I was a fan of A S Byatt's writing for some time before I can across The Matisse Stories, it was actually my love of Matisse that visually drew me to the book at first. I was then amazed to find not only a beautifully crafted story but one thats theme’s paralleled to narratives that I had been exploring in my directing. I am fascinated by how a dramatic external environment can shift my protagonist into a new physical and therefore emotional head space; whether that's the sun setting or in this case the redecorating of a salon that becomes the catalyst for a character to uncover a previously hidden, but powerful aspect of themselves.
In Medusa’s Ankles, Susannah is already battling with the reality of aging and fading beauty but it is the drastic remodeling of the salon that literally opens a space for her to truly realise this and react so viscerally within it. To have the opportunity to adapt this moment to film has been incredibly rewarding with so much creative scope to play with. Byatt's beautifully rich descriptions of the environment enabled my creative team a foundation to build upon and interpret. In my film adaptation I wanted to heighten and obscure the sense of reality, by exaggerating the colours and textures as though it was Susannah’s memory of the space.
All my films to date have been filmed on location so building and directing within a set definitely came as a welcomed challenge. It created a completely different dynamic for me working with my cast and crew. Working as a team all equally invested emotionally in the story of our characters created a seamless, creative and collaborative environment. This is my absolute joy as a director and why I so love working in film.