By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act May 31, 2011 at 9:33AM
Speaking of Naomi Campbell... in putting together my post earlier today about Costa Gavras' interest in having her co-star in his next film (read that post HERE), I looked over her IMDB resume to see what she's done recently, and what she has coming up.
First, let me say that “actress” isn’t the first trade I think of when the name Naomi Campbell is spoken. “Super model”? That’s more like it. Then again, I guess there is some acting required when one has to make pretend on all those glamorous photo-shoots she’s been the center of, or when she has to strut down the runway during New York’s Fashion Week, right?
The only film I recall her having a substantial part in was Spike Lee’s 1996 Girl 6 (A film I’ve been meaning to watch again, actually). She played one of the other “Girls.” Her IMDB resume shows that she’s had parts in several straight-to-DVD movies, like the memorable Fat Slags, and who could forget, Prisoner Of Love; she also had an intermittent stint on the once hit 90s TV show, New York Undercover.
So, imagine my surprise when I read that notorious award-winning French auteur Catherine Breillat (most known for controversial films like 2001′s Fat Girl), has had Campbell pegged as the lead in a feature film that’s been in the works since 2007, but recently stalled, due to a lack of financing.
The film, titled Bad Love, is based on a Breillat’s own novel of the same name.
What’s Bad Love about? According to a synopsis of the book on Amazon: "Vivian Parker, a star sublime and lofty, met Louis at a film festival. Without knowing why, she gives him her phone number. So began a passion that unites two people who disagree about everything. Caught up in the frenzy of their irrational love, the lovers will discover little by little, before tearing. With this novel in two voices, by turns moving, sensual, dark and cruel, Catherine Breillat depicts a tragic love story, a story of mutual devouring.
Hmm… ok. Sounds ominous. Obviously “Vivian Parker” will be the character Campbell would play, if the film ever sees the light of day, which was the question on the minds of a few who were in attendance at 2009's New York Film Festival screening of Breillat’s most recent work, Bluebeard. According to a writeup on The Playlist, during the Q&A that followed the screening of Bluebeard (described as a wry, painterly and formalistic fairy tale based on the classic French story of violent nobleman in the habit of murdering his wives), Breillat stated that she was “undeterred to make the project” despite financing concerns.
"It took 20 years to do Romance... and The Last Mistress’ (her ’07 film starring Asia Argento) took me 10 years to make,” Breillat said, claiming all of her films have had trouble becoming financed initially. “I certainly haven’t said my last word,” she said defiantly about “Bad Love,” and noted that she still hopes to have Naomi Campbell in the lead. Breillat [...] said the project was facing financing problems in France for “multiple reasons."
Further, Breillat said that she wrote Bad Love “precisely and uniquely for Naomi Campbell,” stating, "she came to see me, she wanted to work with me. She came, she sat, I said “Okay, I make all my actors do screen tests. So even if your image is worth a lot of money, there’s no point in us working together if it’s going to be ridiculous... But I believe Naomi would be ready to make the film with austerity and frugality.”
IMDB Pro lists the film’s release date as sometime in 2011, though it's still "in development," its status last updated on May 8th, 2011. Let’s see if it actually happens. Breillat says that it took her 10 years to make one of her previous films; at that rate, we might not see Bad Love until 2017! :)
Although, for all we know, it's pushing ahead at this very moment; there's nothing else on Breillat's schedule.
In the meantime, I’d recommend you check out Fat Girl, if you haven’t already. I saw it when it was released 10 years ago, but, unfortunately, I can’t give you a proper review of it, since it’s been so long. However, it was what I’d call bold, provocative, and shocking (to some) filmmaking. The film was initially banned in parts of the world because of its explicit representations of teenage sexuality. It went on to play at the Berlin International Film Festival, Cannes Film festival, and others, picking up awards along the way.
Breillat is known for pushing the envelope, so maybe that was Naomi's attraction to her; but I also wonder what she could do with Naomi given her rep.