Q&A: Atom Egoyan on the making of Chloe

Q&A: Atom Egoyan on the making of Chloe

(Image: Dominique Charriau) 

Atom Egoyan’s latest film, Chloe, turns Toronto into a dark and sexy city. A suspicious wife (Julianne Moore), a cad of a husband (Liam Neeson) and a sultry call girl (Amanda Seyfried) form the psychologically complex triangle at the centre of Egoyan’s latest film. Stacked with stars and moody shots of Toronto, it’s requisite viewing for the city’s cinephiles. Here, the director talks about the making of his racy new thriller.

Critics have called Chloe a love letter to Toronto. Why was it important to set the movie here?
The script was originally set in San Francisco, but I wanted to make Chloe as personal as possible, so I set it in a place I know really well. The city brands the film.

The house in the film is visually striking, almost like a character itself. Where is it?
Funny you should ask. I first saw it in Toronto Life and then tracked it down. It’s near St. Clair and Bathurst. It’s a very modern, signature Toronto style, with all the wood and glass. Thematically, I liked that the huge windows made it transparent.

Liam Neeson’s wife, Natasha Richardson, died in a ski accident during filming. What was that like for you?
It was the most surreal day in my life. When you’re working on a film, you’re away from family, and when something like that happens, it’s just your worst nightmare. It reminds you of how incredibly vulnerable our bodies are.

Do you feel like the tragedy has hung over the movie?
No, but I will always think about it when I watch certain scenes.

Julianne Moore’s character meets with the escort Chloe at a bar in Yorkville. What kind of research did you do to ensure those scenes were authentic?
Ha! No comment. I had to make sure that, in the age of the Internet, call girls still lurk in hotels, but I couldn’t do that in Toronto because people recognize me.

Unless you want to see “Atom Egoyan caught soliciting a prostitute in Yorkville” in The Star.

Chloe opens on Friday, March 26.

This article appears in the April 2010 issue of Toronto Life.