Also starring Susan Sarandon, the film will be financed by a new $150 million equity film fund announced by AngelWorld Entertainment this week at Cannes. The story follows Nate (Sturgess), a talented shoe designer who is forced to break ties with his footwear industry family when they attempt to cheapen his art for their own financial gain. Sarandon plays the role of Irene, the overbearing mother who hires a team of ladies — including a psychotherapist and muse with the perfect foot — to lure Nate back to work.
Shainberg, a self-proclaimed lover of shoes, told Footwear News he met with several high-end footwear designers while preparing to make this film. In doing so, Shainberg noticed how like his main character they were in various respects. “I wasn’t that far off!” he claimed of the script he co-wrote with Mickey Birnbaum.
Goodman, who was chosen to design the shoes for the film, said she enjoyed seeing the world through the director’s eyes. “Steven is so creative in his thinking and vision. I’ve loved getting into the head of his fantastically complex character. It’s a dream job for any designer.”
So far,the partnership has proven to be a good one.
“Georgina is very verbal and thinks the way I do in terms of storytelling and metaphorical language,” Shainberg said.
According to the pair, even before AngelWorld Entertainment signed on to finance the production, they had already made several sample passes for the collection. “I have been completing designs over the last few months, so it’s very exciting that we have secured the funding,” said Goodman, who is working on a new footwear venture after closing down her eponymous line last year. The designer was also a frequent collaborator of the late Lee Alexander McQueen, including helping to design the now-famous Armadillo shoe.
Shainberg described the shoes as “insane and amazing and beautiful,” while adding that quality is of the utmost importance. “One of the tricky things about this film is we have to realize the shoes on the highest level. It is the most important thing,” he added.
As for whether the high cost of producing in Italy had come as a surprise to the director, Shainberg said it will all be worthwhile.
“[The price of production in Italy] is kind of insane. But if you’re making a gorgeous couture object of any kind with handcrafted beautiful components it’s going to be expensive. So I guess I wasn’t really surprised. The shoes are a crucial character in this film.”
As for the significance of portraying the footwear industry on the big screen, Shainberg said he feels it’s about time. “We’ve had movies about sculptors, painters, writers, filmmakers, all kinds of artists portrayed, but never a great shoe designer. From my point of view, the central character is an artist, and his relationship to money and commerce is something all artists face, but especially in fashion.”