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German film In the Fade, starring Diane Kruger as a woman seeking revenge after her husband and son are killed in a bombing, has made waves stateside this year, entering the Oscar race for best foreign-language film. Fatih Akin, the movie’s writer and director, joined The Hollywood Reporter‘s Writers Roundtable, along with Aaron Sorkin, Jordan Peele, Darren Aronofsky, Emily V. Gordon and Anthony McCarten, to discuss his tendency to take on controversial projects.
“I’m curious about trouble, I like to be involved in trouble — not trouble on the streets, but writing something and provoking something,” he said. “I definitely believe in discussions, if you go to the cinema and you come out and two people have two different opinions and they talk about them, so you create a dialogue. I think you can solve everything with a dialogue.”
Akin faced criticism in 2014 for his film The Cut, which dealt with the Armenian genocide and was the first from a director of Turkish heritage to candidly portray the topic. He said that while he dealt with hate mail and public scrutiny, “I don’t want to get eaten by my fears.”
In the Fade was the quickest film Akin had ever made; he secured financing for, wrote and shot the movie in six months. When he was starting the screenplay, he said, one of the first images he had of the story was of how it would end.
“It was like, how am I going to write this to get to there? It was like writing it backwards,” Akin said. “Sometimes it’s completely different, the opposite; sometimes I start because I have a great idea for an opening, but I don’t know how to end it.”
Although Akin has reached a successful point in his career, he remembers the early days of writing and one time when he lost an entire project due to a technical issue.
“When there was no iCloud thing, once I wrote something for like 18 months, and I had a problem with my computer and I lost the whole file,” he said. “That was like you have very old wine, red wine, like 200 years ago, and the bottle broke. It was something like that.”
To see the full Writers Roundtable conversation, click here.
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