James Gray wanted to rediscover what he "loves about movies" by directing 'Armageddon Time.'
The 53-year-old filmmaker was at the helm of the upcoming coming-of-age period drama - which stars Anne Hathaway as a mother who sends her son Paul to private school when he is caught smoking cannabis - and explained that because he had worked on some "ambitious films" such as 'Ad Astra ' and 'The Lost City of Z' he wanted but wanted to "forget" some of the complicated narrative goals with his new project.
He said: "I had made a couple of ambitious films in a row, one of which covered two continents in the UK and in Amazonia and one that took place in space primarily. I just wanted to try and return to what it is that I loved about the cinema, and try to forget some of the difficult machinery that led to a certain narrative ambition and ambition about the environment. I wanted to get a personal and emotional ambition to rediscover what it is I love about movies, and why I make them in the first place. That's the truth of it."
The 'Little Odessa' director went on to add that he did not want 'Les Miserables' star Anne, 39, and 'Succession' actor Jeremy Strong - who starred as Paul's father in the movie - to do an "imitation" of his own parents even though he had shown them his own family albums for inspiration.
He told ScreenRant: "I showed them endless family albums. I told them stories over and over again. I don't know where they get that, but let's say they're right. What is true is that I didn't want those guys to do an imitation of my parents. That's not interesting to me. There's a difference between being authentic and being realistic. Real is not all that interesting sometimes, but authentic means you're truthful to the emotion. I had wanted something that enabled them to inhabit a character, not to do an imitation. I gave them this information, but I said, 'I want to see part of you in it. Not just part of them, part of you. Bring your soul and your spirit to it.' Because that's what makes it beautiful, and that's what makes it transcend."
'Armageddon Time' is set for release in the UK on 18 November 2022.