So I wrote that script, I went to Spain, and for a week I tried to find Javier Bardem. At the time, it wasn’t an easy job, because in Spain nobody was organized in production, I had nobody’s number, there were no agents, no books, no websites. Every company was in their own little corner doing their own little films. There was absolutely no connection between people in the industry, no websites, no industry book, nothing. I think they were still working the old fashioned way where everybody has people’s personal phone number, and they just call the actors directly when they need them. So I stayed in Spain for a week trying to find Javier Bardem. I was walking into video stores, checking out the DVD’s of the movies he was in, writing down the producers and distributors names from the sleeves. Then I was going out in a public phone booth, flipping through the Yellow Pages trying to find their addresses and numbers. I didn’t speak Spanish at all at the time, and no one in Spain spoke English, it was a real nightmare. So I was going directly to their offices, knocking at their doors, asking them how I could find Javier. I was looking for Javier the whole week. Then on the last day, I was depressed, no Javier, having a last drink with the friends I was staying at in a park in the centre of Madrid, and someone was bumping into me, we were literally back to back for over an hour, when my friend said “it’s Javier Bardem just behind you!” Of course I didn’t believe them, but the expression on their face was so genuine with surprise that I turned my head around, persuaded it was a joke. It was Jarvier Bardem, right there, behind me, turning at me at the same time. The first thing that naturally came out of my mouth was “There you are! I’ve been looking for you all week!”
GSFM Amazing. What did he say?
LEWIS He said, “really”, I said, “yeah”, then we started talking, and we hung out for the rest of the night, and he gave me his number. It was very funny because he was laughing at the story.
GSFM Why didn’t it work out?
LEWIS When you work with people like that, it’s very hard to put a schedule together because they’re very busy. So we tried for two years, but it didn’t work out, mostly because Bardem was getting very famous at the time, lots of meetings in Hollywood, meeting with Steven Spielberg a lot, trying out for a couple movies like Minority Report, and Munich, which he turned down. He was just looking for the right American movies to start his career in America. So at the time, I was trying to make my short film with the dog, and at some point after two years, it was too complicated, so I dropped the project because I couldn’t imagine doing it with anybody else at the time.
GSFM But after 10 years you finally managed to make the film and very successfully. Was it luck again?
LEWIS Luckily I was the DP on a feature film in Spain, just by chance I had some friends who put me in touch with companies, and I started working in Spain a lot for a year. I met with these guys, I DP’d a feature there, and at some point we were having coffee with a producer, and he heard about that Bardem story because a lot of people around me knew that story as it was part of my life, and part of a lot of other people’s lives at the time, and it was making me crazy all the time. My sister even wanted to go to LA and punch Steven Spielberg in the face at some point because he was screwing with my schedule.