Picturesque landscapes, time travel and ill-fated love punctuate the chemistry between Colin Farrell and Jessica Brown Findlay in the film, “Winter’s Tale,” written and directed by Akiva Goldsman whose screenplay credits include “Cinderella Man,” “I Am Legend,” “The Da Vinci Code” and “A Beautiful Mind.” For his debut as director, Goldsman adapted the screenplay from Mark Helprin’s 768-page novel about a thief in 1916 New York named Peter Lake who falls in love with rich heiress Beverly Penn, a pretty, but lonely girl living with a chronic illness. Farrell and Brown Findlay begin their character’s onscreen relationship with a natural chemistry that continues throughout the film.
The chemistry between Farrell and Findlay is crucial in the start of the movie when their characters Peter and Beverly first meet. The viewer must believe in the love between the characters during these first crucial moments to buy into the rest of the film’s story. Fittingly, this was the first scene the actors shot for the film, meaning the camera captured the initial chemistry between Colin Farrell and Jessica Brown Findlay as the project began. The scene is what film critics consider a “meet cute” or a memorable “boy meets girl” meeting between the two main characters that generally takes place in a romantic comedy but can pop up in any genre of film. In “Winter’s Tale,” the main characters sit down for a cup of tea and the result is what could be considered one of the most romantic moments of the entire film. Colin Farrell stated that this meeting in the film was awkward like many first meetings, and it was probably more so as it was the first time they shot a scene together.
This first meeting between Farrell and Findlay takes viewers into what the director has called a fairytale for grown-ups, while keeping the reality of true life-changing love alive throughout the duration of the film. An underlying premise of the film is that love is capable of physically changing the universe, and love is capable of bending time. The enchantment surrounding this epic love is supported by the charm of leading man Farrell, the ever-present elegance of Findlay and the endearing sentiment held between the two of them. As Farrell’s character is transported through time, he experiences life in different ways and delves into the different points of view one person can have over the course of a lifetime.
The love scene between Beverly and Peter is epic for a variety of reasons. The first obvious reason is that Beverly was a virgin who did not believe romantic love was possible for her due to her illness. The second reason is that Beverly dies shortly after she and Peter physically express their love to each other. When asked about the love scenes in the film, Findlay said they were natural and hinted that it was important to just approach the scenes with confidence. Farrell talked about having concern for his co-star during a tough scene. This concern helps to connect the actors on a personal level. Respected veteran actress and co-star Eva Marie Saint, who plays Beverly’s sister when she is grown up, raved that the main love scene was done with a class and beauty that is rare to find in Hollywood.
Additionally, the chemistry between the stars and their magical white horse was important to the film and adds to the magic of the romance. Both actors had the ability to connect with the horse in a way that made this part of the fantasy come to life for the film’s viewers.
The way in which the characters interact adds to the allure of the film. Hollywood heavyweights Russell Crowe, Will Smith, Jennifer Connelly, Matt Bomer and William Hurt add to the cohesiveness of the film’s quality. The director worked with a smaller budget than he planned and was able to pull together a great cast on the tenet the film’s story is built on, love and friendship. The chemistry between the lead actors Colin Farrell and Jessica Brown Findlay is palpable throughout the entire film, but the connection the other actors make with each other onscreen is also of note. Farrell spoke highly about working with Eva Marie Saint and was thankful for the time spent with her on set. Saint commented that Farrell was a classic gentlemen and an acting talent. The Hollywood mainstay Saint relished playing a woman over the age of 100, and the veteran actress is still thriving and working on acting projects.