George Miller elevated the art of the action movie with Mad Max: Fury Roadand now the 77-year-old Australian director is doing the same for love scenes in his new romantic drama, Three thousand years of longing. Midway through the film, Tilda Swinton’s austere scholar Alithea Binnie has a passionate encounter with Idris Elba’s magical Djinn (Idris Elba) – better known as a genie – whom she frees from his centuries-long captivity. The ensuing ghostly union of their hearts, souls and bodies is much, much more than a standard movie sex scene.
“It’s referred to as “lovecraft,”” Swinton tells Yahoo Entertainment about this metaphorical series, which will get audiences’ hearts racing. For his part, Elba compares participating in “lovecraft” to the practice of of yoga.”[We were] Really stretching our lungs,” he recalls. “It was all a bit spiritual.” (Watch our interview in the video above.)
Based on a short story by AS Byatt, Three thousand years of longing it’s a film Miller longed for to do for years. And during his extensive creative genesis, he put a lot of thought into how he wanted to portray the consummation of the attraction between Truth and Genie. In the final film, their ‘lovecraft’ is depicted as a rich tableau brought to life with immersive digital effects and a roving camera that moves around the frame with grace and style.
“It was an image that George had in his mind from the very first conversations I had with him,” recalls Swindon. “It was almost like he was making a sculpture: he had this image in his mind for years and had designed special effects around it well in advance. The idea of focusing a love scene as a still image, I thought, was really exciting George works with many ways as a sculptor and this was a truly remarkable moment.”
“It was incredibly sensitive, beautiful,” agrees Elba. “We shot a lot of this story in a chronological way … so that [scene] it happened at a crossroads in our filming process where we were all in love with where we were… And as Tilda said, George had it figured out a long time ago.”
While moviegoers who only know Miller for Mad Max The franchise might be surprised to see him indulge his romantic side Three thousand years of longingthe film’s protagonists note that he always tried to avoid the pigeonhole, leading such disparate films as The Witches of Eastwick, Oil Lorenzo and Baby: Pig in the city.
“He’s made this incredible chocolate box of movies,” Elba says of what drew him to film in the first place. “He told me after we met that once he had envisioned me as Jin, he couldn’t envision anyone else. And when someone like that tells you that, you can’t help but be devoted—especially to someone with his experience.”
Three thousand years of longing is currently playing in theaters