” he said. He choreographed the film’s opening montage — where elderly, overweight women gyrate naked on podiums — expecting one thing, and then he got another.

American Beauty

“I’ve lived in Europe for the last 27 years, so I decided to be a European,” he said. “What do I want to say about America: the land of tits and ass, Farrah Fawcett squeezed into a little red bikini? Well, it’s gluttonous. But actually, that’s not what happened. I filmed these women and they were so joyful, I found such incredible beauty in them. In the end, they have let go of what society tells them they are supposed to be, and they are the most free.”

Focus Features opens Nocturnal Animals on November 18, and is expected to be a major awards contender.

The specialty unit that has gone back to its art-house roots under new chair Peter Kujawski, who is also making a splash at Toronto with Loving and A Monster Calls.

The Nocturnal Animals premiere was a packed house with Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, Universal chief Donna Langley, NBCUniversal vice chairman Ron Meyer, and actor Taron Egerton in attendance.