Log In   ·   Become A Member

INTERVIEW: "Wander Darkly" Writer And Director Tara Miele On The Drama’s Stellar Cast, The Project’s Close To Home Inspiration And More

Nicole Barylski

Wander Darkly stars Sienna Miller and Diego Luna. (Courtesy Photo)

Tara Miele's Wander Darkly is making its East Coast premiere during the 28th annual Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF). Available as part of HIFF's Virtual Cinema, festival "attendees" can enjoy the riveting film, which stars Sienna Miller and Diego Luna, in the comfort of their own home from Friday, October 9 through October 14.

We had the chance to chat with the award-winning screenwriter and director of The Lake Effect, The Lost Boy, Thinspiration, and Gone Missing, about her latest film, ties to the area, the project's close to home inspiration, and more.

Wander Darkly is screening as part of Views from Long Island. Tell us about your connection to the area.

TM: I lived in Lindenhurst until I was about 11. I still have a ton of family out on the Island. My grandparents were there until they passed, recently. My cousins, aunts and uncles all are in Suffolk County, the South Shore.

My dad was a big maritimer, so we spent a lot of time boating in the Hamptons, out on Watch Hill and Montauk. I have a lot of fond memories of the summers on the Island.

What does it mean to you to have your film screen as part of that particular section at the Festival?

TM: I think there's something really lovely about it. I have quite a fondness for Long Island, so it feels like getting to screen back home, it's the best. I still call it home. I've lived in California for the majority of my life, but it's still like, Oh, we're going to go home for a little.

In addition to directing the film, you also wrote the screenplay. Could you speak to the project's inspiration?

TM: About seven years ago, my husband and I survived a pretty bad car crash. I blacked out, we saw headlights, and then it was like darkness. When I came to, I couldn't see, so I was screaming at him for help and I was mad at him. It didn't even occur to me that something could have happened to him. We were fine, thank goodness, but I was concussed afterwards. And I actually did have this moment that Sienna has in the movie, where she's on the couch calling for her baby. We had two little girls at the time, but she's calming down her baby and the baby didn't respond. In real life, the baby is just a baby, which is why she didn't respond, but in my concussed state I did have a moment where I was like, Oh, my God, I died. I think being a parent and having a brush like that really put my mortality into focus. A few weeks later, I think we were at my parents house for Thanksgiving, and they were shouting at each other about the turkey, like good Italians, and my kids were screaming, and it was total chaos, and I just was really overwhelmed by this feeling of deep gratitude for the fact that we were lucky enough to still be living our lives. I just wanted to bottle that feeling up and share it. That was really the beginning of Wander Darkly.

Is that where the film's title comes from as well?

TM: The title is actually pulled from a Lord Byron poem. There was a time during his life where the scientists predicted that the sun would extinguish. So, he sort of imagined this very dire future of what would happen on earth. There's a line in it that says: "The stars did wander darkling," which is just the most beautiful way to say they stopped twinkling. I really loved that there is such a beautiful poetry for just such a dire idea. Darkling felt a little too weird for a title, so I adjusted it, but that is where Wander Darkly comes from.

Strangely enough, my production designer Katie Byron is descended from Lord Byron, which we found out much after I hired her.

When writing the screenplay, did you have any actors in mind?

TM: I typically don't write with actors in mind. I just get characters in my head. I think also because it was sort of based on me and my husband's experience, there was some fictionalized versions of us taking wing and then it just gets further and further from that, that original idea grows and expands and gets its own life. I really couldn't have been happier to get Sienna and Diego in these roles. I feel beyond lucky to have had their talent and they just brought so, so much to these roles.

Could you discuss the casting process? Why did you feel Sienna and Diego were right for the film's lead?

TM: We actually cast Diego first. There was something about Diego... He made a joke at Sundance that I cast him just because he looks like my husband, which is not true. Although we did realize the striking resemblance once they were in the same room, I think we were all a little bit breathless about it. He has this boyish charm and a deep emotional intelligence that I really have always admired. I think he's so talented and so human on screen and so vulnerable. He was in my original lookbook, I think there were too many pictures of him in that original book.

With Sienna, Diego and Sienna have the same agent. Sienna had actually called Lynette, our producer, she had read the script and was really moved by it. I always say I think Sienna is the most beautiful woman in the world and it was not my first instinct. But I really did this deep dive on her work and I feel like Sienna is this ingénue with a character, actor's soul. She's such a chameleon, she can truly do anything. I felt like this was something we hadn't seen her do before and we just had these wonderful conversations. I was really excited for her to dive into it and to find it. She really did.

They were both incredibly brave and trusting in all this weird stuff that we wanted to do. They were really fantastic.

For most of the film Adrienne [Sienna's character] lives in a state of limbo. Why was this something you wanted to explore?

TM: I was definitely interested in looking at how a concussion, that concussed state, is similar to the psychosis of grief and also parallel the end of life and the end of love - a reexamination of our lives at certain points, when we reach conclusions to things. Finding that balance was really important for Sienna and for me on set. How lucid is she, how much does she actually understand? I think when you're in a concussed state, you can seem fine one minute, and then the next minute, you're saying things that don't actually make sense. I experienced that sort of recently and was fascinated by that state of mind.

Your website says you "aim to create more socially-conscious work in an effort to build bridges and conversations." What do you hope people take away from your work and what led you to that mission?

TM: I hope that people take away from Wander Darkly a bit of perspective, a little bit of a sense of the triumph of the human spirit, and what we're capable of handling. Also, maybe a little bit of love and looking at each other's perspectives. This couple goes back to their lives and has to sort of renegotiate every memory, and try to understand each other's perspective. I certainly think right now we could all benefit, the country, from looking at things from each other's perspective, and trying to make sense of truth from fiction and maybe not getting so stuck in our own narratives about how things are.

What are you working on next?

TM: I don't know if I'm allowed to say it yet. I do have something really exciting that I'm working on, but I'm not really allowed to announce it yet - but lots of exciting things in the works. I'll just say that.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

TM: I'm so excited to be screening on Long Island. I wish I could be there in person.

The 28th annual Hamptons International Film Festival will take place Thursday, October 8 through Wednesday, October 14.

For more information, visit hamptonsfilmfest.org.


Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com NicoleBarylski NicoleBarylski




Related Articles:

Be the first to comment on this article. (Just fill out the form below)
 

Submit Your Comment

Please note, you are not currently logged in. Your comment will be submitted as a guest.
To submit your comment as a member, please click here.
Your Name:
Location:*
Comments:*
* Comments will be reviewed and posted in a timely fashion
* All fields are required
Question:*
What color is a banana?
(For spam prevention, thanks)
 
 
 
Hamptons Carpet One Floor & Home
We pay less,and so do you.With over 1,000 stores in our buying group, we can get the lowest prices from the best flooring manufacturers — and pass the savings on to you.Visit our other locations: Hamptons Carpet One Floor & Home, 675 North Sea Road,Southampton, NY 11968

Southampton Masonry-Visiting the Southampton or the Wainscott locations is an exciting experience.
Southampton Masonry has been serving Long Island's masonry and tile needs since 1975. Delivering quality products from Manhattan to Montauk for over three decades. The company's continued success is due primarily to their number one priority: customer satisfaction, with a promise of prompt and courteous service from the professional, knowledgeable staff. Southampton Masonry has the largest inventory on the east end. As direct importers they can offer a large variety of the finest quality products at the most competitive pricing for both your interior and exterior projects.

Hamptons luxury real estate specialist for 33 years, Andrea Ackerman offers outstanding expertise in the field.
Hamptons luxury real estate specialist for 34 years, Andrea Ackerman offers outstanding expertise in the field. Trusted, experienced and successful, Andrea has solidified herself as the go-to broker of the Hamptons and a wholehearted advocate for her clients. A pioneer in the real estate industry on the East End of Long Island, she is driven by her passion for the business. Andrea is based in the Bridgehampton office of Brown Harris Stevens as a licensed real estate associate broker and consultant. Formerly, a principal partner and Senior Director at Brown Harris Stevens, Andrea now assists in developing their corporate strategy for the Hamptons region, advising other brokers and sales associates, as well as being one of the top producers and listors.

Southrifty Drug 54 Jagger Lane, Southampton Village
Southrifty Drug is a small, neighborhood pharmacy with limited shelf space, and we have to be very selective about which over-the-counter items we carry. As a result you'll find a no nonsense concentration of very effective, high quality and useful products on our shelves. In this new section, we feature a number of these products that we feel are especially worthy of your consideration.

Burner Law Group, P.C.
Burner Law Group, P.C. are full service elder law attorneys concentrating in the areas of Estate Planning, Trust and Estate Administration and Litigation, Special Needs Planning, Guardianship and Elder Law. Offices in East Setauket‚ NY, Westhampton Beach, NY, and New York, NY.

Suburban Propane in Bridgehampton, New York has been serving proudly supporting our community for 90 years.
Suburban Propane has been serving the energy needs for home owners and business in the Hampton’s for decades. We offer friendly service by local professionals you know and trust, plus the peace of mind that comes from knowing we are among the leaders in the industry for safety.

SGF Acupuncture, PLLC. Is owned and operated By Sandra Geehreng Foster.
SGF Acupuncture, PLLC. Is owned and operated By Sandra Geehreng Foster. Her treatments are based on five element acupuncture. She also offers Far Infrared Sauna treatments. PEMF cellular excerise.