The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Juliette Binoche, Clive Owen play sparring teachers in 'Words and Pictures'

  • Print

TORONTO - Onscreen chemistry can be difficult to predict, but director Fred Schepisi says it was immediately apparent when Juliette Binoche and Clive Owen stepped onto the set of "Words and Pictures."

"Sometimes it can be hard work, with these two it was (there) from the beginning," the affable Aussie movie-maker said in an interview at last September's Toronto International Film Festival. "They (had) a similar sense of humour, a similar attitude toward life and humour and everything. And you could see it."

Opening Friday, the Vancouver-shot film features the stars as duelling teachers at a privileged prep school: Owen is charming English teacher Jack while Binoche plays newly hired art instructor Dina. The two soon begin to spar over the debate laid out in the film's title — which has more merit, words or pictures? — an argument that is soon taken up by their students.

Schepisi — whose credits include "Roxanne" and "A Cry in the Dark" — says he was drawn to the clever premise.

"It's a film with ideas and it's not just about two people falling in love," he said. "It's about education, it's about (the problems) with education. And it's not just kids in a society full of distracting electronic things — unless their teachers are being inspiring you know, how are the kids going to be inspired unless they're challenged?"

He added: "The two main characters, sparking off one another, end up inspiring their students and then they start to realize, you know, what it is they've not been doing with their lives."

Despite some lighthearted banter between Dina and Jack, it soon becomes apparent that both are grappling with some serious personal struggles. Dina's art career has been derailed by her battle with severe rheumatoid arthritis while Jack drinks heavily and has a strained relationship with his son.

At the festival, Owen said he'd long wanted to work with Binoche and that the pair clicked instantly.

"When you're working with someone as great as she is it's just great fun to do ... It means the filming days were alive," said the "Closer" star. "Straightaway it was challenging and playful and we were giving each other a hard time — but also having fun.

"I love reading and I love this script because I play somebody who loves language."

It was also a fortuitous twist that Binoche is an accomplished painter, something Schepisi didn't initially realize when he cast her as Dina.

The "English Patient" actress says her mother taught her to draw when she was a girl and that she was drawn to the larger questions posed by the film.

"How do you deal with art when you have a disease or when you have a problem like alcoholism? How do you deal with the new (situation)?" she said at the fest.

All of the paintings in the film are the work of the actress, who joked that there might be a market for her artwork, based on the response from those who worked on "Words and Pictures."

"I've been giving (my paintings) away, but I've been asked so many times because of the film, I'm sort of like 'hang on a minute, let me go home and think about it."

"Words and Pictures" opens Friday in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. It's set to expand to other cities the following week.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Drew Willy on his team's win over Alouettes

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • STDUP ‚Äì Beautiful West End  begins it's summer of bloom with boulevard s, front yards  and even back lane gardens ,  coming alive with flowers , daisies and poppies  dress up a backyard lane on Camden St near Wolseley Ave  KEN GIGLIOTTI  / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS  /  June 26 2012
  • A water lily in full bloom is reflected in the pond at the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden Tuesday afternoon. Standup photo. Sept 11,  2012 (Ruth Bonneville/Winnipeg Free Press)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Have you decided which mayoral candidate will get your vote?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google