Advice For Young Directors and Actors – Terry Notary and Ruben Östlund of THE SQUARE Movie

Watch the video interview on Youtube here


Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival Official Oscar® Entry – Sweden, Best Foreign Language Film Directed/Written by Ruben Östlund


(FORCE MAJEURE; 2014 Golden Globe nominee)


Starring Claes Bang, Elisabeth Moss, Dominic West and Terry Notary


Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

Film Courage:  I want to ask the two of you questions about filmmaking and acting, but first I have to interject with a question of [Ruben] being called the new Ingmar Bergman?

Ruben Östlund:  Oh my…

Film Courage:  How does this make you feel, what type of responsibility does it carry?

Ruben Östlund:  It’s very interesting you know because the Swedish film industry is divided in two parts basically and one was the Ingmar Bergman part and the other one was Bo Widerberg.  And I have always been connected with the Bo Widerberg part because the producer that I started working with (Kalle Boman) in the 60’s. I have never been in the Ingmar Bergman when it comes to the Swedish film industry at least.  So that is kind of nice.  It’s the first time I’ve ever heard it.

Film Courage:  So you haven’t hear that?   But I’m wondering with the sense of responsibility that is with this?  It might put a lot of pressure on someone?

Ruben Östlund:  I don’t have any problem with pressure actually.  I try to enjoy the pressure.  I don’t take it that seriously I must say.  But sometimes it’s good to have high goals or high expectations.  For example I love to say “Okay, the next film will be in competition in Cannes” because then you have to perform better and you have to push everybody in the production in order to perform better.  If you don’t know where you are aiming for then it would be very hard to increase your performance.

So I think it’s important to have high expectations on yourself and not take them too seriously but at the same time let those high expectations encourage you.

Film Courage:  And it goes back to uncomfortably as well which is a fascinating dynamic on screen but maybe not so great in real life? But that’s another subject…another video.  So in writing THE SQUARE, how many pages was the script?

Ruben Östlund:  I don’t know, 124 pages?  Something like that?

Terry Notary:  110 is what it was.

Ruben Östlund:  I write in a more literal way first and then I have someone doing an American standard script out of that first script.  But I like much more to write in a literal way where you can write what the characters are thinking and things like that.  Things that are quite hard to show when it comes to a visual product.

Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

So I write in a different kind of way.  Both scripts I’ve been doing have been published as novels also, FORCE MAJEURE and THE SQUARE.

Film Courage:  Terry when you are presented with a script, what is your process for going through it and saying yes to a project?

Terry Notary:  Well I said yes to the project after we had a FaceTime conversation.  He laughed and I laughed and I liked him when I met him on FaceTime.  I thought his ideas were great.

I saw FORCE MAJEURE and I love that film!  And I thought He’s going to make me look good. So, I just love his sensibility and the way he shoots.  He takes time and allows moments to play out in time.  Nothing feels rushed and I feel like the way he captures scenes is …(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).



THE SQUARE stars Claes Bang as Christian, the respected chief curator of a prestigious contemporary art museum. Tall and impeccable, he is a divorced but devoted father of two who drives an electric car and supports good causes. His next show is “The Square”, an installation which serves as a symbol of the basic social contract – a literal square which reminds us of our roles as responsible fellow human beings. But when Christian’s phone and wallet are stolen, his foolish response tests this notion and drags him into a series of shameful and hilarious situations. Meanwhile, the museum’s PR agency has created an unexpected campaign for “The Square,” to which the response is overblown, which sends Christian, as well as the museum, into an existential crisis. With stunning set pieces featuring Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale) as a journalist with whom Christian becomes entangled, Dominic West (“The Affair”) as a famous artist whose patience is continually tested, and motion capture actor Terry Notary (WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES) as a performance artist frighteningly committed to his craft, THE SQUARE is a riotous piece of high-wire sociological suspense.


 THE SQUARE in Theaters 10/27/17


Watch THE SQUARE on Amazon here:

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