Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod talk about Rob and Bel Ami


DIYUK We met with Donnellan and Ormerod to talk about their rascal of a lead character, getting the cast on such a modest budget, and their working relationship.

Can I ask how you get such a cast on a relatively modest budget?
Ormerod: The more you hear about film, you realise that people [actors] aren’t well-paid and they will do a project they want to do. I’m glad to say they wanted to work with us, but they also loved the script – Rob really grabbed at it, and loved the character.

What was it about Rob that you liked?
Ormerod: I think he’s perfect for the role. He has those matinee idol good looks, the sort of gigilo looks that those women completely fall for, and yet he has a darkness, and interest, and a vulnerability sometimes too.
Donnellan: He’s very bright too, and he understood the character. Rob’s got an enormous amount of talent, but we’re all fascinated by this character who has no talent. It’s a modern story – the person who gets to the top with no talent. A journalist asked us the other day, “was this the first time the two of you have worked together?” You do start asking, how did they get the job? When I was young, it was really difficult to get jobs, and I think a lot of people get jobs because… I don’t know. There’s this fascination with how people get to the top of their jobs. They get there because they’re empty, because they have no imagination, so other people can pin fantasies on them.
Ormerod: In every organisation you see them – their one talent is to get to the top.

Were you under any pressure to tone down the sex scenes when Rob came on board, in terms of attracting a wider audience?
Ormerod: No, the film is about sex. It's not titillating sex.
Donnellan: It's about a guy who sells his body, basically. All these women are in comfortable marriages, and none of them want to get divorced. Their relationship with him is essentially sexual.
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