Director Maggie Gyllenhaal is opening up about “The Lost Daughter.”
Based on the book by Elena Ferrante, the film tells the story of a college professor who has to confront her own memories after meeting a woman and her young daughter while on vacation. The film featured a cast of Olivia Colman, Dakota Johnson, Peter Sarsgaard, and Ed Harris, among others.
“The Lost Daughter” made its debut at the 78th Venice International Film Festival on September 3, 2021, where Gyllenhaal won the Golden Osella Award for Best Screenplay. The film had a limited theatrical release on December 17, 2021, and was made available for streaming on Netflix on December 31, 2021.
The film has been critically acclaimed by critics and has earned several award nominations. In a recent interview with Deadline, Gyllenhaal opened up about the project.
Maggie Gyllenhaal Says ‘The Lost Daughter’ Was The Film ‘I Always Wanted’
When asked how the project got started, Gyllenhaal said, “Looking back on it now, after having made this film, which I love, it’s clear to me that I always wanted… well, that I always probably was a director and that I was always bumping against the edges of what was available to me, as an actress.”
“And I was always looking to be a storyteller, and my favorite actors are all storytellers, who all have a point of view, and all have an artistic agenda,” she continued. “And so, I was like that, but I think it was more than that.”
“But I think there weren’t very many models of women directors in my life,” she added. “And obviously there are people, like Jane Campion, who went ahead and were able to do it without many models, but it was harder for me. I think I just didn’t even let myself know how badly I wanted that. And, in so many ways, the years that I’ve spent just acting were amazing school, an amazing kind of film school for me. But I think, probably it was a combination.”
Maggie Gyllenhaal Addresses The ‘Taboo’ Parenting Methods The Movie Addresses
Gyllenhaal said that the taboo method of parenting was part of the reason she wanted to make the movie.
“Well, first of all, that was part of my incentive for wanting to make it, was, OK, it’s one thing to read these incredible Ferrante books, alone in my room; it’s still in a cone of silence,” she said. “She’s telling the truth, and you’re, ‘Holy s—, did you just say that out loud?’ I didn’t even know I thought that.”
“I wish that’s something I didn’t think, but in fact it is something I think,” she added. “And it’s kind of terrifying and very comforting at the same time. But still, I’m alone in my room with a book.”
She continued, “it’s still a secret, even if you’re comforted by knowing that some wise, feminine, anonymous person out there has obviously felt something like this too. I thought, what would happen if you actually heard these things said out loud, if you actually saw them? And what if that could happen in a communal space, so that the secret is 100 percent out of the bag? And you’re sitting next to your mother or your husband or your daughter or your best friend?”
“I thought that could be a really radical thing to do,” she added. “To be honest though, I’ve been surprised by the response. It feels like everyone is going, ‘I understand what you’re saying.’
She added that the film is “not just about mothering.”
“I think it’s about all sorts of things about being a woman in the world,” she added. “Things that, even the most interested, curious, talented men can’t possibly know. I do think women make movies differently than men.”
Maggie Gyllenhaal Addresses Her Next Project
When asked about her next work, Gyllenhaal stated, “I think I am honing in on something that I want to write and direct.”
“I’m really trying to go from that same unconscious place that guided me throughout a lot of this film, in terms of what I want to do next,” she added. “I do miss acting, but not as much as I am drawn to make another film as a director.”
“I’m really drawn to telling the truth,” she continued. “Like I said, I think it’s compelling. You tell the truth to a little child, and their eyes widen.”
“The cinematic language can be way out there and wild,” she added. “And people will understand you, if you’re not trying to fool them or cover something up.”