TORONTO — In between premieres of his latest film, “Nocturnal Animals,” in Venice and Toronto, fashion designer and filmmaker Tom Ford has launched a fall collection at New York’s fashion week and picked up the prestigious Golden Lion award for his film in Venice.
But for Ford, the two realms are kept fastidiously apart. At the film’s Toronto debut, he promised the audience there are no Tom Ford products in “Nocturnal Animals,” as if such placements would be an appalling collision of worlds, an unholy tainting of his purer cinematic self.
“Nocturnal Animals” confirms both the directing talent evident from Ford’s acclaimed debut, “A Single Man,” and his strong desire to make filmmaker perhaps his foremost identity. “I would love to do it every three years for the rest of my life,” he says in his deep, distinctively precise voice. “I’m very serious about it.”
The film, which will be released Nov. 18, stars Amy Adams as a high-end Manhattan gallerist whose vacuous life is interrupted by a manuscript from her ex-husband (Jake Gyllenhaal). Though the tale — a murder thriller set in the rural West — is fictional, it has profound personal meaning to their long-ago relationship.
In an interview shortly after the film’s premiere in Toronto, Ford spoke about the schism between his two personas and why, as he said, “moviemaking is the most fun thing I can think of.”
AP: What does filmmaking give you that fashion doesn’t?
Ford: You will never feel the impact a dress had when whoever walked into a room for the very first time and they just were so breathtaking beautiful. Whereas film, you can capture that and it lasts forever. You can watch an old movie from the ’30s and you’re right there with them. You’re feeling with them. You’re crying with them. They’re dead. They’re all gone. But you’re back in that world. And for someone who likes to create, that’s the ultimate design project of all time. For me, if everybody ever needed to know who I am or who I was at a certain moment in my life, you can watch “A Single Man.” I’m George. That’s it.
AP: Does it disappoint you that it’s been seven years since your first film?
Ford: It does. I don’t even know how that happened. Life goes by. When I had “A Single Man,” I just had a men’s business. I then opened a women’s business. The women’s business is treacherous. I opened 100 stores. I launched quite a few different projects. And when I had my son, I said I want to be a very hands-on father. I said I didn’t want to make a movie until he was 3 or 4. The day he turned 3, we started shooting.
AP: While the sleek interiors of Adams’ character’s stylish New York life is surely familiar to you and doesn’t differ greatly from those of “A Single Man,” the Texas thriller half of the film is a departure.
Ford: Very few people see me in that life. My family’s been in Texas for 200 years. If I put on a cowboy hat, I don’t look stupid. Instantly, you see the genetics. I didn’t grow up wearing suits. That’s a world I’m very comfortable in. And I’m torn and split between the two. I’m one of these people who create all this fake, artificial stuff that we all consume. And like Amy’s character, I am attracted and repulsed by it. I’ve had the good fortune to know that it does not bring you happiness. It’s a struggle, really, because I am creating it.
AP: I gather that control is an essential ingredient for you.
Ford: Control’s my favorite word. It’s not an accident my light (from the window) is tipped this way and the light’s coming at me and you’re backlit. It’s actually second nature. I don’t even think about it anymore. Maybe the older I get — I just turned 55 — we’re not in control of anything. We’re just not. That doesn’t mean I don’t keep trying.
AP: Has it been difficult to obtain that in your two films? To have final cut?
Ford: Lipstick pays for that. I have the ability to finance. My first movie, I couldn’t get financing for it. I don’t think anyone really believed I could make a movie. My friend David Geffen said: “Pay for it. There’s no better investment than yourself. Pay for your movie.” I can’t work if I don’t have control. It’s not an egotistical thing. It’s that I’ve learned over time that I can’t give my best or produce the best product. When I hear a lot of voices, it derails me. It confuses me. I will only ever make a movie if I control the underlying rights.
Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP