“It’s a permanent collaboration,” chuckles Costa-Gavras when asked whether his screenwriting affects his directing and vice versa. “The writer will tell the story with words; a director tells the story with images so the thing is to find the balance between both.” Getting the script right is crucial. “The first editing of a movie starts with your writing, then comes the shooting and the definitive editing. If you don’t have an editing of the script then you don’t know where to go.” The subject matter is another key element. “The essential thing for me is to tell a story which touches me profoundly because I live with it for one or two years.” The political thriller about an investigator who uncovers a conspiracy surrounding the assassination of a leftist politician led to global recognition for the filmmaker who received Oscar nominations for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. “When we did Z , at first nobody was willing to give money to make the movie because they thought who would care about this story. We did it anyway. We were surprised by its success.” Gavras reflects, “Those are the miracles that sometime happen with the cinema.”
Many thanks to Costa-Gavras for taking the time for this interview.
Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada.