On Friday, April 15th the Tribeca Film Festival in collaboration with the Lincoln Motor Company hosted a private screening of The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea with cocktail reception at the Tribeca Grill. After the screening, audience members listened to an immediate Q&A with director and writer, Bill Purple. The movie stars former SNL cast member Jason Sudeikis, who plays the part of an architect whose wife played by Jessica Biel dies in a tragic car crash right before the birth of their first child. Now alone, Sudeikis befriends a troubled teen played by Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams, who his wife told him to befriend before her death. Throughout the film the two characters’ bond strengthens as they build a raft together for Williams to sail across the Atlantic, the the same destination her father attempted before he left her as a child.
Check out our exclusive Q&A with director, Bill Purple:
Q: As this being your first feature film; what drove you to tell this story?
A: For me I want to make movies of things I want to see. When I first got this material it made me laugh, it made me cry- an entire range of emotions. When I read it, it immediately spoke to me and I felt the immediate responsibility to tell this story. We have an amazing cast. They made it much easier for me.
Q: Were there any sensitivities you tried to avoid in making this film, as it deals with a man suffering from the lost of a loved one?
A: One of the most important things for me was to make sure the audience related to the characters and the emotions felt real. For us it was always about, does this moment feel true? Does this feel human?
Q: How long did you have to work with the cast and the script?
A: Jason had been involved for eight years. He was the first person I thought of. I found this material in 2008. Through this whole process of development, he was closely involved. I would re-write and write and had 30 different versions of this. Massie came on late, she was so committed though. She was busy doing Game of Thrones but we would talk and skype all the time and discuss the scenes. We shot the film in 20 days. We had to shot all of Jessica Biel’s in about five days because she was pregnant, the doctors literally said “this is the last day you can travel”
Q: Can you talk about the location choice and why you shoot in Louisiana?
A: It was placed there originally to service Milly’s need to build this raft. It was originally set just post Katerina. I was really strong and adamant about filming in there. What I love about New Orleans, is it’s a city of redemption and rebirth. The characters experience a lot of pain and tragedy and as you see in the film, each of them help heal each other.
Q: Was the film based off a novel?
A: The other writer, Robbie Pickering wrote the original screen play. It had a different tone. A very quirky comedy which we loved and saw the potential in that while infusing it in a more grounded emotional way to tell the same story- that was the kinda of development process we had.
Q: In the end of the film, there is a storm in the horizon. Can you elaborate of the significance in that?
A: There’s a purposeful image that, their raft is directly in the middle of the frame- there’s a storm on one side and beautiful skies on the other. That’s life- there’s tragedy and joy and you don’t know what’s going to come at you. For me their journey was not important that they made it, but they choose to do it.