5 things you need to know about ‘Nocturnal Animals’

(Photo courtesy TIFF)
World-renowned fashion designer Tom Ford made an auspicious directorial debut with 2009’s “A Single Man,” the film that earned Colin Firth his first Oscar nomination and a BAFTA. Seven years later, Ford has finally completed a follow-up, and advance word suggests more nominations may be in the director’s future. 

Based on a novel by Austin Wright, “Nocturnal Animals” tells the story of Susan (Amy Adams), a successful Los Angeles gallery owner who confronts her past while reading the new novel by her estranged ex-husband, Tony (Jake Gyllenhaal). A film about one woman’s experience reading a book might not sound enticing, but TIFF’s Piers Handling says this is “both an effective thriller and a psychological study of a woman in crisis.” If that’s not enough, he also describes it as “a sheer delight from beginning to end.” 

We won’t taint that potential with spoilers, but here are five things you need to know about “Nocturnal Animals.”

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1. It already sold big

When Ford came to TIFF with “A Single Man,” that film ignited a high-stress bidding war. When “Nocturnal Animals” plays the festival, Ford can happily forget about business, as the film has already sold for an impressive $20 million.

2. It was almost two films

When Ford started adapting Austin Wright’s novel “Tony & Susan,” he planned to make separate films about each of the title characters. However, he wisely abandoned that idea, bringing all of Wright’s major threads together in a single film.

3. Amy Adams delivers a standout performance

According to Ford, Amy Adams’ acting ability made a powerful impression on the set. “I have obviously always admired Amy as an actress,” Ford said recently. “But after working with her… she is breathtaking.”

4. Jake Gyllenhaal gets ugly

Based on some behind-the-scenes photos that surfaced during the shoot, it appears one of Jake Gyllenhaal’s characters—he plays Tony and the protagonist in Tony’s novel—gets badly bloodied during the proceedings.

5. It’s an explosive experience

Asked about the buzz already building around the film, Ford promises viewers they won’t be bored: “What is movie-making, other than an hour and 50 minutes to do something in a cinematic way that says to an audience, ‘Boom, boom, boom.’”
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