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'Unraveling Quills' - 3

 
Kate and Kaufman play tug of war with a sheet while Joaquin looks on.



Kaufman: It might be argued that the Abbe that Joaquin Phoenix plays is the hero, cause he, in some ways, takes the longest journey.
[Abbe scolds Sade for his actions toward Madeleine.] You know, as well as I do, you're not to entertain visitors in your quarters. [Sade] I'm entertaining you now, aren't I? [Abbe] Yes, but I'm not a beautiful, young prospect, ripe for corruption. [Sade] Don't be so sure.

Phoenix: In a sense, I'm trying to extract the soul from the Marquis, and he, in turn, is trying to extract the man from me.
[Sade defends his writings to Abbe.] I've all the demons from hell in my head. My only salvation is to vent them on paper. [Abbe] Then try reading, for a change. The writer who produces more than he reads - a strong mark of an amateur. Here, start with the Bible. It's cheerier - and more artfully written.

Phoenix: I think it's probably the best screenplay that I've ever read. To be part of that journey as it unfolds was just a wonderful opportunity as an actor.

Winslet: The Abbe, who's this young, wonderful priest - He sort of makes Madeleine feel as though there is the light at the end of the tunnel.
[Abbe instructs Madeleine in writing] St. Augustine tells us that angels and demons walk among us on the earth, and that, sometimes, they jointly inhabit the soul of a single man. [Madeleine] Then, how can we know who is truly good, and who is evil?

Phoenix: Madeleine - She's certainly bringing forth a desire that is almost foreign to Coulmier.
Winslet: We sometimes say, 'oh, it's a love triangle', but it isn't, really, because she's not really in love with the Marquis, she's actually in love with the Abbe.
[Abbe wrestles with his feelings for Madeleine when she visits him late one night and confesses her feelings for him.] We should not… [They kiss, he pushes her away.] No!


Narrator: But the story takes an unexpected turn with the sudden arrival of Dr. Royer-Collard.

Rush: Because of the Marquis' scurrilous writings, they bring in the doctor, who's this strict authoritarian figure.
[Sade 'greets' the doctor, upon his arrival] Welcome to our humble madhouse, doctor. I trust you'll find yourself at home.

Caine: Royer-Collard is a doctor who has run insane asylums before, and prisons. And believes if anybody's mad, if you whip 'em enough, and smash 'em about enough, and put 'em on the rack long enough, they'll turn sane.

Kaufman: Michael Caine - I've wanted to work with Michael, you know, for many, many years. He's just an extraordinary actor.
[Royer-Collard instructs the prison guards] Take this beast back to his cage! [Sade] Don't tell me - You've come to read my trousers. Well, please don't keep me in suspense. What'll it be? 50 lashes? A night on the rack? [Royer-Collard to guards] I won't sully my hands with him. [Sade] Nor should you. That's the first rule of politics, isn't it? The man who orders the execution never drops the blade!

Narrator: To realize his vision, director Philip Kaufman built his own Charenton Asylum at the Shepperton Studios in London.

Kaufman: I had a great group of technical people: Martin Childs, who had just won the Oscar for Shakespeare in Love, built the Charenton Asylum.


Childs: Well, initially you have to begin with something like this, which is the hub of this set, which kind of radiates plot. That the screenplay has dictated the way all of these rooms link together, then they need to link together in a particular way for the story to work. You begin to realize what a superbly crafted screenplay it is when you start trying to work out how to plot the rooms, and how they all relate to one another.




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