The Father is based on the hit play of the same name by French playwright Florian Zeller, who also directed the film. The father is a man whose grip on reality is dwindling and has begun to believe his daughter, Anne, and son-in-law are imposters. Colman plays Anne, who struggles with her duty of care to him as she and her husband plan to emigrate.
Colman told the Zurich Film Festival, via video link: “It is very moving, very beautiful and Florian Zeller is a very, very clever man. For me, it’s always the script – everything is in there. It arrived to my home and I couldn’t put it down. I didn’t want anyone else to play that part!”
According to Variety, the moderator of the video interview, Christian Jungen, referenced Sir Anthony’s recent statement that he didn’t want anyone else to play the daughter either.
She responded: “Anthony Hopkins is playing my dad – it doesn’t get any better than this. Tony and I, we are not method. We were just playing off each other and it’s easy to just react to what he is doing. He is exactly what you would hope he will be, he has endless brilliant stories. We were sitting off set once, and he just leaned in and said: ‘Aren’t we lucky? Isn’t life beautiful?’ His kindness to everyone on set is beautiful to behold and something to aspire to.”
Colman was awarded the Golden Eye Award at the festival, in recognition of her illustrious career, and Jungen said: ““Before she decided to be an actress, she wanted to be a primary school teacher, and it was during a school performance that she discovered acting. ‘Give it a year,’ her mother said. ‘I will give it 10,’ she answered. She worked hard to carve out a career. She gave it 10 years, and now her time has come.”
The star of The Favourite and The Crown said: “I’m very humbled, and I am thrilled that the film is being shown at a proper cinema. I am really jealous! It’s special – it’s something you can’t recreate at home,” she said, before commenting on the montage of clips shown from many of her roles. “It’s funny seeing all these films from when I was much younger, all the way to Queen Anne!”
The Father was chosen as the gala premiere at the festival. It goes on general release in the UK on 8th January 2021.