Nocturnal Animals is a 2016 American neo-noir psychological thriller film written, co-produced, and directed by Tom Ford, based on the 1993 novel Tony and Susan by Austin Wright.
The film stars Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Armie Hammer, Laura Linney, Andrea Riseborough, Karl Glusman, and Michael Sheen. Principal photography began on October 5, 2015, in Los Angeles, California. The film was released in the United States on November 18, 2016, by Focus Features, received generally positive reviews from critics and has grossed $30 million worldwide.
- Focus Features paid $20 million for global distribution rights after a heavy bidding battle in Cannes. This is the highest amount ever paid for a film at a festival.
- Although he is known as a fashion designer, Ford chose to leave the costuming in the film strictly to the costume designer. Not a single Tom Ford product appears in the film, as Ford “didn’t want a commercial.”
- Aaron Taylor-Johnson was cast as Ray Marcus after Tom Ford had dined with Aaron and his wife and longtime Ford friend Sam Taylor-Johnson. Aaron did not think he’d be suitable for the part at all, but over the course of dinner Ford saw a glimmer of something that he found intriguing in Aaron’s facial expressions as he recounted a story at the dinner table.
- Based on the book: “Tony and Susan”. The book that Tony writes in the book is called “Nocturnal Animals” (so the writer chose that title).
- Laura Linney plays Amy Adams mother. In real life, she is only 10 years older than her.
- Originally, Tom Ford intended to make two films based on Wright’s novel: one which departed from the source’s original story, and another which stuck to it.
- Laura Linney replaced Kim Basinger.
- Isla Fisher revealed on NBC’s “Today” that the ‘hillbilly’ night shoot in California’s Mojave Desert lasted about 10 days and was such a grueling and emotionally-draining experience that she was thoroughly relieved when the film wrapped.
- Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal have been cast in another project called ‘Ezekiel Moss’ which would have been directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman. However, the project was scrapped after Hoffman’s death in 2014.
- With Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Golden Globe win for this movie, it marked the first time in more than 40 years that a Golden Globe winner in the Best Supporting Actor category hasn’t secured an Oscar nomination (however, Michael Shannon managed to get the nomination). The last time this happened was with Richard Benjamin’s win for The Sunshine Boys (1975).
- Joaquin Phoenix was considered for a role, but eventually dropped out.
- George Clooney originally signed on as a producer, but ultimately backed out.
- Both love female leads in the movie are elder than Jake Gyllenhaal. (Amy Adams-42 and Isla Fisher-41, while Jake is 36).
- Tom Ford was looking forward to making a comedy before this film, but he has revealed it was so inappropriate that it’s possible it will never be made.
Tom Ford edited his film at his London design studio where he would bide his time between his fashion fittings and editing for 4-5 hours daily.
- Art references in the film include; a Jeff Koons ‘balloon dog’ sculpture, a Richard Misrach photograph, a Mark Bradford piece (custom made for the film), an Aaron Curry sculpture and an Alexander Calder ‘mobile’ all in Susan’s home; a John Currin painting in Susan’s gallery office. Much of the work came from the director’s private collection.
- The film cast includes four Oscar nominees: Jake Gyllenhaal, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Laura Linney,
- Tom Ford personally groomed Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s facial hair for his creepy Ray Marcus character.
- This will be Jake Gyllenhaal’s 35th film.
Film debut of Robert Aramayo.
- Jena Malone, who plays a character with last name Ross, played Gretchen Ross in Donnie Darko (2001). Also starring Jake Gyllenhaal.
- Nocturnal Animals is the 2nd film written and directed by fashion designer Tom Ford after A Single Man (2009).
- This is the third film Amy Adams and Michael Shannon have worked in together (following “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”).
- Jena Malone plays Lydia Bennett in Pride and Prejudice (2005) while Ellie Bamber appears in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016) playing the same character.
- Jena Malone and Karl Glusman also appeared in The Neon Demon (2016).
- Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, and Jena Malone all appear in the DC Extended Universe in Man of Steel (2013) and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) with Adams appearing in further films and Malone appearing in the latter film in the “Ultimate Edition” while Aaron Taylor-Johnson appears in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).
- Jake Gyllenhaal and Graham Beckel previously appeared in Brokeback Mountain (2005).