Wander Darkly is the most emotionally engaging movie I have seen in 2020. It’s a heartbreaker with a concept that is jaw-droppingly original. I personally would love to see it sweep awards season. It’s probably the first film I’ve seen this year so far that is worthy of the highest accolades. I was very excited to talk to director/screenwriter Tara Miele about how she made, for lack of any other adjective that’s anywhere close to describing it, her masterpiece. I highly suggest you watch Wander Darkly as soon as possible. Please remember to have tissues on hand, though, because you will absolutely need them. Anyway, read on to see our lovely conversation.
I spent approximately two-thirds of this movie crying. So that’s how much it hit me.
Tara Miele: Well, sorry, and thank you.
“…the work with the actors was pretty focused. We were sprinting to climb Everest every single day.”
What was the set like because you’re working with this really heavy material so what kind of stuff did y’all do to bring levity to the situation?
Well, I think I’m constantly taking the piss out of things, but it was just a crazy shoot. It was 24 days. We had a million moves. On top of the emotional heavy lifting, we had lots of strange camerawork and things that had to be envisioned. So, I would say the work with the actors was pretty focused. We were sprinting to climb Everest every single day. I remember there’s a scene where Diego (Luna)’s at the club and all of a sudden Adrienne (Sienna Miller) is there. We were doing a wide shot and she sort of creeped in and she’s wearing this old white nightgown and said “Every man’s worst nightmare.” Sienna’s incredibly funny, so is Diego, so there was some fun. With the darker stuff, I feel like the whole crew was with her (Miller) and supported her work. I didn’t want anyone on cell phones on the set. We really tried to support everyone who had to get into that concussed Wander Darkly headspace for a few weeks to make it all happen.
It’s crazy that you shot this all in 24 days because it’s so involved. Asking as someone who wants to make a movie someday, how do you consolidate something so complex into such a small period of time?
You have to be completely deluded and not really think about it too much. You just have to be like, “Okay. Step by step. Bird by bird.” Our AD spent a lot of time shuffling, but it was not an ideal schedule. For example, the hospital location was only available on the first day of shooting. So, we did the weirdest, hardest work right out of the gate. I certainly would not repeat that. I think I would be like, “I don’t care; let’s drive to Utah for a hospital if we have to.” You’re completely deluded that it’s all not that big of a deal and you can totally do it.