HomeHusband-and-wife cast of The Sessions release rom-com Falling for Figaro

Husband-and-wife cast of The Sessions release rom-com Falling for Figaro

WTOP’s Jason Fraley presents Falling for Figaro (Part 1)

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In 2012, writer and director Ben Lewin threw the Oscar-nominated gem “The Sessions” (2012), followed by the baseball Moe Berg movie “The Catcher was a Spy” (2018).

Now, he is reuniting with his producer wife Jodi Levine in IFC’s Falling for Figaro.

“It’s a Whiplash meets Ernst Lubitsch movie,” Levine told WTOP. “I like to think of the movie as a trio: you have comedy, you have love and you have this wonderful sense of competition. Hopefully the audience will be on the edge of their seats wondering who will win.”

The story follows a brilliant fund manager, Millie, who leaves her unfulfilled job and long-term boyfriend to chase her life’s dream of becoming an opera singer in the Scottish Highlands.

“She’s partnered with the singing teacher from Hell and finds herself falling in love with her competition,” Lewin said. “To learn how to sing, you must have a broken heart.”

The film stars Danielle MacDonald, who starred in the indie movie “Patti Cake$” (2017) before Netflix lead roles in “Dumplin” (2018), “Bird Box” (2018) and “Unbelievable” (2019).

“Daniel MacDonald is absolutely fantastic in this role and provides an authentically human portrayal of him,” Levine said. “The camera loves it, it’s natural on the screen.”

Hugh Skinner (“Fleabag”) played her love interest.

“This isn’t your tall, slender, romantic couple, and certainly not Ken and Barbie,” said Levine. “Hugh Skinner is good looking but in a slightly weird way…they’re great together.”

Joanna Lumley plays the singing teacher from Hell, as JK Simmons in “Whiplash” (2014).

“A very apt comparison,” Lewin said. “We interacted with many young singers and singing students and found out that the singing teacher from hell was really the norm. They all had stories about their awful singing teachers and the awful things they did to them.”

“They all talked about leaving lessons in tears on a regular basis and feeling PTSD if they thought of their particular teachers,” Levine said. “Singing teachers are known to be physically brutal. They would hold you around your rib cage, make you hit the piano, and do push-ups while you were trying to sing. They can be very aggressive and aggressive for best results.”

Lewin admits he didn’t know much about opera before the movie.

“I don’t think I’ve ever realized until we delve deeper into how much music there is in it,” Lewin said. “It’s not just confirmation, it’s a big part of the story because you see these two develop into great singers from a rusty beginning. It’s a bit like ‘American Idol’ or ‘British Got Talent’ in some ways in that they’re going to get an award and they have to prove something. what “.

Instead of Simon Cowell, the judges are more like Simon “The Cow”.

“There’s a couple of adorable cows playing the starring roles,” Lewin said.

“They’re called Highland Coos,” Levine said. “Scotland is famous for these very large and woolly cows. … Cows are the judges. They enjoy listening to opera.”

It’s the latest development in his career, which finally took off in “Sessions”.

“That was really a turning point for me because I had a bad few years before that,” Lewin said. “I did the ‘sessions’ to try to regain some self-esteem. I had no idea it would actually be as successful as it was. I just read an article one day on the internet and it was a ‘bush-burning’ moment…it made me what people call a success that lasted 40 a year overnight.”

“The Sessions” has really affected people’s lives,” Levine said. “We were in contact with the woman who runs the only sex surrogacy training program in America, and within weeks of our movie being overwhelmed with calls from people who wanted to be sex surrogates and parents who said, ‘I never knew how to do that.’” special needs “.

WTOP’s Jason Fraley presents Falling for Figaro (Part 2)

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Hear our full talk here.