Colette (Premieres)

Who: Wash Westmoreland, director and co-writer

Logline: At her husband’s request, Colette pens a series of bestselling novels published under his name. But as her confidence grows, she transforms not only herself and her marriage, but the world around her.

The most expensive thing in our budget was: an old steam train that was 120 years old. A giant piece of 19th-century industrial iron, and five miles of track—not cheap. A piece of coal flew out of the funnel and set a nearby field on fire. It took a half hour of serious beating to put out. Nightmare… but worth it.

The greatest flash of inspiration or brilliance we had making this film was: breaking period-piece casting norms. The supporting cast of this film features LGBT actors playing straight, straight actors playing gay, trans actors playing cis, brown and black actors playing (historically) white characters. It all just felt right.

I need to give a special shout-out to: my partner of 20 years, Richard Glatzer, who passed away in 2015 just after Still Alice. This was our dream project for many years. I had him in my mind every day, all the time. I’m still co-directing.

When I heard we got into Sundance I: felt like I was coming home. Richard and I went to Sundance in 2006 and the festival took Quinceañera, a low-budget movie we made for under $500,000, and blessed it with a couple of big prizes. That was on the 28th of January, 2006: Richard’s birthday, and also Colette’s. This is the first time I have returned to Park City since then.

Wash Westmoreland, director of Colette, an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Photograph courtesy of Sundance Institute

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