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John Malkovich stars in the film adaptation of Disgrace, the Booker Prize-winning novel by J.M. Coetzee who was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature four years after its publication. For many years the author refused his consent for any film adaptation of the novel, considered one of the most brilliant literary works of our times. This changed when Steve Jacobs presented to him a script by Anna Maria Monticelli. Carefully written, with great respect for the original it was based on, it featured dialogues with hardly any abridgments, a painstaking recreation of all the details described by the author and a very thorough selection of locations for the outdoor scenes in African rural and urban settings. John Malkovich, known for his dedication to non-blockbuster projects, was cast as David Lurie. The actor is famous for his unforgettable portrayals of the jaded photojournalist in The Killing Fields, the seducer Valmont in Dangerous Liaisons, an assassin in In the Line of Fire (the role brought him his second Academy Award nomination) and a mentally disabled person in Of Mice and Men. In 1999 he starred as himself in the black comedy Being John Malkovich. Recently he appeared in Burn after Reading directed by the Coen brothers.
In an interview for the “Rzeczpospolita” daily paper Steve Jacobs, the director of Disgrace, said: “In the novel the eponymous disgrace has many shades. To me the most important were those of its aspects that referred to David Lurie’s actions.” The main character is a fifty-two-year old professor of English who is accompanied more often by poetry, good wine and classical music than by people. An affair with a beautiful student sets in motion a series of events that force him to reconsider his whole life. The film is a moving tale about an individual who has to come to terms with his own disgrace. “The strength of J.M. Coetzee’s writing comes from his vision and sparing use of literary devices. I believe that the impartiality the author is capable of displaying gives his books extraordinary power,” Jacobs concluded.
direction Steve Jacobs
script Anna-Maria Monticelli
cinematography Steve Arnolds
cast John Malkovich, Lessica Haines, Eriq Ebouaney
country / year of production Australia/RPA 2008
distribution in Poland Gutek Film