Welcome back! It’s time for part two of our interview series with some of the fine folks responsible for The Sonata (2019). In part one, we spoke with the co-writer and director of the film, Andrew Desmond. This time, we got a chance to sit down with film producer Laurent Fumeron.
Bonjour, Laurent! Thank you again for taking the time to answer our questions and for all of your hard work facilitating these interviews. Not to mention everything you and the rest of The Sonata folks did to put that great bit of Gothic entertainment up on the big screen.
On with the questions!
How did you get started as a film producer?
During my studies, I worked as an author on a small comedy project for a production company. With some friends we opened our own company a few months later and started to work on advertising, fillers, etc… I then worked in sales for a while and then back to production specifically for music videos, advertising, documentaries, and short films.
In 2015, I teamed up with Rodolphe Sanzé (former sales executive at Imagina and K5) and Daniel Goroshko (founder of CIS distribution company A-One) and we created The Project whose aim is to produce European coproductions. We are also currently creating a new entity, One World Entertainment, with US partners Matt Bradley and Sharunya Varriale.
How does a movie producer get attached to a film?
We spend a lot of time meeting writers and directors during film festivals or simply through friends. Then we need to have a unanimous love for the project before we decide to produce it. You’re going to work hand in hand with the artistic team for a few years and need to be passionate about the film you’re about to produce otherwise it will fail.
In your experience, what are the duties of a movie producer?
It’s to gather the best team around a project and carry it from a few lines on paper to the final delivery of the film.
As a producer I see myself as a father figure. I need to be present all the time and to anticipate problems. I also think you need to understand everyone’s job on set and in post to be able to help them when needed.
According to IMDB, The Sonata had 14 producers, co-producers, and executive producers. Presumably, some of those are honorary titles. Or, is there some complicated organizational scheme involved?
The joys of international coproductions!
The Sonata is a coproduction between four countries: France, UK, Russia, and Latvia. Add to that a few financiers and you get 14 producers! But it’s quite normal to have that number of producers on a project.
Are genre movies a favorite of yours and something you look to promote?
Yes, absolutely. I love genre and the space it gives to tell extraordinary stories. I love to watch films that take me out of my ordinary life. I also think we need to promote the indie genre community as they are all fantastic and passionate people.
Genre festival organizers help a lot to promote this diversity and it’s always a blast to go to these festivals. Distributors around the world need to take more risks and release more genre films in theaters.
How much input did you have on how The Sonata turned out? Is that common for producers?
Well it depends on you as a producer I guess. I personally need to be working alongside the creative team and I also work a lot in post.
I have always worked on set and I try to be first in, last out. The Sonata is a small budget so you need to be able to be there when needed and do the extra hours with everyone. A film is a true team effort and everyone needs to rally behind the director’s vision to make it happen.
Currently, The Sonata is showing in theaters in South Korea, Japan, and the Middle East. How are deals like that put together?
We work with our sales agent, Arri Media International, whose work is to sell the film worldwide to local distributors. They present the film during film markets such as EFM, Cannes, AFM, Toronto etc…
If you could assemble a “dream team” for a film you’d like to produce, who would be involved and what kind of movie would it be?
I have the chance to work and collaborate with a lot of talented people and I feel that we are a small family. Some of them I’ve worked with for 10 years. So I’d definitely take back a big part of The Sonata crew.
I think it would be a science-fiction film or an adventure movie. I miss seeing big adventure films like Indiana Jones or Jurassic Park (the original).
I’m there if Steven Spielberg needs a hand for his next project! 😉 In a dream world, I’d love to work with Denis Villeneuve and the Wachowskis.
What’s next for producer extraordinaire, Laurent Fumeron?
We are, with our company The Project, currently developing Andrew Desmond’s next project, Lemnos (also co-written with Arthur Morin). It’s a science-fiction film. We are finalizing the script and we’ll start casting soon. That’s a very exciting project.
Besides that, we are coproducing A Perfect Enemy by Kiké Maíllo. It’s the adaptation of Amélie Nothomb’s best selling book, The Enemy’s Cosmetique. And we are developing four other projects that are still in the early development phase.
Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers?
The Sonata will have a US theatre release in the first quarter of 2020 in selected cinemas (it will be announced soon). So I hope that everybody will be curious to see it on a big screen to experience it as it should be.
I also think that it’s very important to support all indie movies as they present a different voice than all these remakes and blockbusters that now fill worldwide screens.
And of course, I’d like to say “thank you”!
Once again, a bonus question for extra credit… Given that The Sonata was one of the last films for genre legend Rutger Hauer, do you have any stories or anecdotes you’d like to share?
Rutger was a pleasure to work with. A true rock star. For the interview scene in The Sonata, I had to be with him on set to read the interviewer’s lines as Andrew had lost his voice.
Of course, I’m not an actor so I was very stressed about it but Rutger was very cool! At the end, we joked with Arthur and Andrew saying that now that I had questioned a replicant I was the equal of Harrison Ford.
We’ll all miss him.
Questioning a replicant! I love it. Thanks for sharing such a fun story. I bet you’re glad you didn’t ask him about his mother…
And that’s it for part two of our Scariest Interview Series focused on The Sonata. A big merci beaucoup once again to Laurent for everything (including many of the behind-the-scenes photos you see sprinkled throughout these interview posts)!
The third and final interview in the series will be coming in the next few days and we’ll be talking to none other than The Sonata‘s main character, Rose Fisher herself, the lovely and talented Freya Tingley!
Stay tuned, Scariest Readers!
[You can catch The Sonata in Provo, Utah on September 8th as part of the great FilmQuest Film Festival. The movie will also be having its UK premiere on Sunday, August 25th at Fright Fest in London.]