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Jude Law, Carrie Coon On The Moody Marital Drama ‘The Nest’

This image released by IFC Films shows Jude Law, left, with filmmaker Sean Durkin on the set of

This image released by IFC Films shows Jude Law, left, with filmmaker Sean Durkin on the set of "The Nest." (IFC Films via AP)

Carrie Coon so badly wanted the slow-burn familial drama The Nest to be made, she told its director that shed step aside so that he could cast someone more famous in her role.

Carrie Coon so badly wanted the slow-burn familial drama The Nest to be made, she told its director that shed step aside so that he could cast someone more famous in her role.

The Nest, which is now playing in select theaters nationwide, is writer-director Sean Durkins first in almost 10 years. His debut, Martha Marcy May Marlene, was a critical darling and had a breakout role for Elizabeth Olsen, but in the years since the mid-budget films that he wanted to make became even rarer in a franchise-obsessed ecosystem.

It just goes to show how you can be successful and make a very fine and compelling and critically well-received film and still not be able to get something made, Coon said.

Coon had signed on early to play Allison, one half of a married couple who leave their happy life in the U.S. for the promise of a grander one in the U.K. in the mid-1980s. The Leftovers and Fargo actor has a devoted base, but she also knew that it would take a star to get The Nest made. She said to Durkin and his producer that they may need to let her go.

Durkin, for his part, declined her offer. And thankfully Jude Law entered the picture not too long after.

Like most people, I was I was just curious to know what Sean was going to do next, Law said.

In Durkins script, he found an intriguing challenge in the character of Rory, an entrepreneur whose dreams of a high society life have started to curdle into delusion. When he moves his wife, stepdaughter and son to a stately old mansion in Surrey, the veneer on their yuppie life starts to fade.

I kept trying to color him so that he was attractive before he became destructive, Law said.

Although Law and Coon were strangers coming into The Nest, they quickly found that they shared a common language in the theater. And Durkins style of filming, long takes from a distance, complimented their stage backgrounds.

We of course enjoyed that aspect of playing a scene in its entirety and knowing where you go in isnt where youre going to come out, Law said. Youre going to let the scene affect you and carry you.

Coon was excited to discover that her co-star was delightful and unguarded, which she said can be rare for someone so famous.

So much of the tone is going to get set by him. And it was such a great energy. Hes such a generous and open person, she said. And he was so lovely with the kids (Oona Roche and Charlie Shotwell). He wanted to make sure the kids understood that they were just as much a part of this film, that they should feel free to make choices, that their choices were valid.

The Nest, which has been described as a ghost story without ghosts, is a work of fiction, but Durkin did draw some inspiration from his own life. He spent a good portion of his childhood in England and moved to New York at age 11.

Nowadays the move between New York and London is a very seamless one, but at the time, in the late 80s, early 90s, there was a very stark difference in atmosphere and feel, Durkin said. I wanted to capture that.

The eerie tone he sets is juxtaposed with a vision of 1980s elegance rarely seen in period films.

One of the first things I said to my costume and makeup and art teams is that when people make films about the ’80s, they have too much fun with it, Durkin said. If you look at the real references in family pictures and pictures from the street that arent the pop references, it doesnt look very different from today.

Law said the set and costume design kicked back memories from the time, like a particular pair of shoes he coveted as a young teen

But Im at the age where I still cant believe how far away the 80s are, Law laughed. A piece in the 80s is like a piece in the 1880s.

Coon, who was a child in the mid-’80s, dyed her hair a honey blonde shade that was specific to the era and said that she got to wear better clothes than she remembered from the time. I got the best of the ’80s palette, she said, including a reproduction of a stunning black and white suit inspired by a Chloe advertisement.

But at the heart of it, behind the wealth signifiers, the chinchilla coats and the earnest class climbing, is a marriage and a family thats being redefined under the societal pressures of a new environment.

It was a really egalitarian marriage in a time when that was unusual and shes thrust into a position of being more of a housewife than shes ever been. She feels uncomfortable in this new arrangement because it doesnt suit her, Coon said.

Ive never seen marriage dealt with in a film this way. It felt like a very truthful look at the tacit agreements we make. And marriages are built on much less than these two have.

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Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr


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