At the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, writer-director Cary Fukunaga emerged as the belle of the ball, the kind of promising young talent the festival is meant to catapult, when his first feature, "Sin Nombre," a harrowing, haunting tale of unexpected beauty and unflinching realism, took home both the Directing Award and Excellence in Cinematography Award (it also landed Fukunaga a three-picture deal with Focus Features).
Two years later, on the lip of releasing his second effort, a gothic, chillingly sensual adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre" starring Mia Wasikowska, Judi Dench and Michael Fassbender (opening this Friday), the young director marvels at how much and yet how little has changed since he trod the same paths promoting "Sin Nombre."
"I was still doing promotion up until two weeks before shooting 'Jane Eyre' and I'm homeless at the moment," he tells PopcornBiz. "I had an apartment in London until two days after [the' Jane Eyre'] shoot. Then I packed up and sent my stuff to the Focus Features office. They're my Manhattan mini-storage."
While the constant stream of work is a dream come true for any independent filmmaker, it's kept Fukunaga from focusing on writing potential future projects that have been simmering in his brain for several years, including (and in order of important in his mind) a sci-fi love story, an adaptation of a historical non-fiction novel about a train heist during the Civil War, and a movie musical that could feature a score by Beirut and Arcade Fire.
"I'm not Quentin Tarantino; I can't write on the road," he shrugs when asked about his procrastination. "I need a little space I can just disappear into. That's probably what I'll do in the spring; find some quiet place, some nice mothering woman to take care of me and feed me soup while I write and cry like a baby," he smiles.
With his sophomore effort arriving in theaters, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to ask about the film's leading man, Michael Fassbender, and his uncanny ability to get everyone, even horses, hot and bothered.
"I don't know," he laughs. "I definitely didn't find myself getting hard-ons during dialogue scenes, I'll tell you that. But Dame Judi [Dench]. Talk about 'boner!' She's so cool," he coos. "When I moved into my flat in London, she gave me a gift. It was the last photograph of Steve McQueen before he died. And Steve had signed it for her! She gave it to me, just pulled it off her wall and gave it to me. That's the kind of person Judi Dench is."
"Jane Eyre" opens this Friday, March 11.