Q&A: John Maybury

Director John Maybury opens the Edinburgh fest with the Dylan Thomas film "The Edge of Love"

Ten years ago, director John Maybury won an award for best new British feature at the Edinburgh International Film Festival for "Love Is the Devil," a film about painter Francis Bacon. Now he's opening the festival with another portrait of an artist, "The Edge of Love," the story of two women (Keira Knightley and Sienna Miller) who are both loved by the legendary poet Dylan Thomas (Matthew Rhys).

Maybury talked with The Hollywood Reporter's Stuart Kemp about his triumphant return to Scotland.

The Hollywood Reporter: Was there added pressure directing something written by Knightley's mother, Sharman Macdonald?

John Maybury: There was a lot of pressure on me because of that, but it is very much a collaborative effort, and I am very proud of what everyone on the film has achieved.

THR: The producer, Rebekah Gilbertson, is the granddaughter of Thomas' lover Vera Phillips, played by Knightley in the film. Pressure there?

Maybury: When you are making a film about real people and there are descendants around, there's a requirement to have some elements of truth transported into the project. They were all bringing things to the table from the past, and you have to, as a director, force them to let go and allow you to make the film you want to make. As a director, I want to try to make a film with narrative and storytelling taking control of it.

THR: Making a fictional film about a real-life legend is tricky. How did you approach it?

Maybury: Dylan Thomas is a fascinating character, and there is a whole industry surrounding him. He was an amazing talent but a bit of a bastard, and it was important that I let that side of him come through. We went way off the (script) page with how Matthew Rhys interpreted his character.

THR: How do you feel about returning to EIFF?

Maybury: I am thrilled to be back in Edinburgh, and I do think it is the best festival on the circuit -- with only Toronto perhaps coming close. Edinburgh is a purely cinematic experience, and the current regime seems to be looking to get back to the core values that the festival represents. It's all about filmmaking and not about commerce.