Here are two behind-the-scenes videos for I, Anna that will give you greater insight into the making of the film and the relationship between its two stars.
Brief interviews with the stars, Charlotte Rampling and Gabriel Byrne, and the director Barnaby Southcombe
The B-Roll: a video diary of scene set-ups and shooting on location
Thanks to Artificial Eye Films for sharing these!
The long-awaited premiere of I, Anna in the UK and Ireland took place on December 7. It is great to see the film reach its home audience and, while the reviews note some flaws in the film, everyone seems quite impressed with the performances of both Ms. Rampling and Mr. Byrne, and Mr. Southcombe’s direction gets some high praise, too!
Now, on to the US release!
Independent.ie: “Rampling: We wooed Byrne for role” [the link to this article usually does not work, so the URL has been removed]
Charlotte Rampling has revealed she and her director son Barnaby Southcombe “wooed” Gabriel Byrne to star in new film I, Anna. The Irish actor plays Bernie, a detective and the love interest of Charlotte’s character in the movie, about a divorcee who becomes involved in a murder investigation after a man she meets at a singles’ night is killed.
“We wooed Gabriel to do this film because I knew Gabriel was the absolutely perfect person to play Bernie,” Charlotte said. Charlotte joked that she and Barnaby instigated a “mother and son heist” to get Gabriel to sign up.
“I was going to New York to do something, a film I was there for a few days for. He’d had the script and he’d said, ‘Well I don’t know, I’m very busy, I love Charlotte but I don’t know’, and I said ‘Look, I’m going to be there’ and we found out through Gabriel’s agent he was going to be there just that day.
“I said ‘Barnaby, get on a plane’ so Barnaby got on a plane and we literally caught Gabriel – he was at the Mercer Hotel and he was leaving the next day and I was just in there for two days. Barnaby came in especially, and we just ‘whoosh’, we grabbed each other. And then we didn’t have the film, we didn’t have the production, we didn’t have the money, but it just gelled then.”
EmpireOnline.com [the links to this review and video are no longer available]
The one and only Charlotte Rampling spoke to Empire about her latest, the noir thriller I, Anna. Directed by her own son, Barnaby Southcombe, Ms. Rampling delivers a beautifully understated turn as the enigmatic title character, acting alongside Hayley Atwell, Eddie Marsan and Gabriel Byrne. Here below is our interview with the great actress, where she talks about everything from her favourite director to the weirdness of auditioning for her own son’s project…
It’s very sad that this is short but wonderful interview with Charlotte Rampling is no longer available at Empire Magazine. She had some fun things to say about Gabriel Byrne, in addition to comments about directors she has worked with in the past. She is an articulate and intriguing person, in addition to being an icon of film. I also wish Empire Magazine had a search feature, but that’s just me complaining now… wink
The Guardian Video Review of “I, Anna”, with Xan Brooks, Peter Bradshaw and Catherine Shoard (the video is not embeddable, so visit the link)
There is plenty of atmosphere here, and I liked Southcombe’s eye for the sinister forms of London’s Barbican complex and its high-rise towers. Anna’s job is nicely judged, too: a salesperson at London’s upmarket department store Peter Jones. But the progressive revelation of Anna’s secret feels muddled, derivative and unsatisfying. The drama is played with absolute conviction by Rampling and Byrne, and there is a nice supporting role for Eddie Marsan as Byrne’s long-suffering Met colleague, but the story itself is unconvincing.
It starts like your average over-ambitious British hybrid. Tower blocks. Boys in hooded tops. Middle-class malcontents. A small part for Eddie Marsan. All the elements are in place. The plot swerves when classy, divorced dame Anna (Rampling) bumps into a detective almost as sadly handsome as her (Gabriel Byrne). The glance he throws her way creates a tingle. They meet again at a singles night, then for a date. The tingles increase.
Maybe it’s Richard Hawley’s left-field, retro crooning, or the dialogue, which immediately hones in on domestic crimes and disappointments. Or the bleak, painterly visuals … Dislocation, dislocation. It’s London life, but not as we know it.
Southcombe makes excellent use of his London locations (cavernous hotels, department stores, the sprawl of the Barbican) to show just how oppressive and alienating the city can be. Gabriel Byrne plays the crumpled detective who is both investigating Anna and is drawn to her romantically. The film is far stronger on atmosphere and performance than it is on its plotting, which becomes ever more stretched and improbable.
The way the mystery unfolds revolves around a twist that is ultimately a little too easy to guess. But by then the film has shifted gears from a crime thriller to a touching character study. Both actors are superb. This story, while perhaps a little too slight for the big screen, delivers more than enough surprises to keep its audience hooked.
Even so, Rampling is magnetic on screen, making us feel like voyeurs watching her quietly prowling through each setting. Some of her scenes are squirmingly awkward, which only heightens this atmosphere. And her interaction with both Atwell and Byrne is intriguingly tentative, bristly and tender, sometimes all at the same time. Everyone looks so haunted by something in their past that we can’t help but be interested in where they end up. So it’s frustrating that the film’s achingly slow pace lets us see the gaping holes in the plot, as well as the over-engineered twists and turns that leave us rolling our eyes in exasperation.
Anna Smith, Empire [the link to this review is no longer available]
The plot intensifies considerably when detective Bernie Reid (Byrne) meets her near the scene of a crime and an undeniable attraction develops as he investigates the case. Byrne and Rampling are on top form and Hayley Atwell appears against type as Anna’s stressed single-mother daughter. The conclusion won’t please everyone, but it’s refreshingly restrained for a thriller set in today’s capital.
Verdict: A classy, enigmatic thriller that shows off contemporary London at its cinematic best.
Leaving that murky evening aside, detective Bernie (Gabriel Byrne) meets Anna and flirtatious glances are exchanged. But as Bernie investigates a case, he comes closer to fearing that Anna may be involved. The story is perhaps better suited to a superior TV thriller but it’s given an extra touch of class by the cast, direction and cinematography – something of a love letter to London.
In the end this is an unusual film, a visually bold film, the kind of film Britain seldom makes, and a film that hits on some painful, largely unspoken truths about aging and isolation. For all this he deserves credit. But I, Anna still never grips with the ferocity you want it to, and its characters – despite a pair of fine lead performances – remain inpenetrable ciphers, lacking the shading and nuance of Southcombe’s haunting cityscapes.
Whilst it does really well to establish an effective blend of contemporary noir and classic noir in its tone and atmosphere, there is a notable lack of substance making it feel like a short film that is being dragged out to make afeature. However, its enlightened use of space – or lack thereof – works really well to express the trauma and emotions of its characters, working to establish an empathetic response from its audience who will no doubt feel somewhat trapped and disoriented at times by the film’s visual style and plot. Overall, “I, Anna” marks a strong debut effort for Southcombe, and with the likes of Eddie Marsan in the film’s supporting cast in addition to the expert Rampling and Byrne, it does carry some real weight. However, with a few editorial tweaks it could have been much stronger and perhaps would have had the potential to introduce London as a new contender for the capital of noir.
On paper it looks like a femme fatale mystery, and while Southcombe does film his preternaturally beautiful mother in a seductive light (all trenchcoats, tight dresses and stilettos), I, Anna is suprisingly sensitive and distinctive. This is thanks to two strong, unpredictable leads; Rampling is also shy, vulnerable and motherly, and Byrne plays the jaded cop role with a tinge of self-awareness and humour. The pair have great chemistry as well, with their meeting at a swanky high-rise singles night a real highlight.