“Once you start dealing with families, there are so many unspoken elements, and there’s so many confrontations that should have taken place years ago, but they only really happen when it’s almost too late. And a wedding is a very useful occasion…[And] in real life it happens: you hear stories about the weddings where all these big arguments are happening.”
Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier is talking about her latest film; if you hadn’t seen it, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a family drama like her Academy Award-winner In a Better World or her breakthrough films Open Hearts and Brothers. But as its title suggests, Love Is All You Need is a romantic comedy in the Mamma Mia! vein (albeit without the singing and frothy soundtrack), with the Nordic family, the wedding, the sparkling Mediterranean location, and Pierce Brosnan in the role of elusive love-interest.
Bier and her long-time screenwriting partner Anders Thomas Jensen were inspired to venture into lighter territory by writing sessions spent on Italy’s Amalfi coast. “We kind of talked about, ‘It would be great to make a movie here – but you can’t; what kind of drama are you gonna set here? It’s not gonna work!’ And then we started talking about making a romantic comedy which had this cancer element, and had the sense of loss in it – because [the location] is very beautiful, but there’s also a nostalgic element to it.”
Originally titled The Bald Hairdresser, the story revolves around a stoic, 40-something, recently-single mother recovering from cancer (played by In a Better World’s Trine Dyrholm, and inspired by Bier’s own mother) who gets a second shot at love while she’s trying to survive her daughter’s elaborate Italian wedding.
Brosnan plays Philip, a dour English widower who, in true romcom style, also happens to be the father of the groom. The Irish-American actor leapt at the chance to work with Bier after seeing In A Better World – but also knows a bit about love and loss, having lost his first wife to cancer.
“And then when I’d had it up to the back teeth with women and love affairs, I was sitting in Mexico when around the corner comes this gorgeous girl – who I’m now married to, and 17 years later we have two boys. So I’ve been very blessed with that aspect of love and life, to find love again, and that’s what appealed to me about this story.”
Love Is All You Need screens from Thu Dec 13