I was a big fan of Cary Fukunaga’s “Sin Nombre” but if you had asked me what I would expect to see from Fukunaga next, I wouldn’t have predicted him to follow his modern story of South American immigrants and gang violence with a romantic period piece like an adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s 1847 novel “Jane Eyre.” So I started our recent interview with the question: how did “Jane Eyre” become his second film? “It wasn’t like: ‘I’m definitely making ‘Jane Eyre’ next,'” Fukunaga replied. “But the script was so good, and the idea of doing a period film was so exciting. And the fact that it was so different from ‘Sin Nombre’ was also, for me, really attractive.”
“Attractive” is a perfect word to describe Fukunaga’s version of “Jane Eyre.” Its stars, Mia Wasikowska as Jane and Michael Fassbender as her employer Mr. Rochester, are as easy on the eyes as the film’s gorgeous cinematography by Adriano Goldman. Much of the film is set at night in the murky halls of Rochester’s estate. Many scenes look like they were lit entirely by candles and fireplaces in the mad tradition of Stanley Kubrick’s “Barry Lyndon.” I couldn’t resist the opportunity to ask Fukunaga about the gorgeous lighting techniques and to discuss where he found the modern relevance in an 150-year-old novel.