Cold and calculated, Miss Sloane is a movie for today's political junkies

Director John Madden discusses his new film Miss Sloane and how it reflects the election in unexpected ways.
Director John Madden in studio q (Melody Lau)

"It's not an aspect of the political process that anybody has seen much," says director John Madden on his new film Miss Sloane exposing the workings of lobbyists. The film stars Jessica Chastain as a ruthless lobbyist who bends the rules whenever she can and doesn't care about the collateral damage she causes along the way. "She's a character who represents the extremes that would be possible in that kind of world and that makes her an incredibly forceful and dramatic presence," explains Madden and the idea of competing narratives is an interesting way to set up a film.

As females make up about 10% of the lobbyists in Washington, D.C., "the politics of gender are smack in the centre of this film," says Madden. When Chastain was preparing for the role she noticed how these women employed deliberate sartorial choices and was amazed to see that many of them donned black nail polish. "They dressed to survive, impress, or dominate in a society dominated by men," explains Madden of the way Chastain's look in the film was inspired by real life female lobbyists.

But it's not just about women in politics. "This film is about reasonable gun regulation," says Madden. With the current political climate, the director admits he is happy that the film has come out at this moment. "It reflects the election in very unexpected ways but we weren't making it during the election," he explains. Madden thought gun regulation would be a hot button issue during the election, but that wasn't the case, "that's an example of the way in which the politics overtook us."

"People aren't fooled by easy answers in film," says Madden and happy endings aren't realistic. Chastain's character is meant to connect the audience to the film through her reclamation of a humanity she no longer knew she had. "The way audiences engage with cinematic fiction is through character, through humanity, through a human connection" and that's why you root for this ruthless character despite yourself, because you recognize her in you. 

WEB EXTRA | Watch the trailer for Miss Sloane below.


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