The Two Faces of January

Drama film

makes a stylish directing debut with this sleek set in and Istanbul, 1962, and adapted from a by Patricia Highsmith, The Two Faces of January centers on a wealthy American couple () and (Kristen Dunst) on a tour of Greece in the 1960's. There they meet a con-artist (Oscar Isaac) who becomes entranced with the couple's wealth and beauty.

To compose the film's score, Amini selected Alberto Iglesias, who has worked extensively with Pedro Almodovar.

To compose the film's score, Amini selected Alberto Iglesias, who has worked extensively with Pedro Almodovar.

The Two Faces of January is a passion project that has stirred Hossein Amini's creative imagination for nearly 15 years. From the time he first read Patricia Highsmith's , which was originally published in 1964, he was hooked, and persevered through thick and thin for more than a decade to bring The Two Faces of January to the big screen. “I first read The Two Faces of January at university,” says Amini.

Regarding his desire to direct The Two Faces of January, Hoss, as he's known to most, would clarify that becoming a director wasn't the chief attraction, it was specifically this story he wanted to tell. Shortly thereafter, in a meeting with Tom Sternberg. Amini shared his ambitions but explained that he wasn't making any headway with the late author's publishing house, Diogenes, to secure the option. Sternberg had an existing relationship with Diogenes, which is highly protective with the late author's works. “I was moved by Hoss's passion and said, ‘Okay, let's do it,'” says Sternberg. “The negotiations took a long time and the rights were optioned at a reasonable cost.

After the script began circulating, it quickly ended up in Viggo Mortensen's hands. The actor met with Amini at his home in Madrid late in 2010, enthusiastically attaching himself to star as Chester MacFarland and remaining steadfast throughout efforts to get the film in front of the camera. “He has been incredibly gracious and generous throughout the whole process,” says Amini. “He's been a real partner.” After Viggo Mortensen committed to playing Chester MacFarland, Amini slightly tweaked his conception of the character. “Viggo looks heroic and there's an element of Gatsby in the character, which doesn't exist in the book so much,” says the British-Iranian Amini.

Oscar Isaac was the next to sign on as Rydal Keener. The two men had worked together on Nicolas Winding Refn's stylish thriller Drive. But although Amini was going around in circles trying to find the right actor to portray the small-time conman who falls under the MacFarland's glamorous spell, Isaac admits that when Amini first let him read the script while they were on Drive, “it would have been unrealistic for me to expect to play Rydal”.

None of the stars were concerned about Amini's inexperience behind the camera. “It didn't feel like we were working with a first-time director at all,” says Mortensen. For Amini, the most challenging aspect of the entire production was sitting in the editing suite and trying to craft the suspenseful narrative with his editor. He confesses to feeling a bit of “snow blindness” in the early stages as he toiled to find the right balance and fine-tuned the narrative.

The Two Faces of January went into production in October 2012 on the island of Crete. Highsmith's thriller stretches across the Continent, taking in Paris, Istanbul and Greece, the Cradle of Civilization. Because of the economic meltdown in Greece at the time and the resulting anti-government demonstrations, the production at first looked to shoot entirely in and around Istanbul before transferring to Ealing Studios in London for interiors.

The $21m production ended up filming for three weeks in Crete, four days in Athens and four weeks in Istanbul, before finishing off with two weeks at Ealing Studios.

 

Share this article: The Two Faces of January

Facebook
LinkedIn
WhatsApp
Pinterest
Twitter
Email

MORE TOPICS

22 Jump Street

Now, in 22 Jump Street, the filmmakers take the relationship to the next level. If the first film was about forming a relationship, the new film is about what it takes to make a relationship last.

Jem and the Holograms

As a small-town girl catapults from underground video sensation to global superstar, she and her band of sisters begin a one-in-a-million journey of discovering that some talents are too special to keep hidden.

Killing Them Softly

KILLING THEM SOFTLY is written for the screen and directed by Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford), and is based on the George V. Higgins novel, “Cogan’s Trade.” Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Steve Schwartz, Paula Mae Schwartz, and Anthony Katagas produced the film

Kinyarwanda

Kinyarwanda is a feature length film spawned from the very real stories of Rwandans who survived the 1994 Genocide, many of whom lost family and friends. These stories and the research of Executive Producer Ishmael Ntihabose resulted in this very unique way of telling a part of Rwandan history yet unknown to most of the world.

John Cusack

John Paul Cusack (born June 28, 1966) is an American film actor and screenwriter. He has appeared in more than 50 films. Cusack was born in Evanston, Illinois, to an Irish Catholic family. His father, Dick Cusack (1925–2003), was also an actor, as are his siblings Ann, Joan, Bill and Susie.

Hollywood’s Biggest Stars: Where Are They Now?

The world of Hollywood is ever-changing, and many of its biggest stars have taken a step back from the spotlight to focus on their personal lives and pursue new endeavors. While they may not be as visible as they once were, these actors and actresses have left a lasting impact on the entertainment industry and continue to be remembered for their iconic roles.