For anyone who read Nobel Prize winner José Saramago’s book Blindness, there was one image you probably couldn’t get over — and frankly, it’s one that will probably make you hesitant about seeing the movie. That’s right, we’re talking about poop. In the book, it was everywhere, which wasn’t so bad for everyone on the page because they couldn’t see it, but it was pretty gross to imagine. So, naturally, we were wondering how they treated all this excrement, cinematically, when adapting the novel for the screen. So we went straight to Julianne Moore with our query. “It’s all on the screen, actually, everywhere,” she said, laughing, at the Cinema Society screening on Monday night. But Moore balked at discussing the basics, like what it was made of. “I’m not going there,” she stated simply. Mmm, that’s probably easier on the imaginations of all of her fans. But still!
Finally, screenwriter Don McKellar was willing to talk shit. “It’s so funny how many people remember the poop from the book,” McKellar said after the screening, over drinks at the Gramercy Park Hotel. “People that remember the book always say to me, ‘Oh my God, you have all that shit in there. Do you have this shit [in the movie]?” He added, pensively: “You know, people are interested in this shit.”
So how did the filmmakers come up with the right stuff? “I had a funny day in São Paulo, where I saw the art director testing different models of shit,” McKellar recalled. “They had like a big buffet table full of different models of shit with different consistencies.” [Ed: Oh God, a buffet table?] It was crucial, he says. “It went right to the top, to the art director. And it was important, too, because some was smeared on the wall, so it had to work both as a smear, but it also had to hold its shape,” McKellar explained, waving away a waiter bearing a tray of food. “I actually think they did some good research there. Others in the future who need shit should talk to us,” he added.
So, in the end, what material did they settle on? “In the end it was kind of a chocolate blend,” he says. “So it was really no problem at all once you knew it was chocolate.”