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Filmmaker Letter

Filmmaker Letter

Monday

by writer/director Argyris Papadimitropoulos

Every year on my birthday I throw a big party in a house by the sea near Athens. And every time a million stories come up next day. One of them was about two people who met at one of the parties, went to the beach, did what they did and fell asleep, only to wake up and find themselves arrested for indecent exposure. The moment I heard this story, I knew it would be the opening scene of one of my next films.

Years after I decided to write a love story about two Americans who met in Athens, and I knew exactly how this story would start. In my first meeting with Rob Hayes (co-writer) I told him the story, and in the next six hours we had forty pages of a story full of energy, chemistry and two characters that I was dying to cast and direct.

Early in the casting process I had a Skype with Sebastian. I’ve seen him in I, Tonya and other films, and I knew that he was my Mickey. He loved it, and before we knew it we became friends. I visited him in NY, and there we met with Denise who at that time was taking Broadway by storm with her amazing performance in Angels in America. We had a workshop/chemistry reading, and I will never forget how anxious I was when I entered, and how happy and relieved when I left. They both wanted to make it and both wanted to come to Greece weeks before principal photography to get to know each other better and work on the characters. The rest is history: the weeks passed, we started shooting, and everyday was an amazing, emotional experience. The three of us blended with the rest of the actors and the coolest crew on earth, and made what was supposed to be a stressful process feel like a Greek island holiday. And that is the only way this film could have been done.

It was shot in places that I know like the back of my hand.
 The party where my two characters meet is the same party I throw every year. The beautiful island where they spend their first weekend together is the place I spent my last 25 summers, and also the island I shot my previous film (Suntan) on. Mickey lives in Kypseli—Greek for beehive—the bohemian and multicultural neighbourhood of my youth. This is not only a cinematic game or an homage to places I love, it’s a way of making this feel even more personal, and I did my best to make it personal for everyone involved in its making.

Everyone on a set is equally important, but this film wouldn't be made without the enormous support of producer Christos V. Konstantakopoulos who was encouraging me from the first pitch, and was supportive throughout the whole process; without the extremely talented and generous Denise and Sebastian who shed sweat and tears, and improvised the hell out of the script; but also without the hard work of everyone involved, from producers to runners, from my amazing AD to the gaffer, from the cinematographer to the wardrobe assistants, from hard partying “extras” to fearless stunts. Everyone endorsed my vision, understood what I wanted to make, everyone fought hard to make Monday happen, and I’ll be grateful to each one of them every day of the week, forever.

This film is not just a love story, it is a labour of love, and the timing is perfect for it to get released. After a year worth forgetting, now I’m on cloud nine. The film I gave everything to had its premiere cancelled a few times due to the pandemic, and that was devastating. But maybe everything happens for a good reason: the film is even more relevant and useful now, as all relationships got challenged during the lockdown, and Chloe’s and Mickey’s story is a very realistic take—maybe more than we can handle—on all relationships where there is a difficulty to express what we love and what we don’t; a compromise too far, a secret, a little white lie, a bigger one, a downfall we both saw coming but didn’t dare to articulate. I read a Rochester University study according to which couples who watch love stories together and then talk about them find their way into making things work easier. That is also my sincere wish and hope as far as my love story is concerned.

Posted March 23, 2021

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