Writer-director Akiva Goldsman says ‘Winter’s Tale’ is about the ‘magic of love’
(The Philippine Star) - February 6, 2014 - 3:03pm

MANILA, Philippines- Another mystical love story is being anticipated in the first quarter of 2014.

The “Winter’s Tale,” written and directed by Akiva Goldsman is a story about Peter and Beverly who will brave against time, and destiny to fight and protect each other in the name of love.

Goldsman gave an interview to give viewers a deeper understanding and what to expect from the film when it’s out in the cinemas on February 13.

Question: When did you first read Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin, and what was it about the novel that resonated with you and made you want to make it into a film?

Akiva Goldsman: I read Winter’s Tale when I was in high school, and I grew up in New York. People have called it Mark Helprin’s love letter to New York. It’s a very, very beautiful novel for New Yorkers. But, more importantly, for me, it’s magical realism—which is a genre that is not that common in American fiction, certainly not in American film either—which is the combination of a real world with magic seeping through the mortar between the bricks that really excites me. It really beguiled me. And then, finally, and probably mostly, it truly transcended a love story. It turns on the notion of love making the impossible possible. And if you’re a romantic and a sentimentalist, of which I am both, it’s hard not to be beguiled and magnetized by it.

Q: You describe the novel as a love letter to New York and you obviously love New York.

Goldsman: I’m a New Yorker and New York is character. New York is one of those cities that is like another lead actor. With the right lights and some good luck, it puts in a performance that you take home with you. And I wanted that desperately. Mark had it in the novel. I have it. All New Yorkers or people who love the city have it in their hearts. Everybody has their own New York, and it’s profound and wondrous. So I was desperate to do that, and it was challenging. We were not a big budget movie. Everybody was, as I said, doing it for a favor or a song or a lark. And it was a tremendously adverse winter in New York.

Q: When you set out to adapt the book, what were your challenges and what were you particularly looking forward to bringing to life?

Goldsman: Well, the book is a far more complex and profound object than certainly any two-hour movie could be. It’s closer to a thousand pages than to the 120 pages that are typical for a screenplay. So I had to do that thing, which is part of the nature of adaptation, which is figuring out what to keep and what to sacrifice. There are huge sections of the novel—I mean huge—that are not part of the movie. There’s one character named Hardesty Marratta, who has many hundreds of pages dedicated to him, who does not appear in the movie at all. So, it was about finding that which was most resonant for me and then extracting a story, both from what was there and from my imagination to make a filmic version of it.

Q: Can you talk a little bit about the love story in this film between Peter and Beverly. Why is it different, and how is this film different from a traditional love story?

Goldsman: Well, happily ever after doesn’t look like we imagine it’s going to look when the movie begins, or certainly when the couple meets. There’s a traditional love story in the first two-thirds of the movie, but it is actually traditional ultimately in that it ends the way most love stories end, with one partner surviving the other. And then the question is, how does one find purpose? What is one’s meaning beyond that kind of loss? And I wanted to show that in a dramatic and theatrical way, obviously, rather than sort of a meditation on the nature of loss. But it’s a love story that spans time and mortality.

Q: This is your debut film as a director, after garnering so much acclaim as a writer. How did you find the experience of directing?

Goldsman: I found it exciting and terrifying. It was exactly what I thought it was going to be and nothing like I thought it was going to be. I’ve written and produced quite a few movies and I have done them at close range. I’ve stood on the set of nearly every movie I’ve produced and every movie I’ve written, so I understood what filmmaking was. I understood what I knew; I understood what I didn’t know. What I didn’t understand was just exactly how intense a process it would be when you are not the guy next to the guy, but you’re the actual guy.

Q: Can you talk about the themes of the film, and how miracles and destiny weave into love?

Goldsman: Well, I choose to believe that there is a purposefulness in the universe. I mean it’s a Hail Mary and I choose to believe it. What I mean by that is that I write about it; I want to believe it, and I certainly don’t at my darkest moments or even my medium dark moments. But I’d like to imagine it to be true and to tell my children it’s true.
If you believe in magic at all then you have to believe that love is magic, because it is transformative. It is a suggestion of a kind of connectedness between people, two or many, that is more than what we can see, touch, hear and smell.
So, if you believe in love and you believe in magic, then it’s hard not to believe in miracles because love is miraculous. The idea of epiphany and of a transcendent experience is, for many of us, most closely associated with love—falling in love, loving our children, loving our parents—and loss. That’s the material of the world behind the world, the magical world, the deeper world. Those are the things that I think are wonderful to write about, and I’ll do it as long as they let me.

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