A few years after scooping three Golden Globe Awards and also my mother for the “Night Manager” in question, Susan Beyer already has plans to conquer your TV screens again. The Danish director, who also has an Oscar statuette on the shelf for best foreign film (on “In a Better World”, 2011), returns with a new series from HBO with serious success potential, written and produced by David E. Kelly (“Big Little Lies”).
“You Should Have Known,” which airs tomorrow (Monday, on yes, HOT and Cellcom TV), is based on a novel of the same name by Gene Hanf Corlitz and tells the marriage story of therapist Grace Fraser (Nicole Kidman) and her husband Jonathan (Hugh). Grant), a physician specializing in children with cancer. We meet the two when they look happy, in love and very rich. They hang out with the right crowd on New York’s Upper East Side and send their son to a school of the kind he expects to be donated a lot of money in addition to the annual tuition, a sum that can easily fund an average family.
Their seemingly perfect world is shaken when a young, beautiful and seductive mother of a student studying for a scholarship at school penetrates their social circle, and a cold-blooded murder reveals truths they did not know about each other. As the lawyer character in the series says: “This is what rich and privileged people do when they are threatened – they hide the ugly truth to protect themselves.”
In a video interview with Beyer, the director says it all started with HBO sending her the first episode draft to read. The names associated with the series of course contributed to her desire to direct, but the materials from which she is made – a crumbling marriage and the idea that someone you know eventually turns out to be someone else entirely – are what made her get into the project. “The feeling of being pulled off the rug under your feet, that everything you believed in is actually starting to dissipate, is a great thing to explore. Also, the privileged lifestyle with the endless permissiveness of the upper class really intrigued me. Who look out over the park and wonder what it feels like to live this life.In my opinion, the story here fills the voyeuristic instinct into the world of abundance of the big apple.
“The fact that the plot progresses like an avalanche – starts somehow and drags full of things into it so that it is constantly changing – is another reason I really liked the project,” she continues. “There was something very fun about not being able to trust any character. The understanding that you want to believe in certain things, and the fear and hesitation to give them up or lose them, even if the world turns upside down in your head, those qualities are so human but also very dangerous.”
New York appears in the series in all its glory – the beautiful buildings, the effortless beauty, the bustling streets and the bustle of people – a description very far from the corona-stricken city of today. “I always wanted to shoot in New York, it’s a city that always excited me. We shot the series there exactly a year ago and it’s unbelievable what happened in the time that has passed since then and how the city, as well as the whole world, has actually changed,” says Beyer.
The name of Nicole Kidman, who worked with David E. Kelly on “Big Little Lies,” was already connected to the project and came to Bayer along with the script. Hugh Grant, however, was a casting of the director, who discovers that she has always dreamed of working with the English actor. “Hugh is not only a great actor, he is also a very secretive and personal person,” she explains. “It has the British charm, fun and nerdiness that it is very well known for, but there are other things that happen to it below the surface – deeper and maybe even darker things, so it fits well with the role of the charming and successful doctor, which has lots of shades of gray and layers exposed Slowly.I think casting is the most important decision.This is where I spend the most energy and thought.No make mistakes, it has no place.So Hugh’s casting is perfect, he manages to show great vulnerability and he also never looks so wrinkled and physically depraved as “That he was seen here. He flowed with it completely.”
Nothing in Beyer’s 60s childhood indicated that she would go in the direction of directing, as someone who comes from a family of lawyers and businessmen. The time she spent alone in Jerusalem as part of a student exchange, two years in which she studied design at Bezalel and took a short distance from the family, helped her find what she really wanted to do. “It was one of the happiest times of my life,” she recalls with a smile. “I can tell you stories about learning hard but the truth is that I mostly made a living. I continued to return to Israel even after school. I returned to the Jerusalem Film Festival several times, I even worked there. I am dying to return again. Now because of the circumstances I can not but once things are released “And the world will return to normal, you will find me in Israel. It is safe.”
The entry into the world of cinema took place in London, where she studied architecture and found herself designing sets of films. This job led her back to Denmark and to work in the film industry, and from there already to directing in the 90s. In 2002, she directed the film “Open Hearts”, which was a success outside the borders of Scandinavia, and nine years later she already made “In a Better World”, which won the Oscar.
In 2016 she was also praised for her television work in “Director of the Night” – an adaptation of John Le Carre’s book starring Tom Hiddleston, which became a huge hit first in the UK and later in the world, and in 2018 V even marked the streaming department when she brought Netflix one One of her great successes – the movie “The Bird Box”, in which Sandra Bullock played. There are not many directors who have won the three big awards (Oscar, Golden Globe, Emmy) – not to mention female directors. What’s more, Beyer is the only one who broke the glass ceiling in this regard.
Beyer enjoys skipping between film and television, especially given the blurring of differences between the media duo in recent years. “I think until ten years ago cinema was the true expression of art and today that boundary is disappearing, not only because cinema is in a much more sensitive and vulnerable state, but also because television has become so great. For me, as a director, producing six hours of cinema for television It’s the most amazing thing in the world. I can do anything I want – I have room for creativity but also room to tell a story, I can leave room for characters who are not necessarily the main characters, I can develop the narrative. It’s a great platform and today you can find outgoing materials “By the way. By the way, there is also very good Israeli television. I am really addicted to ‘Fauda’, I have not missed any of its episodes and I am really looking forward to next season.”
Beyer was born into a Jewish family from Copenhagen. Her father and family emigrated from Germany to Denmark in 1933, after Hitler came to power, while her mother’s family emigrated there from Russia in the early 20th century to escape the rise of anti-Semitism. A decade later the two families were forced to flee to Sweden to evade deportation to extermination camps, and three years after the end of World War II they returned. Beyer shares that Judaism is in her DNA, as well as the sense of belonging to a refugee family.
“It’s totally part of who I am,” she says. “My father was stateless until he was very, very old and I have no doubt at all that it made him who he is, and indirectly me who I am. The strange thing about what we are going through with the whole epidemic is that because my family escaped the Holocaust I used to walk around with a sense of potential catastrophe. Around the corner, a feeling that something bad is about to happen – and it will happen as soon as it is least noticed. I felt comfortable with being the only one who feels this way, that I’m crazy, I also understood why it is. “Everyone is suffering.”
How do you deal with that?
“I know the catastrophe exists but I try not to let it affect me very much. By nature I am an optimistic person, a person with a pretty good mood most days, so I try to keep it. Sometimes at nights if I can’t fall asleep, it grips me more. That it’s important not to let it play games with you, stay focused and believe it will pass.
“I found myself cooking a lot – something I hadn’t done in years,” she says. “I’ve been so busy the last five years with work that I’m almost never home, so I took advantage of that time to get to know him again, to enjoy being with my husband. Oddly enough it was healthy for me. It might be a bit privileged to say that, with what’s going on in the world, “Personally, I was healthy not to be able to travel anywhere. However, I must admit that I have exhausted the matter and I am already completely ready to return to the normal course of life and I am sure I am not the only one.”
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