An Interview with the Film Producer and Screenwriter Duncan Way at Chez Prune, Paris
Duncan Way is a Film Producer and Screenwriter who moved to Paris in 2012. We met this summer at the British Embassy and subsequently spent many an evening at La Rosa Bonheur, Chez Prune and La Rotonde, drinking rose and discussing films. After starting out as a script reader in London, he assisted director Dustin Hoffman on the film ‘Quartet’. For the last two and a half years he has co-run Film and TV company Lieurac Productions with Louis Le Bayon. Not only have their productions played at the Pompidou Centre and the BFI, but their latest film Ferdinand Knapp was nominated at over 40 film festivals including the Venice International Film Festival. In 2016 they begin shooting their second feature: a biopic of the gypsy jazz guitarist and cult hero, Django Reinhardt. As a writer, Duncan also has two screenplays in development in Los Angeles and Paris.
Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to follow your passion?
Yes, interning in a bank and realizing I was terrible.
What piece of your work would you like to be remembered for?
Hopefully still to come.
If you could be born in another period of history, when would it be?
I’d like to have had my mind blown as a 10 year old watching the moon landing.
How would you define beauty in 140 characters or less?
Any free animal.
Do you have a favourite book, film or painting, which inspires you?
Synecdoche, New York. I’m sceptical when people talk of filmmakers being brave but in the case of Charlie Kauffman it’s true. That film taught me that, as long as the ideas are strong, there are no limits to what you can put on screen.
What is your greatest indulgence in life?
I love a crêpe. I have a crêpe guy.
What fictional character from literature or film would you like to meet?
I would take a road-trip with Voltaire's Candide.
Do you believe that true creative expression can exist in the digital world?
Yes, I think it does already.
What do you wish every child were taught?
Less absolutes, more ‘what ifs’.
Have you ever had a moment when you questioned your career entirely?
The grass is often greener, but I’m lucky that friends and family have always been supportive.
What is your favourite museum or art gallery and why?
Favourite might not be the right word, but 2 years on I still think about the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City on a weekly basis.
Who would you most like to collaborate with and why?
I think Ben Wheatley is the most exciting director to come out of the UK in a long time, and Richard Gere because he’s one of the last old-fashioned movie stars.
What is your daily routine when working?
As a producer every day is different, but wherever I am I’ll usually be plotting with my producing partner Louis.
What has been your most inspiring travel experience?
While studying Russian at university I spent 6 months in Moscow. I lived in the spare room of an incredible 80-year-old woman called Galya and we would talk late into the night about ‘the good old days’ over a bottle of vodka.
What advice would you give to a young person following in your footsteps?
Take the initiative and smile even on a bad day.
Why do you love what you do?
I just love that reading an exciting script can lead to being on-set with forty cast and crew in the middle of nowhere at 2am and everyone’s happy to be there
Written by Flora Alexandra Ogilvy, founder of Arteviste.com