Director Joe Wright is no stranger to the Oscar race. He burst onto the awards scene with his 2005 adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, which many believed opened up the more staid, traditional aspects of Austen’s novel to a younger audience. That film received four Oscar nominations, including Best Actress for Keira Knightley.
But it was his direction of the 2007 adaptation of Ian McEwan’s celebrated novel Atonement that heralded Wright as a major filmmaker. Again working with Knightley, Wright expertly shepherded the tricky material and helped deliver career-best performances from James McAvoy, Knightley, and then newcomer Saoirse Ronan. Atonement was a critical and awards smash, receiving 7 Oscar nominations including Best Picture. It also won the 2008 Golden Globe for Best Drama and received 14 BAFTA nominations. Wright received Best Director nominations at both the Golden Globes and BAFTA, missing Oscar contention.
This year, Wright returns to awards contention with his adaptation of the off-Broadway musical Cyrano, starring Peter Dinklage, Haley Bennett, and Kelvin Harrison Jr. The film is a celebration of love, of passion, and of the importance of human connection. Filmed during the COVID-19 pandemic on the island of Sicily, Cyrano may very well be the best film Wright has directed to date. He deftly balances the gorgeous crafts with deeply felt drama and gorgeously fluid musical sequences.
Here, Wright talks to Awards Daily about the film and how he came to the property originally. He also talks about the importance of filming on location in Sicily during the pandemic and how he worked with his choreographer to accentuate the story through dance.
Cyrano is now playing in Los Angeles at the Landmark Theatre and will open wider in 2022.