Todd Field Says Tar Is Likely His Last Movie

Todd Field went 16 years between his 2006 film Little Children and last year’s astonishing Tár, the Oscar-nominated story of a steely conductor played by Cate Blanchett. But the wait for his next movie may be even longer: He says in a recent CinemaScope interview that it’s “highly likely” Tár will be his final film.

By many measures, Tár is a magnificent success. It earned six Oscar nominations, including for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay for Field, and Best Actress for Blanchett, who was heavily favored along with Michelle Yeoh, who ultimately won.

Tár also topped countless critics best of 2022 lists. It inspired think pieces about the positives and negatives of Lydia Tár, and inpsired a now-defunct Twitter account.

But it was a box office letdown, earning just $24 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo, on a budget that the New York Times reported to be $35 million.

Todd Field: Breaking In

Field broke into filmmaking after forays into music and acting — he played blindfolded pianist Nick Nightingale in Eyes Wide Shut, and received mentorship from both Stanley Kubrick and Tom Cruise. The AFI graduate’s first film was a huge success: 2001’s In the Bedroom made back more than 20 times its under-$2-million budget and earned five Oscar nominations, including for Best Picture.

Also Read: Alan Cumming on Going ‘Big’ for Stanley Kubrick in Eyes Wide Shut

But after Little Children, Todd Field took time off from filmmaking to work on commercials and spend more time with his family, living in Maine. It took an extraordinary set of circumstances to get him to make Tár: He has said that Focus Features chairman Peter Kujawski and president of Production and Acquisitions Kiska Higgs told him, “Write a script for us.”

He though of Lydia Tár.

“They gave me complete freedom to write whatever it was that I wanted to do, and so I built her a house. And that’s essentially what happened,” he told Gold Derby.

But the immense effort involved in filmmaking may keep him from making another film, he told CinemaScope in a recent interview, in which he compared the process to “playing music that’s never been played before.”

“There’s a real challenge in making a film of any size. It’s not for the faint of heart. I wish I was cut out for different stuff, because I probably wouldn’t make more films. It takes a great deal out of me to make a film; I don’t know that I’ll ever make another one,” he told CinemaScope.

His interviewer sought clarification, asking if Tár would be his final film: “Yes, I think so,” Field replied. “I didn’t think about it until just now. It’s highly likely.

Pressed on whether he might be more open with the passage of time, Field replied: “I suppose that’s possible. I hope it’s possible.”

Perhaps TV is possible, too. He also noted that between films, he worked closely with The Corrections novelist Jonathan Franzen on a series that didn’t ultimately happen. The show was to be a Showtime adaptation of Franzen’s novel Purity, which would have starred Daniel Craig.

Franzen’s 2015 novel told the story of an idealistic young woman named Pip Tyler who becomes involved with a German activist named Andreas Wolf, the character who would have been played by Craig.

“That was as thrilling as anything I’ve had as far as the excitement of freedom of expression, and I’m looking forward to getting in a room with Jon again,” he told CinemaScope.

Field also recently departed the troubled Hulu adaptation Devil in the White City.

Tár, directed by Todd Field, is now available for streaming.

Main image: Cate Blanchett as a troubled and mercurial symphony conductor.