October 19, 2021 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

“The Burnt Orange Heresy” – A Mystery Thriller

Italian director Giuseppe Capotondi’s directing career kicked off at age 23. He cut his teeth on music videos and over 250 TV commercials, subsequently winning international awards. The Burnt Orange Heresy, his second feature, is a fascinating Hitchcockian mystery which has more twists and turns than a salted pretzel. Capotondi’s casting is superb with Claes Bang as James Figueras, an art critic whose successful days are behind him. He fills his time giving lectures to uninformed art audiences, which changes quickly when he meets Berenice Hollis played by Elizabeth Debicki. Their romantic adventures takes them to the magnificent Lake Como home of Joseph Cassidy, a wealthy art dealer played by Mick Jagger. He commissions James to steal a painting from the reclusive, famous artist Jerome Debney, played by the iconic Donald Sutherland. Once James and Berenice meet this eccentric artist, the story does a 360 and takes off into the most unexpected, dark places with James’ desperation catapulting him into a complicated web of deceit out of which there is no escape. Just when you think you’ve figured it out, along comes another totally unexpected, shocking turn of events that will leave you on the edge of your seat to the final frame and beyond.

Director Capotondi and Claes Bang sat down for an interview with a small group of select journalists and the following has been edited for content and continuity.

How did you learn about the book and did the script stick close to the original story?

Guiseppe: Charles Willeford’s novel is set in Palm Beach, Florida but it was hard to shoot there, so we moved the action to Lake Como. Also, the character of Berenice is developed a lot more than in the book. But, the story is more or less the same.

How did you find that beautiful manor at Lake Como? 

Guiseppe: Actually, nobody lives there so we had to totally redecorate. You can rent it. It’s a huge house and very cold in the winter. 

When you read a script, what three things jump out that makes you want to play that character?

Claes: It’s never about three things. Every script is different and it wouldn’t be good to tick off three boxes. It has to say something to me that makes me want to start doing the scenes. With this one, it was very much about that twisted, weird relationship between James and Berenice. Like, whoa, what’s going on here? What’s the dynamic they have with each other? 

L-R: Claes Bang as struggling art critic James Figueras, Elizabeth Debicki as his friend Berenice Hollis, and Mick Jagger as Joseph Cassidy, a famous art collector.

You just came off The Square, which also dealt with art. How is your knowledge of art?

Claes: I’ve always been super interested in art. I’ve been going to museums and involved in art forever. Obviously, for The Square, I talked to museum art directors. That research really came in handy for this film. 

Guiseppe: I don’t think we were trying to make a satire on the world of art. (Laughs)

Claes: We are not trying to say something about the art world per se; it was just about my character’s job and obviously it gives us a chance to talk about the perception of art and its seduction. 

How was it working with Mick Jagger and Donald Sutherland – two icons.

Guiseppe: It was different because Donald is a legend and I was nervous about the idea of working with him. But, he is a very sweet man and very generous. Before I met Mick in London, I was really sweaty and didn’t know what I was going to say to him. The moment you get to know him, you find that he very approachable and is quite normal, funny, and very sweet.

L-R: Mick Jagger as Joseph Cassidy, Claes Bang as James Figueras.

After the ordeal Berenice just went through, what was her motivation for returning to the apartment? 

Guiseppe: If you think about it, many women who are abused by their husbands always go back. First of all, we tend to hope that people we like walk a straight line, but they don’t always do that. Maybe she was in shock.  

Claes: It’s always about finding something irrational in your character. Like why would you ever go and do that? As an audience, it actually engages you and you want to shout no, no, no. Don’t do that! (Laughter)

Guiseppe: We did have a lot of conversations about that scene.

Claes: My character of James is pushed over the edge, which is why he takes those actions.  The Jagger character basically has him by the balls so either he does what he says or there will be no way back into his career in the art world. He’s has fallen from grace and is a persona no gratis and is fed up with lecturing. Berenice catches him red handed and reacts negatively. We worked hard to get that bathroom scene. He had no idea that in three days, his life would do a 360. He’s just trying to survive and that ambition drives him. 

When you are in an emotionally intense scene, how do you decompress?

Claes: I’m not a “Method” actor. I like to think of myself as an instrument – like a piano you can play. That’s in an ideal world but sometimes I’m a bit too opinionated, so I’m not a totally neutral instrument, but I try to be. I have the feeling that if I lose myself too much, I won’t be able to take direction.  You have to keep a distance in a way and I don’t go home devastated. 

Donald Sutherland as the elusive artist Jerome Debney.

Did you give a lot of character direction?

Guiseppe: No. I think they all drew from personal experiences, except maybe the killing experience. We talked before and then I would just smoke my cigarettes (Laughter)

Claes: You have to get use to that. I was always wanting to do more takes, but 

Guiseppe would say, no, no. We’ve got what we need. (Laughter)

The end of the film is a cliffhanger. 

Guiseppe: We talked a lot about that ending and that was the biggest change. It wasn’t written like that. I didn’t want to give this character absolution and wanted to leave the ending with a question mark.  

Claes: Our ending is mysterious. You leave the cinema wondering what’s going to happen.

in News
Related Posts

Marina del Rey Man Arrested in Connection to 2019 Orange County Murder

October 18, 2021

October 18, 2021

Jonathan Ho, Nicholas Nguyen arrested in relation to murder of Jeffrey Cheng By Sam Catanzaro A Marina del Rey man...

Bird Wire’ to Be Installed at Mother’s Beach: YO! Venice Show – October 18, 2021

October 18, 2021

October 18, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * ‘Bird Wire’ to Be Installed at Mother’s Beach * LADWP Fixes...

Landlord Sues Snap Over Fire At Former Venice Office

October 16, 2021

October 16, 2021

Benjamin Schonbrun files lawsuit against Snap, Inc. in connection to January fire By Dolores Quintana A Venice property owner is...

Venice RV Fire Under Investigation

October 15, 2021

October 15, 2021

No injuries reported in two separate incidents By Dolores Quintana Two RVs caught fire recently in Venice and Pacific Palisades. ...

LA City Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas Charged With Bribery and Fraud

October 15, 2021

October 15, 2021

Politician allegedly sought benefits for close Relative in exchange for support of contracts benefiting USC By Sam Catanzaro LA City...

An Interview with Zach Rash, CEO of Coco Food Robotic Delivery

October 11, 2021

October 11, 2021

Coco Delivery, is a completely contactless food delivery service that uses human piloted robots to deliver meals from the restaurant...

RV Fire Near Whole Foods Under Investigation: YO! Venice Show – October 11, 2021

October 11, 2021

October 11, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * First Baptist Church Of Venice Awarded Historic Designation * RV Fire...

Body Found in Venice Beach Waters Identifed

October 11, 2021

October 11, 2021

October 9 incident remains under investigation By Sam Catanzaro A man’s body that was found in the water near the...

U.S Secretary of Veterans Affairs Visits Veterans Encampment Outside VA

October 11, 2021

October 11, 2021

On Wednesday, the Secretary of U.S. Veterans Affairs and Mark Takano visited the veterans homeless encampment along san vicente blvd....

McRight/Wagner Venice Home and Studio on the Market

October 9, 2021

October 9, 2021

Westside Real Estate Scene October 11, 2021 By Dolores Quintana The McRight/Wagner home and studio is now on the market...

LA City Council Exploring Funding Rental Subsidies for 10,000 Homeless Individuals

October 8, 2021

October 8, 2021

Creation of “Housing Now” Program approved by lawmakers last month By Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles City Council recently approved the...

Buscaino Seeks To Ban Bike Chop Shops

October 7, 2021

October 7, 2021

“Thieves have little or no fear of repercussions of this activity,” Councilmember says By Dolores Quintana  A Los Angeles lawmaker...

Person Faces Charges After 37 Pounds of Marijuana Found in Crashed Vehicle

October 5, 2021

October 5, 2021

California Highway Patrol investigating September 26 incident  By Sam Catanzaro A suspect faces charges after officers found 37 pounds of...

Fallen Veterans Outside the West LA VA

October 4, 2021

October 4, 2021

After the second homicide in six months on “Veterans Row” in Brentwood the community and homeless veterans are seeking answers....

Suspected Shooter Homeless in Encampment Altercation Near Electric Ave: YO! Venice Show – October 4, 2021

October 4, 2021

October 4, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Suspected Shooter Homeless in Encampment Altercation Near Electric Ave * U.S...