Tom Ford’s New Movie with Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams Sounds Like Film’s Reminder that Summer Is Over

Tom Ford returned to Venice Film Festival with his sophomore directorial credit over the film Nocturnal Animals, whose plot is a return to serious stuff after a summer of “films” like Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.

Nocturnal Animals is not based on bats and badgers, as one might expect from the title. Instead, it’s based on the 1993 novel Tony and Susan by Austin Wright about Susan, a “jaded art gallery owner trapped in a failing marriage,” whose life changes when her estranged ex-husband, Edward, mails her a copy of his debut novel about a “violent attack on a couple and their teenage daughter during a nighttime drive in the wilds of Texas.”


“They’re really all the same story,” elaborated Ford at a packed press conference following the film’s first two screenings. “The inner novel is explaining to the reader – Susan – the pain that this man felt, so the pain we feel in the inner novel is the pain that Edward felt when Susan left him. They’re all twisted together.”


Jake Gyllenhaal, who plays Edward in the film, said that his character’s fragility was a welcome break from his string of macho roles.

“When I was sent the screenplay, I had just played a few characters that were all very physical and all about responding physically and emotionally – being able to protect and having the capability of protecting their people they loved,” he said. “So I couldn’t have gotten this script at a better time. When I had sort of worn that other road out, here comes a guy who doesn’t know how to do that – he only has a bloody, beating heart.

“It was not easy to film those scenes, to just let people take your family away from you. It was a difficult week of shooting, with constant questioning of Tom, who kept saying, ‘No, you’re just gonna stand there and take the hits.’ It was frustrating. But wonderfully frustrating.”


Sausage Party summer is over, kids. Time to get back into thinking. Launch the gallery at the top of the page to see photos of Ford, Gyllenhaal, and Amy Adams at Nocturnal Animals’ Venice Film Festival screening.