Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson ræðir við Cinema Scandinavia um Undir trénu, hugmyndirnar bakvið verkið og ferilinn.
Brot úr viðtalinu:
The story for Under the Tree is one of these stories that needs telling! Where did the idea come from?
There are a lot of famous cases in Iceland where there are conflicts that resolve around trees. My theory is that there are not a lot of trees in Iceland, so those lucky enough to own a tree become very attached to them. Also, our summer is very short. The sun doesn’t come out that often, so we take every opportunity to enjoy the sun. The cases that come from this are very brutal; they go to court and pets disappear and there’s so much nastiness. What got me so excited about the material is that these are perfectly normal people who are not known for violence or aggression but once their home is at stake and once someone is trying to tell you how your home should be that really strikes a nerve and brings out the worst in people and that was what I wanted to explore.
How did you want to approach the story?
I had a co-writer and he did the first draft of the script. We then agreed on where the story should go and I took over from there. I wanted to approach the film like a thriller, which is probably not obvious when you read the script but it was something that interested me from very early on as it tells a lot about the characters. I enjoyed working with the actors a lot and we spent a long time preparing and rehearsing to get them invested.
Did the actors improvise some lines, or did it remain close to the script?
It was quite restricted as it wasn’t improvised. The actors, of course, have ideas and they become more invested in the story if I listen to their ideas and implement them. I see directing as getting everybody on the same page and having us all working towards making the same film. The actors are the most important because they are the connection to the audience; they are the meat in the story.
What do you believe is the main theme in the story?
I feel like the main theme is living in a community. Living in a community is always a compromise, whether it’s the people next door or the people under the same roof.
The ending is quite shocking and hard to predict. Why did you feel it had to take that turn?
A film should be a journey where you don’t know the end. I found that to be important. I wanted to bring the audience to a place they wouldn’t suspect. When the audience starts watching Under the Tree, they have no idea where it is taking them, and the ending is kind of like a shock. I personally like it when I go into a film and I feel like I’m on a journey with no idea how it is going to end.