Maddin to spy through Keyhole

My Winnipeg director set to shoot next feature with Rossellini and McDonald on board

‘The next Guy Maddin film.’ It’s an event — even for the auteur himself.

Reached in Winnipeg via email, Maddin admitted to full-on ‘panic mode’ as he readies Keyhole – set to go to camera on July 6.

Executive produced by Phyllis Lang of Buffalo Gal Pictures (Amreeka, The Stone Angel) and distributed in Canada by E1 Entertainment, the $1.2 million project reunites the Winnipeg wunderkind with his muse, Isabella Rossellini, and his rock, producer Jody Shapiro, who has guided most of Maddin’s later oeuvre. German stalwart Udo Kier and Kids In The Hall alum Kevin McDonald are also in the cast. In the lead — and slightly out of left field — is American actor Jason Patric (Speed 2, My Sister’s Keeper).

Written by Maddin and his long-time collaborator George Toles, the screenplay is an Odyssian tale set within the confines of a house. Patric is Ulysses Pick, a gangster returning to his home after a long absence. Naturally, he is carrying a drowned girl who has now come back to life. The film moves from room to room culminating at the boudoir of Ulysses’ wife, Rossellini’s Hyacinth.

‘I’ve been haunted for years by dreams almost exclusively about architecture, buildings completely devoid of people. George and I figured out a way to make a film about the residents of a house that’s every bit as much about the house itself, a movie in which setting and character are completely inseparable, … each of these halves are in a constant state of haunting each other,’ Maddin told Playback Daily.

Asked how he came to cast Patric, Maddin said the two met at an Edward Hopper-esque diner in Illinois after a screening of James Foley’s After Dark My Sweet. Both the film and the actor left a powerful impression on Maddin.

‘It seemed like he walked right off the screen to continue life as the film’s vulnerable but extremely dangerous punch-drunk boxer turned kidnapper,’ the director recalled.

Maddin said he made a vow to himself that he would one day create a role for Patric. He added, ‘Given the right role, this guy can carry a movie, and its crew and all the picture vehicles and trailers behind him. Just harness him up and let him haul!’