MT: I think no matter how attractive a couple is, how perfect they seem, the dailyness of life, the sharing of space, makes things seem ordinary. It dulls the sheen. People don’t stray just because they don’t find their partner attractive; it’s much more emotional and mental. There’s a large physical component, but it’s multilayered.
The beginning of anything is more exciting. That sense of discovery. The beginning of a relationship, a connection, is very addictive and satisfying, and one of the most exhilarating things we can experience. “To crave the newness,“ as Joanna says. Her old boyfriend is somebody she knows, but she was with him for less than 100 days, so they were not burdened by the dailyness.
More: Along that line, in the movie, Griffin Dunne, who plays Alex’s friend, is sort of like the Greek chorus.
MT: Except he’s so much more fun!
More: Eva’s character, Laura, reminded me of the Black Swan.
MT: We tried to make her understated. But no matter how we made her up, she’s beautiful. Her physicality is very different from Keira’s, by design, to complicate the story—Michael’s not going for a different version of his wife, a younger version.
More: What do you think is tempting Keira’s character?
MT: She’s longing for someone from her past. With Alex, she could visualize a different life. She was living in Paris with an artist, which is so different from her life today, like her night with Alex’s friends is so different from her night with her husband’s friends.
More: Which movies about relationships, do you admire?
MT: Mike Nichol’s Closer. And I love Ingmar Bergman’s Scenes from a Marriage, Stanley Donan’s Two for the Road. It grapples with the business of marriage. David Lean’s Brief Encounter is always very emotional to watch. Husband and Wives, Woody Allen’s movie.
More: What’s your next project?
MT: I’m writing it now. It’s a suspense story. I can’t wait to do it again, to direct. You have to really love it.
More: I gather your husband is very supportive of your work.
MT: My husband is a retina surgeon. He’s very supportive and like my reality check.