Author Craig Davidson on the film adaptation of Rust and Bone

First aired on Metro Morning (30/8/12)

There's a Canadian connection to a film directed by French director Jacques Audiard and starring Oscar winner Marion Cotillard (La Vie en rose) that will have its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. De rouille et d'os (Rust and Bone), about a single father and a whale trainer who suffers a terrible accident, is based on a book of short stories by Toronto-based author Craig Davidson. The film, which debuted at Cannes in May, has already won rave reviews and is gathering lots of Oscar buzz.

craig-davidson-profile-150.jpgIn a recent interview on Toronto morning program Metro Morning, Davidson told host Matt Galloway that the film adaptation came about because someone gave Audiard a copy of his book, believing they had "shared aesthetics" and that the filmmaker would enjoy it. He enjoyed it so much that he wanted to make a film based on two characters, the whale trainer and a young boxer. "They have radical changes to their physical self and have to reorient their life afterwards," Davidson said.

He and Audiard met, along with his French editor, at a Paris café. Davidson commented that Audiard is very stylish, and wears a brushed felt hat. "I was so nervous I knocked this giant glass of water over onto his hat while we were speaking," he said. Davidson thought his clumsiness had doomed the project, but as it turned out, "whether I was a clown or not, he still enjoyed the stories and thought he could make something onscreen with it."

Davidson said that Rust and Bone was his first book, so there are things that he now finds fault with. But there are also "galvanizing scenes," which he thought drew Audiard's interest. Much of the material involved "tough guys in trouble, and the women who love those men and probably shouldn't," he said.

Rust and Bone debuted at Cannes in May, but Davidson wasn't there: his first son was born around that time and he chose to be there for the birth instead.

The film premieres at TIFF on Sept. 6. Asked whether he was nervous about seeing the adaptation on screen, Davidson said: "Not at all. I know this director and I know how good he is and I know how passionate he is so I think whatever he takes from the book he's going to actually make it better than the book."