Harry Macqueen Interview on Directing Supernova

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Harry Macqueen

Harry Macqueen is an Acclaimed Actor, known for his roles in Provenance and Me and Orson Welles. He made his directorial debut with Hinterland and his most recent venture was Supernova which starred Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth.

Supernova is based around a couple and how they continue to love each other while one of them goes through dementia. We talked to him about working with Colin and Stanley as well as how he treated love and dementia in a movie like Supernova. Check it out below.

Hi Harry, I am Hardik Agrawal from The Movie Culture, how are you doing today?

Harry Macqueen: Nice to meet you Hardik. I’m very well thanks. 

Q. So first of all, could you tell me about how the idea of Supernova came to you?

Harry Macqueen: The film is the result of a lengthy research process in which I spend years working alongside people living with dementia. It was a hugely inspiring and profound period – and of course very challenging too. The script emerged from all of these experiences and became what I hope is an important project about the subject.  

Q. How do you approach themes like love and dementia simultaneously in a movie like Supernova?

Harry Macqueen: Love in the context of dementia is really the heart of the story. I’m fascinated by how love, intimacy and companionships changes with this kind of diagnosis. My process was really to focus on the nuances of this relationship and let the dementia side of it sit in the corner – always present but hardly ever mentioned. 

Q. Both Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci are such remarkable actors. How did you approach them for the movie and what was the process of casting like?

Harry Macqueen: It was remarkably easy I’m embarrassed to say. Stanley read the script and almost instantly said yes. We then discussed who might be playing opposite him and he suggested Colin who is his best friend. It turns out he had already send the script to him! Happily, he loved it too. 

Q. This is your second directorial venture after Hinterland. Hinterland was about self discovery and changing perspectives whereas the theme of Supernova is a bit different than that. To what extent could you point out the similarities and dissimilarities in the two projects?

Harry Macqueen: They are both very personal, character driven films about people in transitional periods in their lives. In a technical and budgetary sense they couldn’t be more different – Hinterland was made for £11,000 with a cast and crew of 6. But the essence of how I made both is very similar – treating the material with integrity and the characters with compassion. I also like to build a very tight, open, trusting, collaborative unit around the films. Everyone must feel valued.

Q. The chemistry between Colin and Stanley characters in the movie is so filled with compassion and care. Did you bring that chemistry out or did it come naturally to them?

Harry Macqueen: Both. It was a lovely working relationship between the three of us. They are both brilliant actors but they also have 20 years of love to draw from as friends. This helps of course but it’s also hard to discard the things in that relationship that aren’t useful. It’s a very difficult balance. 

Q. You have also been an actor, and direction and acting are two vastly different jobs? What are some of the biggest challenges in direction and which of these professions do you prefer more?

Harry Macqueen: They are different but being an actor really informs my work as a filmmakers – throughout the process. Directing involves an almost indescribable amount of pressure for a very long period of time but it also gives you ownership and control over your life in a way that acting doesn’t. But I love them both!

Q. About your next project, is it going to be involved in the art of acting or something related to direction again?

Harry Macqueen: I was about to be in a film as an actor but it’s been postponed because of the pandemic. So perhaps that will happen before I make another film as a director. If I’m allowed to that is! 

Thank you so much for interacting with me, Harry. Supernova is one touching piece of cinema and I wish you all the best for your future ventures!

Harry Macqueen: That’s very kind Hardik. Thank you. Pleasure to talk to you (virtually). 

The Movie Culture Synopsis

Supernova is streaming on Hulu and is available on Demand. It’s an awe-inspiring tale of love and profound affection amidst difficult circumstances.