SA director Sophie Hyde’s new comedy-drama will premiere at Virtual Sundance
Sophie Hyde should have landed in snowy Utah by now, where Good luck to you, Leo Grande is among the list of international films chosen to premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.
Hyde, a director and producer at Adelaide’s Closer Productions who also works as an international freelance director, was due to make her third visit as a director at Sundance this week, eight years after her feature debut, 52 Tuesdays, won a Sundance Directing Award. She followed that up with the gritty, loose Irish comedy about lifelong best friends, Animals, which premiered at Sundance in 2019.
But that was before COVID-19. On Jan. 6, two weeks before the Jan. 20 start date, Sundance organizers canceled the in-person component of the 2022 hybrid online event, fearing that Omicron’s push could peak around the same time as the festival.
Hyde, clearly disappointed, will join the online event instead.
“It’s very sad, because I would love to show this film on a cinema screen with everyone,” she said.
Described as a dramatic comedy, Good luck to you, Leo Grande stars British Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson (The Children’s Act, years and years) as a retired widow looking for connection and adventure after a colorless marriage. Her character, Nancy Stokes, hires a young and beautiful sex worker, played by Daryl McCormack (Peaky Blinders), hoping for a night of happiness and self-discovery.
Hyde is used to working with stars and before filming Animals in Dublin with Holliday Grainger and Alia Shawkat, she decorated their dressing rooms with candles and quotes from their characters. She also took the actors to bars in Dublin where they would later shoot.
Hyde says working with Thompson, a two-time Oscar winner – including Best Actress End Howards (1992) – was a delight.
“She’s very capable and charming, and her desire to do the movie was really strong,” she said. Review.
Hyde has gradually built an international reputation as a director and filmmaker who follows no one’s rules but her own. Her career began to break through in 2013 with the highly original transgender drama 52 tuesdays, shot every Tuesday for a year in Adelaide, which was also recognized at the Berlin International Film Festival. She works closely with the cast and crew to get the most out of it and invests in creating a warm and supportive ensemble.
The director says she and Thompson had questions about each other while filming the film and the result was something they created together.
“My approach to working with Emma was collaborative,” says Hyde. “We talked a lot, listened to each other’s stories and ideas about the material.”
Good luck to you, Leo Grande will have an international release and has been hailed by Lionsgate UK head Marie-Claire Benson as raw, uncompromising and very funny, and a film that showed talent “in front and behind the camera”.
The film was the first in a long time that Hyde has made completely independently of Closer Productions or without herself on board as producer. Animals, based on Emma Unsworth’s novel, was an Irish-Australian co-production and, although it was not initiated by Hyde, it was a Closer film.
Ideally, Hyde will continue to work with Closer while occasionally spreading his wings.
“I’m always open to working where it’s interesting. I especially like to re-collaborate with the people I like to work with.
Her work with Closer Productions on the ethical fallout of teen sexting, The hunt, broke SBS ratings records for an Australian drama, won multiple Australian screen awards, and aired in six other countries including the UK, Ireland, Canada and the Netherlands. It was the first prime time series to be released from Adelaide.
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This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.