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Swedish director Björn Runge took many risks with THE WIFE, based on the novel by Meg Wolitzer. The story of an older couple coming to a long-simmering crossroad in their 40-year-old marriage when the husband wins a Nobel Prize is not designed for the demographic studios usually seek. Yet this is as suspenseful a story as any action flick aimed at that same group, and Runge has found a way to make even a scene with two people talking about a lifetime of secrets, some shown in flashbacks, as lively as any car chase. I asked him to talk about that during our conversation on July 19, 2018, as well as his exquisite use of Glenn Close’s eloquence when she doesn’t say a word.
We also discussed taking care of the writer, father-son relationships, why casting Close’s daughter, Annie Starke, as the younger version of her character wasn’t a done deal, and why Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, which he recently directed on stage in his native Stockholm, is not just timeless, but also universal in its impact.
The film stars Glenn Close in a brilliantly subtle performance with Jonathan Pryce keeping pace with her as Joe, Also starring Christian Slater, Max Irons, Elizabeth McGovern, Harry Lloyd, and Annie Starke.. Runge directed from a script by Jane Anderson, and his previous work includes DAYBREAK, MOUTH TO MOUTH, and HAPPY END.