One of the biggest success stories out of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival has to be the purchase of the A Single Man by the Weinstein Company — and the attendant buzz that suddenly has vaulted the movie into the awards race. Starring Colin Firth as a man adrift after the death of his longtime lover, the movie marks the feature film directorial debut of noted fashion designer Tom Ford.
At the press conference for the movie, I asked Firth if he felt any trepidation about working with a director who’d never made a movie before. “Never trepidation. I mean, it couldn’t have been further from trepidation,” recalled Firth. “There are a million different ways you can be a wonderful director. If you are working with a highly imaginative, highly intelligent person with an extraordinary set of skills … it was nothing but intrigue from the beginning, really. It was a day or two into shooting where I realized that we had harmonized in terms of what we were both wanting to do. It was never really much of a tussle.” Asked if he had any hesitation about jumping from fashion to film, Ford’s confidence spoke volumes: “I don’t want to sound egotistical at all, but it was a very smooth transition for me. There is a certain similarity in the way one works in fashion and you work in film: You have to have a vision, you have to work with a group of technicians — fashion is much more collaborative than one would imagine — you have to have a group of technicians to help you realize your vision. Ford added, “I’m not going to say that there weren’t moments where I thought, ‘God am I doing this the right way?’ but I had a terrific team of people. Colin, you just have to put a camera on him and he performs.”