bones and allOriginally a novel by Camille DeAngelis, it tells the story of two cannibals who fall in love and travel across America. The film is adapted by screenwriter David Kajganich, who is also a producer on director Luca Guadagnino’s latest project. Like the novel of the same name, the bones and all The film follows Maren (Taylor Russell) on a cross-country road trip in search of answers about herself, her family, and her cannibalistic desires. Along the way, she discovers that she is not alone and meets her love interest Lee de ella (Timothée Chalamet), another cannibal.
Set in rural America in the 1980s, bones and all it’s a film that actively steers clear of major distractions, forcing its young characters to address introspective questions. During an interview with CBR, Kajganich described intentionally searched bones and all to focus on the characters unraveling these complex issues in a natural and subdued way, regardless of the horror elements the film draws from. She also dove into what drew her to adapting DeAngelis’s book.
CBR: When it came to adapting this book, what originally hooked you about the original premise of bones and all?
David Kajganich: It was sent to me, I think, in the context of having written horror projects before, so I was prepared for the horrible elements of the story, but what I was not prepared for was that it was a love story, which is something I which I haven’t really written before in my career. It is also a story of first love, which has a lot of pathos. For me, the idea of writing a love story that behaves within the grammar of a horror movie was too delicious to pass up.
I would love to focus a little bit on that relationship. In regards to the Maren and Lee dynamic, what were you most excited to unpack when writing the script?
I think there’s a very important element to the story, which is that it would be impossible to tell if you were judging the characters, and I love the idea of characters that are so complex and morally complex. What they do, what you see them do in the movie, is really disturbing because one’s kind of reflexive morality is to condemn them for what they do, but I think there’s an element here of not judging. That’s certainly something I worked hard to make sure it was in the script, that I wasn’t protecting or judging them. Came through how Luca [Guadagnino] He directed it, he carried out the performances, he explained how the film’s soundtrack was composed, how it was designed. He is not encouraged to make those binary decisions. I think that leaves the audience in an interesting place to ask themselves, “How do I feel about this? How do I feel about these characters? Am I getting closer to them? Am I moving away from them?” It’s just a more interactive kind of experience.
What about the film medium that you think lends itself to this story, especially since we’re taking it from prose fiction to the big screen?
I think any time you have characters on the road, you have an interesting relationship between the figures in the landscape and the landscape. It was interesting to write a film about roads that was naturalistic in the sense that it seemed to behave like a road trip behaves, which is that there are people you meet once. There are dead ends. There are false starts. There is wasted momentum. There is boredom. All those things are a very important part of a road trip. I think having them in the movie means that the movie is not structured in a conventional way in the first place… When people say it wanders and meanders, that was by design, so you’d feel like there wasn’t a clear ending to this. trip. They were just unpacking each other throughout their travels. for me that [was] the part of writing this that came over. That was the most surprising thing to me. There are times when the road movie aspect really beats everything else. I didn’t expect that given the notoriety of the other things that happened in the movie, but when I watch it, I feel like I’m on a road trip.
Bones and All opens in theaters on November 23.