One of the best things I’ve watched this year is director Derek Cianfrance’s (The Place Beyond the Pines, Blue Valentine) limited series adaptation of Wally Lamb’s novel I Know This Much Is True for HBO. The series stars Mark Ruffalo in dual roles as identical twin brothers, one of whom suffers from mental illness. Over the course of the six-episodes that span different stages of their lives, Cianfrance pulls back the curtain on how mental illness affects everyone – not just the person afflicted with the disease. Featuring two brilliant performances by Ruffalo (one of which had him add thirty pounds for the role), brilliant filmmaking, and incredible contributions from the entire cast and crew, I Know This Much is True is one of those special series that I can’t recommend enough. I Know This Much Is True also stars Melissa Leo, Rosie O’Donnell, Archie Panjabi, Imogen Poots, John Procaccino, Rob Huebel, Philip Ettinger, Aisling Franciosi, Bruce Greenwood, Juliette Lewis, and Kathryn Hahn.
With the entire series now available on HBO, I recently did an extended interview with Derek Cianfrance where we went deep into the making of the series and his past works. During the ninety-minute conversation, Cianfrance went into great detail on how the series was made, why he loves to shoot close-ups, why the motto on set was “let’s keep Kodak in business,” why he wanted the series to be raw, dirty and sweaty, how Ingmar Bergman’s Fanny and Alexander influenced the series, why shooting on film adds a sense of urgency on set, and so much more. In addition, he talked about his obsession with Creepshow, what happened to A Cotton Candy Autopsy, how his Metalhead movie morphed into Sound of Metal, future projects, the way Phil Solomon changed his trajectory in film school, and more.
Trust me, if you’re a fan of Derek Cianfrance you’ll learn a lot watching this interview.
Since this conversation is so long, we’re offering it two ways: you can either watch the interview in the player below or further down the page is the audio so you can download the conversation.
Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for I Know This Much Is True.