David Hare and Louis Malle: A Friendship in Film

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Louis Malle and David Hare

David Hare (L) and Louis Malle (R)

A creative partner with whom you connect deeply on both a professional and personal level is rare and should be treasured.

Since I’ve moved to Los Angeles, I’ve been fortunate to have met some artists who I continue to collaborate with. Being “in the zone” while working with another artist on the same wavelength is one of the most satisfying aspects of the filmmaking process. Of course it is unrealistic to expect this type of working relationship with every crew member on every film, but it is nonetheless satisfying when the stars align.

I recently came across an old article in Vogue by David Hare, screenwriter of THE HOURS, that recounts his working process and friendship with director, Louis Malle, on the film, DAMAGES. It always fascinates me to learn about how other artists collaborate, because there is no wrong or right way. Sometimes, chemistry is there at the first meeting. Other times, it develops as collaborators get to know one another more. Sometimes there is no connection, and never will be.

Malle charmed Hare into writing the screenplay for DAMAGES by first suggesting that Hare read the book that the film would eventually be adapted from. Shortly thereafter, Malle arrived, uninvited, during Hare’s solitary retreat in St.-Tropez. Malle then asked Hare to repeatedly recount the story from the book – for ten days straight – all the while interrogating Hare about the characters, plot details and so forth.

Hare reminisces, “…after three or four days, even I had to admit that I was becoming like an Olympic athlete whose punishing hours of training were bringing unnoticed rewards. Much to my surprise, my muscles were starting to ripple. I could even get through whole sentences without interruption.

It was as if Louis and I were laying down planks over marshy ground and together finding a path. Slowly we constructed a watertight narrative, which was secured by the oddest of means: endless repetition. The more often I told the story out loud, the more natural its logic and development seemed to become…”

*Article excerpts are from the September 2012 issue of Vogue. You can order the digital issue if you don’t wish to lug around the 916-page behemoth.