Categories Keane Media Print Media

Keane: It’s all in the Mind, The Guardian, September 1, 2006

It’s all in the mind

by Jessica Winter, The Guardian, September 1, 2006
Damian Lewis has taken on what may be his most ambitious role yet: a mentally ill father. He tells Jessica Winter how he spent time in a support home to prepare for the making of Keane.

The stars of what was meant to be Lodge Kerrigan’s third film, In God’s Hands, might have been happy enough with the shoot – Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard became a couple as result of working together – but the director wasn’t. The completed film was scrapped in 2002, owing to what Kerrigan describes as “technical issues with the negative”.

“It was pretty devastating,” says Kerrigan matter-of-factly in his rich baritone. Some others associated with the film absolved themselves of any responsibility, and Kerrigan retreated to reading the novels of Haruki Murakami. Fortunately, the insurance covered the disaster and in 2004 Kerrigan was able to return to the fray, shooting his new film, Keane, in 32 days for less than $1m.

Shot on location in the concrete outskirts and transport interzones of New York, Keane sticks as closely as possible to its mentally disturbed protagonist, who forges a bond with a little girl and her financially strapped mother while he searches desperately for his own missing daughter. The themes of mental illness and the loss of a child have cropped up before in Kerrigan’s work. His startling first feature, Clean, Shaven, also depicted a mentally ill man in search of his child. In God’s Hands also hinged on a child’s disappearance, but Kerrigan stresses Keane is not a sequel or a remake.

“It deals with similar themes, but it’s a completely new script; I started from scratch. In God’s Hands was about a man who was very religious, a fundamentalist Christian in a grassroots religious community, who loses his faith after his child is abducted.”

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