Editor’s Note: Deadline’s Read the Screenplay series debuts and celebrates the movie scripts that will be factors in this year’s cinematic award race.
In Still water, a father’s strained relationship with his daughter is tested by unfathomable circumstances. Matt Damon plays Bill, a man from Stillwater, OK, who travels to France to visit his daughter, Allison (Abigail Breslin). While studying abroad, Allison was convicted of murdering her roommate, Lina. Allison was innocent, but ruthless French media contributed to her conviction. Bill stays in Marseille while he visits Allison in prison.
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In France, Bill befriends Virginie (Camille Cottin) who helps him navigate the country and translate French into English. Bill becomes close to Virginia and his own daughter, perhaps seeking to redeem himself so as not to be there for Allison when she needed him. On leave, Allison even sees a side of her father with Virginia’s daughter she wished he had shown her.
McCarthy started writing the script in 2011 but was never satisfied with it, so he kept doing Projector and produce 13 reasons why. Returning to the idea seven years later, he began a new draft with Marcus Hinchey, with attention turning to Bill and his efforts to find the real killer and justify his daughter. McCarthy called on Thomas Bidegain and Noé Debré to help keep the French part of the story authentic, which was ultimately shot in Marseille, with a few scenes in Oklahoma.
“With regard to this particular movie, Thomas, Noah and I talked about allowing the story to go where it wanted, to kind of push the audience in terms of expecting a trip again. “McCarthy said during a panel with Damon earlier. this month at Deadline’s Contenders Film: New York event. “It’s not just a thriller, it’s not just a drama, it’s not just a love story. It changes a lot of halls, so we had to keep a lot of balls in the air. .
Still water premiered at this year’s Cannes Film Festival before opening in theaters via Focus Features July 30.
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