: Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried, Max Thieriot Director
: Atom Egoyan Genre
: Drama, ThrillerRated
: MARunning Time
: 96 minutesSynopsis
: When David (Liam Neeson) misses his flight home from New York and, as a result, the surprise party his wife Catherine (Julianne Moore) has planned for him, Catherine is forced to swallow her disappointment and any suspicions and return to the waiting guests. Reading a text message sent to David's phone the following morning from one of his female students, Catherine's fear grows. The successful couple, Catherine, a doctor, and David a professor of music, have a 17-year-old son, Michael (Max Thieriot), and to an outsider, they have everything. But their careers and raising a child have put strains on the marriage; their relationship is suffering greatly from loss of communication and intimacy.
Two weeks after the surprise party, Catherine and David are at dinner with friends when Catherine excuses herself to use the restroom. There she meets an alluring young woman who, in those brief moments, connects with Catherine-it is Chloe (Amanda Seyfried). Returning to the table where they're now playing ?spot the hooker?, Catherine watches with interest as Chloe approaches an older businessman. On the drive home Catherine finally asks David if he intentionally missed his flight from New York to stay for drinks. When he claims he did not, she knows she has caught him in a lie.
Now more suspicious than ever that David is having an affair, Catherine seeks out Chloe, an escort, hiring her to test David's fidelity. Meeting regularly, Catherine absorbs the explicit details Chloe shares of her encounters with David, igniting Catherine's jealousy and awakening long-dormant sensations. Soon caught in a web of sexual desire, Catherine finds herself on a journey that places her family in great danger-is it too late to stop Chloe? Release Date
: 14th October, 2010 Website
: www.sonyclassics.com/chloe Production Notes
In Chloe a suspenseful story of love and betrayal, Catherine (Julianne Moore), a successful doctor, begins to question her husband David's (Liam Neeson) fidelity and sets out to resolve her suspicions with the help of an alluring young woman, Chloe (Amanda Seyfried). Soon caught in a web of sexual desire, Catherine finds herself on a journey that places her family in great danger.
France's StudioCanal fully financed the picture developed by Montecito Picture Company, co-founded by Ivan Reitman and former Universal chairman Tom Pollock. Ivan Reitman, Joe Medjuck and Jeffrey Clifford are producers for Montecito. Co-producers are Simone Urdl and Jennifer Weiss. Executive Producers are Tom Pollock, Jason Reitman and Daniel Dubiecki. Chloe is distributed by StudioCanal in France and in the United Kingdom and Germany through its subsidiaries Optimum Releasing and Kinowelt. It will also handle worldwide sales outside its direct distribution territories.
To pen a screenplay that would tell a compelling story of erotic intrigue, Producer Ivan Reitman contacted Erin Cressida Wilson, who scripted Secretary and Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus; work the producers admired. ?They're wonderful scripts," shares Ivan Reitman. ?Particularly Secretary which had the right kind of ironic unusual eroticism that I thought would be appropriate for this movie." They began a collaboration that would last four years. ?My joke is that I started out writing this film when I was Chloe and I finished it when I was Catherine; that's how long it took to write," shares Erin Cressida Wilson with a laugh while on set in Toronto. "These characters still fascinate me."
In the Spring of 2007, Ivan Reitman sent the script to fellow Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan. "We approached Atom Egoyan to direct because philosophically, there is much in this movie that he has touched on in his own films. There is a definite connection in his work to the themes of Chloe," explains Ivan Reitman. Indeed, the common threads that appear in much of Atom Egoyan's work: rich and complex characters, the dynamics of family; the differences between appearance and reality, and the subjective nature of truth are woven throughout Chloe. However, unlike his own scripts, it is a linear story. Chloe marks the first of his 13 feature films that Oscar-nominated Atom Egoyan hasn't written himself.
In receiving the script Atom Egoyan found his interest piqued on many levels. "I'm very interested in the process of storytelling and how people recount and narrate their own lives, and Chloe is really a wonderful examination of that," shares Atom Egoyan. "I was simply thrilled to receive the script because it was finally a chance to work with Erin Cressida Wilson- I'm a huge fan of hers, beginning with her theater plays and erotic stories; and of course, the fact that it came through Ivan Reitman, who is someone I have such great respect for, was wonderful."The Cast
The appeal of Chloe lies in the casting as much as the intrigue of the story. "We have assembled a great cast capable of making this intoxicating movie resonate with a very wide audience," states veteran producer and director Ivan Reitman. Four-time Academy Award nominee Julianne Moore and Academy Award nominee Liam Neeson are joined by Amanda Seyfried, breakout star of worldwide smash hit Mamma Mia!- Chloe is a movie that is totally dependent on the excellence and the specificity of the people playing these roles. As an audience we are very close to these characters and become extremely invested in what happens to these creatures, and unless they're perfect, the movie's a failure," shares Ivan Reitman with great honesty.
Ivan Reitman's long-time producing partner Joe Medjuck agrees that one of the biggest challenges in producing a film is finding the perfect actors to bring the characters to life. ?I think we found a wonderful cast. Ivan Reitman had worked with Julianne Moore before and Atom Egoyan with Liam Neeson and we knew what they were capable of. For Chloe, it was key to find someone who could play the role and really be believable."
The honesty and intimate sexuality of the character-driven film made casting the role of Chloe, an alluring young escort, difficult. Producers and director Atom Egoyan auditioned hundreds of actresses from Los Angeles, to Toronto, to London, and although they saw many strong performances, it was very clear to them that it was Amanda Seyfried who had the right chemistry. "Finding Amanda Seyfried to play Chloe was a great relief. If we had not gotten her to do this part, we're not sure we could have made the movie," admits Ivan Reitman. "Amanda has this extraordinary natural beauty that complements perfectly Julianne Moore's high sensuality. Their relationship switches from erotic drama to thriller as Chloe's intimate involvement threatens the family's perfect world," he explains of the film's female leads.
"I think the cast is fabulous. All four actors (Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried, Max Thieriot) are complex people and they've brought so much to their characters," says screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson. "Amanda Seyfried is some sort of gift from heaven with a face that was blessed by God and an idiosyncratic intelligence that is totally unpredictable and fun." Erin Cressida Wilson admits too that Julianne Moore was the first, and only person to ever be Catherine Stewart. "I wrote the role with Julianne in mind. Needless to say, I'm crazily thrilled that she accepted."
Julianne Moore's character, Dr. Catherine Stewart, has found herself at a point in her life where she feels she has lost control. Her only child, Michael, played by Max Thieriot, is entering into adulthood after a few tumultuous and emotional teen years and Catherine, feeling she's lost touch with her 'little boy', is unable to allow him to make the break from his parents. At the same time, her relationship with her husband David, played by Liam Neeson, shifted somewhere along the way. The sense of loss is poignantly captured in the moment David decides to penetrate their relationship issues and asks Catherine when the two stopped picking each other up at the airport. Catherine finally responds: "It just happened one day. We didn't have time anymore."
"The one thing Catherine thought she understood was her relationship with her husband and child and suddenly she doesn't understand it at all and feels like she doesn't have a hand in it," shares Julianne Moore of her character. "These people she loves seem so far away. Her intention, [in hiring Chloe], is to understand her husband and find a way to come to see what it is that he wants. And so the intimacy she develops with Chloe, is really about trying to be closer to her husband. To be in a movie where there's discussion of the nature of intimacy and how dangerous, how loaded it can be, is really compelling. In a sense she didn't seem unusual to me, she seemed like someone who was at a point where their life is changing and I think almost anyone can relate to that."
An exceedingly accomplished performer, Julianne Moore was initially attracted to the project because the script found its way to her desk from Atom Egoyan. "Atom Egoyan is a director whose career I've followed avidly and I've always wanted to work with him," says Julianne Moore. "I felt reassured in embarking on this emotional journey because Atom Egoyan's work is always so compelling and so grounded in feeling, in emotion, in thought; his work is not flip or light or glib. It is always provocative and there's behavior in it that you recognise and are interested in."
Liam Neeson had read an early draft of the screenplay but it was in 2008 while working with Atom Egoyan who directed him in the Lincoln Center remount of Samuel Beckett's teleplay Eh, Joe, that Liam Neeson agreed to reread the script. "In reading it again, I found it to be very erotic and dangerous. There aren't many directors who would take this on and I thought, 'my gosh, this is right up Atom Egoyan's alley. He'll do this in such a way that it will be unique and special,'" Liam Neeson explains. "In portraying David, a loving husband and father who idolises his job, I wanted to play each scene for the truth that's there and it was easy to do that with Julianne Moore and Amanda Seyfried because there was such an atmosphere of trust; the three of us got on very well," adds Liam Neeson. The undeniably charismatic Liam Neeson bears a versatility and quiet forcefulness that make his performances compelling. ?I think it'll really surprise people who haven't seen this side of him," Atom Egoyan says.
In preparing to shoot the film, Atom Egoyan recalls: "One of the most important things for me was to ascertain that this type of woman could exist-a prostitute that works in hotels. One of the fears I had, in the age of the Internet and escort services, was whether someone would in fact still go to a hotel lobby or bar to pick up a prostitute. So on the trips I was making to New York for Eh, Joe, I did some research and found it's very much alive. It's very subtle-all about eye contact and a very specific code one can't intercept that easily, but it's very present. I would then talk to Amanda Seyfried about it as we discussed her character and what moment Chloe is at in her life where someone like Catherine becomes so compelling for her. Amanda Seyfried is disarmingly available but she also has an incredible amount of emotional reserve; she's unpredictable and compelling-truly a rare talent."
Embracing the role of Chloe was something Amanda Seyfried did fearlessly. "When I first read it -it was unlike anything I had ever done and I knew it would be difficult. The film is certainly a thriller but it's so much more intense in structure and complexity. Chloe is an exotic creature but she is a very damaged soul who has been on her own since she was 15. She's obviously very experienced and smart in terms of the business of being a professional, but at 23, she's still very young. Once she meets Catherine, the evolution of Chloe is linked to Catherine's cues-every little thing Catherine does affects her. In playing Chloe, and the costumes and hair and makeup certainly helped me embody her, I found it's a very powerful feeling to be able to give men what they need and then just walk away from it and be just a memory and I think there's something in that - I don't know if I could do that but I can see where it's attractive," Seyfried muses. "It was a lucky break for me to be able to work with Atom Egoyan," shares Amanda Seyfried. "He has a wonderful approach which made working with him to deliver such sensitive material a joy."Director Atom Egoyan's thoughts on Chloe
First and foremost Chloe deals with the nature of intimacy. But, I think the film is ultimately about what we look for in a relationship-to see someone else, as we would like ourselves to be seen and the idea of protecting someone else's right to be alone or to protect solitude. As Rilke wrote, it is one's role as a partner to protect the other's solitude and yet there's this balance between doing that and losing someone. That to me is what the film is about-how to be allowed to imagine ourselves and integrate that in a relationship.
In any love relationship, you have to project yourself but if you're not aware of the explicit agenda of the other person, the skew can become really dangerous, even explosive. This is the terrain the film deals with-both in the conventional idea of a marriage as well as an unexpected marriage between two souls who are searching for something they think they have found in each other.
And in some ways, the film is about the necessity and the danger of creative interpretation of the self. Ultimately, we all need to believe in certain stories or narratives about ourselves. We all need to feel we have some control over how that narrative evolves, however we have no control over the variables-we can't anticipate all of the other emotional factors that come into play.
There's always a variable when dealing with human beings. We are incredibly complex sensitive souls and no matter how you think a relationship is defined by parameters, those can always evolve - so we need to be invested in other people; we need to fall in love and we need to go to those places but we also need to equip ourselves in understanding how fragile other people are. If we don't there's bound to be consequences. Chloe: The Production
Chloe was shot Toronto over the course of 37 days in February and March 2009. Although writer Erin Cressida Wilson had originally set the story in her hometown of San Francisco, once Atom Egoyan became involved, he persuaded the producers to relocate to Toronto. Producer Joe Medjuck, who lived in Toronto for 15 years and who actually taught Atom Egoyan at the University of Toronto, says: "We really loved Atom Egoyan's portrayal of Toronto in Exotica and since the film could be shot in any urban centre, we thought-'Why not set it in Toronto?'-a city Atom Egoyan understands intimately and where he could work with his own team." Atom Egoyan's team includes his long-time collaborators award-winning Cinematographer Paul Sarossy and Production Designer Phillip Barker.
The city of Toronto has such a presence in the film-from restaurants that include Café Diplomatico and The Rivoli; to locations such as The Windsor Arms and The Fairmont Royal York hotels; and background scenery which includes the CN Tower, the Frank Ghery-designed Art Gallery of Ontario and the Will Alsop-designed Ontario College of Art-that they are their own cast of characters in the film. "What's such an incredible aspect of Chloe is the fact that we're enjoying and celebrating Toronto and taking every opportunity to celebrate specific places," Sarossy enthuses. "As filmmakers we're often shooting Toronto as New York, Toronto as Chicago, as almost any other city but Toronto so this has been a wonderful opportunity to showcase the city and we've enjoyed the incredible liberties as storytellers."
Atom Egoyan was thrilled about the prospect of showcasing the city. "What excites me, as much in some ways as choosing these phenomenal actors, is rooting the story in a city I know very well," he explains. "Focusing on this time of year, where we're emerging from winter and we're anticipating the spring, along with our choice of locations, visually explains the idea that people are trying to find places that protect them from the very brutal exterior. People trying to retreat into areas where they are not exposed or where they are protected becomes a controlling metaphor for the story itself as they're doing this within the relationships in the film and it's interesting to have a visual style which also creates the sense of shelter."
With an office in Toronto's posh 'Yorkville' and a regular at the tea rooms and restaurants and bars of luxury hotels, Catherine's world and Chloe's turf suggest a certain glamour and glossiness. The notion tends to shatter as the story gravitates towards the Stewart home-a house of glass where all is "contained."
Toronto's 'Ravine House' built by architect Drew Mandel was chosen as the Stewart home. The house features a series of glassed-in cubes that hover over a ravine of forest. It served as the setting for many of the film's key scenes but the master bedroom itself was re-imagined as a much larger space in studio by Production Designer Phillip Barker. Phillip Barker's design remained true to the concept of the overall design of the home and its aesthetic and included artwork by Canadian artists Ed Burtynsky and Joanne Tod. Architect Mandel visited the set on a number of occasions. "I'm honored that the home is playing such a key role in the film. It's as if Atom Egoyan, Phillip Barker and I have silently collaborated."The Look of Chloe
In an age where the digital world has firmly staked its ground in what was the kingdom of film, Chloe was shot on 35mm film. "Although we will be finishing the film digitally, we are by choice shooting in film which is a gorgeous medium and very much in sympathy with the kind of things we're trying to accomplish visually," shares Paul Sarossy. "There's likely no escape from the inevitability of digital and I guess it's a matter of time but for the moment we're still enjoying film. It is still the beneficiary of over a century of development and refinement."
Mirror and glass and as result, reflections, play throughout the film as background but also as key elements of many scenes. Catherine first meets Chloe in the mirror as she stands at the sink and Chloe exits the bathroom stall. "Dealing with all of the mirror and glass was very challenging purely from the practical level-especially at the Ravine House. While to some degree we wanted to embrace the reflections, we had to find creative ways to avoid appearing in them!" Paul Sarossy recalls with a laugh."It added a whole layer of complexity to the process which was absolutely fun but complicated."
Costumes too shared in the theme of reflection. "There are shapes, colors and structures that are mirrored in the choice of clothing for the characters," explains Costume Designer Debra Hansen. On Chloe in particular you'll find colors and patterns that are connected to the outside environment. For example the coat she wears in the greenhouse and the coat with the embroidered leaves both reflect her exterior surroundings. You'll notice too, though it's very subtle, that outfits for Catherine and Chloe begin to echo one another."