Sharper Director Benjamin Caron On His Twisty New Neo-Noir [Exclusive Interview]

Did you finish your work on “Andor” and then go straight into making “Sharper”? What was the timeline there?

I was filming “Andor” from January 2021 to about April. And in December, I’d been meeting Julianne Moore, meeting producers, meeting the studio about “Sharper” with a view to possibly directing it. It wasn’t that straightforward because there was another project which I was meant to be doing. It was a passion project that I’d been developing for a long time, actually with Vanessa Kirby. And I was convinced it was going to happen.

But I’d read “Sharper,” and it was one of those scripts: It was sort of funny, it was character-driven, it was an original movie, it was kind of a thriller about sexual politics and trust and betrayal. I just loved all the twists and all the reversals in there. So I’d read it and loved it and I started meeting everyone. And I said, “Look, I’m not sure I can do this. You want to start in the summer. I’ve got this other film. And I’m doing ‘Andor’ right now and I’m going to struggle to give you lots of my time.” And [producers] Erik [Feig] and Julie [Moore] were like, “Oh, no. We just want you to meet the people from Apple and maybe the people at A24.” … I talked about my passion for the film, and then I went back to directing “Andor.”

I got a call on a weekend, I think it was really early in January. And the producer was like, “Look, Julie wants you to do it. The studio, Apple and A24, want to do it. Basically, the movie is green lit if you say yes. It’s going to happen.” And so it was that moment where my entire life I’d been waiting to — I wasn’t quite sure when that moment would happen. Here is a fully packaged. Here is a film that you like, and you’ve read, that you’ve enjoyed, that you want to make. And then someone’s going, “If you say yes, it’s going to happen.” So of course I just … yes. And the other film I was developing had fallen down a little bit and it looked like it probably wasn’t going to happen, so I just jumped to it. So I’d said yes to that, and then basically went into filming “Andor” in the dark winter months of January. 

That went all the way through until May, and we were casting in the background. So I was starting to meet potential Maxes, and then trying to find Sandra. Because I knew that, for me, was the most important part in “Sharper.” And I liked the idea of finding an unknown. Someone that we could launch. With the help of my casting director, we found Briana. She just popped up and it was like, “Wow, she’s amazing.” Basically, there’s no one else — she has to be the one that plays Sandra.

So we did casting and then in the summer, I moved out with my whole family to New York, and we started shooting in September. So yeah, it was a busy year. It was a mad year.

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