Asghar Farhadi Q&A: ‘The Salesman’ director and writer
“This story had been with me for a number of years,” reveals Asghar Farhadi during our recent video chat (watch above) when asked about the origins of his new film, “The Salesman.” This Amazon Studios release features Shahab Hosseini and Taraneh Alidoosti as a young couple starring in a production of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman.” Their marriage is put to the test after they move into a house that was previously rented by a prostitute. The film made the Academy shortlist for Best Foreign Language Film following a strong showing at last years Cannes Film Festival, where Farhadi won Best Screenplay and Hosseini took Best Actor.
The Iranian director explains that while he had long had the idea for a story about a couple moving into a home previously occupied by a prostitute, “it never felt complete enough for me to make it. There were parts of it that were still cloudy. When I realized that they’re actors in the theater, and brought in ‘Death of a Salesman,’ it completed the whole story.” He chose Miller’s classic tale of an over-the-hill salesman at odd with his family because it, “most resembled my story, both in terms of its theme, and in terms of its characterizations.”
Farhadi reaped a Best Original Screenplay Oscar nomination for his film “A Separation” (2011), which became the first film from Iran to win the award for Best Foreign Language Film. “The Salesman” made the shortlist for consideration at this years Academy Awards, where it contends against “It’s Only the End of the World,” “The King’s Choice,” “Land of Mine,” “A Man Called Ove,” “My Life as a Zucchini,” “Paradise,” “Tanna,” and “Toni Erdmann” for one of five available slots. Its recent Golden Globe bid certainly helps its chances in a highly competitive race.