Navigation Bar - Text Links at Bottom of Page


Director's Statement
Over the last couple years, a dialogue that had been raging in my head found its way into the mouths of two characters, a pair of teens in Suburban Connecticut. One of them was Amanda, who'd decided that she didn't feel human emotions, and had been faking them all her life. The other was Lily, who seemed sensitive and well adjusted, but harbored the sort of colossal emotional impulses that could erase any sense of proportion and blot out her regard for those around her. Their knotty friendship became the spine of Thoroughbreds, originally a stage play.

My best writing always comes from fear, and each of these girls embodied one of my darkest suspicions about myself. On some days I'll feel coldly rational to the point of emptiness. On other days, seemingly trivial emotions will swell up to such huge size that I just can't see beyond them. There was a lot that terrified me in each character - both Amanda and Lily - but also a lot that I loved. The play became a kind of philosophical conversation about morality, and about the questions that kept me up at night: if my emotional wiring is indeed a little screwy, does that make me a bad person? Are emotional instincts necessary for separating right and wrong? Or can a detached view of the world actually be an asset in moral decision-making? Wealth and privilege always figured in my angst, and so I imagined these two characters in an environment that might insulate them from empathy, and at an age where they're just starting to build their own value systems.

As I kept working on the story, it kept insisting to me that it wasn't a play, but a movie. The theater is where I learned to tell stories, but it was film that first captured my imagination as a kid running around the house with a camcorder. It's the province of fantasy and of mood, the medium that seared images straight onto the grey matter of my brain and made me too afraid to walk the thirty steps from living room to bedroom alone. Thoroughbreds wanted to be a psychological thriller, one that played out not just in the words exchanged by the two leads but in close-ups of their faces, expressive or impenetrable, and in the shadows and hallways of the house that loomed around them. I was lucky to collaborate with cinematographer Lyle Vincent, whose imagination and technical prowess helped us create a visual world as formal and off-kilter as our characters' psychologies.

I hope we've made a film that both entertains and lingers in the brain. I hope it engages with issues of class and power without preaching. And I know that it's a showcase for a group of incredible actors - among them Olivia Cooke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Paul Sparks, and Anton Yelchin - who took those voices in my head and made them figures of remarkable complexity and power.

Next Production Note Section


Home | Theaters | Video | TV

Your Comments and Suggestions are Always Welcome.

2018 34,  All Rights Reserved.


Find:  HELP!