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Q&A with WOOL director Dympna Jardine

Updated: Aug 16, 2022



QUESTION:

What were the inspirations for this film?


DYMPNA:

A woman I know had a partner who set her specific knitting projects to complete when he was away on business. His way of making sure she stayed in of an evening. As I talked to other woman I found it frightening how many had found themselves trapped in a controlling relationship in some point in their lives. I see an acceptance in our society that control is good. I disagree. During Lockdown being stuck at home was a nightmare for some and it was reported that the incidence of domestic violence increased.



QUESTION:

What was the development process like? How long did it take, how many rewrites etc


DYMPNA:

The screenplay started as a factual story of charming boyfriend who suddenly turns controlling when the relationship becomes official. After 3 or 4 drafts I wanted to get down to the essence of coercive control and my ex-lecturer Simon Bovey, accomplished screenplay writer with many radio plays broadcast on BBC, knowing my penchant for having minimal dialogue challenged me to write Wool with absolutely no dialogue. This was in the summer of 2020. I entered this script to three competitions (calling it Yarn for the US market) and was commended in all of them.



QUESTION:

How did you develop the characters?


DYMPNA:

We had several rehearsal sessions for the actors to explore Sandra and John and we made a concerted effort to have John just being who he thought society expected him to be - a guy in control, just being a husband. I wanted to avoid him being the baddie.



QUESTION:

What was the casting process like?


DYMPNA:

Once I had decided to make Wool about a middle-aged couple in a 20year-plus marriage, I approached Vey Straker as I love working with her. She brings so many layers to a character. The first actor I cast as John didn’t work out as he had no concept of coercive control. I auditioned two Midlands actors - one in person and one on zoom. Jason Segade totally caught John in his audition on zoom. It’s quite interesting auditioning for a script with no dialogue! So, I had set the actors the task of arriving at a conference unpacking the suitcase that his wife has packed and made a mistake with.



QUESTION:

What were the visual inspirations and influences for the film? How did that change from development to pre-production to production?


DYMPNA:

At one point I was considering a film with the tone of Delicatessen, dirJean-Pierre Jeunet 1991 , a real black comedy and I can see I still have elements of it, albeit softened. When it came to pre-production and getting the DoP Billy involved we looked at playing with lighter colours and emphasising more of the joyful, quirkiness of the idea. Pin Cushion, dir Deborah Heywood (2017) was on the mood board.



QUESTION:

You had specific ideas for costumes and colour themes, where did those ideas come from and what do they represent to you?


DYMPNA:

With Heywood’s Pin Cushion in mind I was all set for a quirky colourful palette but it quickly became apparent that mundane beiges and browns would be the theme for Sandra putting up with her husband day in and day out. The fabric of the curtains had a sense of entrapment. There is also throughout an idea that this marriage set up, like many, with the promise of a fairytale - hence the gold oval mirror, the satin curtains near the mirror and the plush green velour sofa.



QUESTION:

Are there any easter eggs that you’ve hidden in the film?


DYMPNA:

There are extra little metaphors and motifs of significance. The wool wound round the handle of the radio - wool repairs the damage; the brass plate of the woman at her spinning wheel - an allusion to the Rumpelstiltzchen fairytale.

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