As a fan of more ambitious filmmaking, it’s always exciting to see what project British filmmaker Iain Softley is going to take on next. From a cyberpunk cult classic to a sci-fi piece set in a psychiatric institute to a hoodoo thriller set in Louisiana, it’s hard to predict the subject matter and setting of his films. For his most recent project, Trap For Cinderella, Softley took on the task of adapting Sébastien Japrisot’s novel of the same name, bringing it to his home country and providing his own spin on the dark thriller.
Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Iain for an exclusive 1 on 1 chat in honor of the film’s release. We discussed the process of adapting a novel, the use of identity as a theme in cinema, what drew him to the project and more!
Check out the full interview below, and enjoy.
We Got This Covered: What drew you to adapting this novel?
Iain Softley: I was gripped by the novel when I read it, the twists and turns of the plot, but also the way it got inside the heads of both girls. It was also very eloquent about the way that we often envy people or their lives, when if we were in their shoes, we might take a different view. In fact, the observation in the book that one’s unhappiness will not necessarily be solved by switching lives with some else, is a central theme of Wing’s of the Dove too.
WGTC: What was the reasoning behind modernizing it and setting it in London?
Softley: The initial reason was budgetary, because the original drafts I wrote were set in Paris and the South of France. As soon as I made the change I realized it was the right decision. In many way the Bohemian scene on London’s East End where much of the action takes place, is more like 60s Paris, where the book was set, than contemporary Paris is.
It was also exciting making a contemporary film set in my hometown. All my other films that take place today are filmed elsewhere. It also meant that we could make a film that was very immediate in the way it reflected the world in which it was set. Often we shot on the streets with members of the public.
WGTC: Were there any specific challenges you had with adapting the novel? I especially feel like it couldn’t have been easy to find the proper balance when handling the flashbacks.
Softley: I made a very loose adaptation of the novel. I really only became confident in the script when I made it about people that I’ve known who were close to me and who were similar to the main characters. A number of scenes in the film are not from the book at all but are taken from situations that I have observed first hand.
WGTC: Do you like directing off something you’ve written better than taking on someone else’s script?
Softley: There are advantages to both. With a script I’ve written, I’ve visualized the scene in the process of writing it. So the shooting is easier. With a script from someone else, I always want to get to the same place of having the film in my head before shooting, but there is something to be said for coming at the material fresh. There is a different clarity, to do with getting a sense the first time you read it of how it will work on an audience.