French Playwright, Florian Zeller brings to the silver screen as his feature film debut an adaptation of his own play,Le Père in The Father. Zeller collaborates with Christopher Hampton to write the screenplay of an elderly man slowly losing connection to his life which he knew well and loved.
During the Q & A at the Sundance Film Festival Zeller had envisioned only one particular actor to play the lead role in his film due to the complicated character of one losing a grip on reality. He told his friends that he would like to cast Oscar winner, Anthony Hopkins as the leading man and they laughed. He recalls, "Of course, I was aware it was not an easy dream to fulfill." He continues, "Because I am French, this was my first feature film, Anthony Hopkins is not that easy to get, etc." Then he admits, "until someone comes and says, 'No, it is not possible,' it may be possible.' "
In order to try to get Hopkins he needed to write the screenplay in English thus the reason for collaboration with Hampton because he had translated all of Zeller's previous work. They sent the script to Hopkins. One day they received a call saying that Hopkins would like to meet in Los Angeles to discuss the script. Hopkins signed on and wanted to film right away. Zeller was delighted with his energy and enthusiasm.
There were times the films shoots were postponed which allowed the two to have great conversations talking about the various characters. These dialogues made a difference. The audience will see clearly the strength and intimacy that develops by each character and the incredible performances by each actor which Zeller is very proud.
Anthony (Anthony Hopkins) is a quiet, stately, elderly gentleman who lives alone in a fine apartment in the big city. As time passes, Anthony becomes more confused as to his surroundings and with the people who regularly come in and out of his life.
Anne (Olivia Colman) is Anthony's daughter trying to help her father from experiencing undue stress as he ages and becomes more disoriented. The confusion Anthony experiences isn't always noticeable but when frustration is more than he can bear, his mood swings are drastic and often volatile. He tries so hard to make sense of the changes but knows something isn't quite right. At the same time, he doesn't want to be a burden to his daughter but needs her. He is often afraid. Anne is overwhelmed and knows she cannot effectively care for her father as his illness progresses. The news of Anne moving away and leaving him takes its toll and his whole world begin to unravel but at whose expense?