Anthony Minghella's first film since 2003's disappointing Cold Mountain is a back-to-basics drama with none of the towering vistas and enormous set-pieces you remember from the early epics like The English Patient or The Talented Mr. Ripley. Breaking and Entering is a simple love story, starring Minghella veterans Jude Law and Juliette Binoche as an upscale, London-based city planner and a Bosnian immigrant seamstress who embark on an unlikely relationship. Robin Wright Penn also stars, as Law's half-American, half-Swedish, always unhappy wife. The Departed's Vera Farmiga also has a small, but memorable role as a Romanian prostitute who doubles as an amateur philosopher. Because of Minghella's natural abilities with a camera, the film has none of the boxed-in feel of some other small character pieces, like Proof, but it's still a noticeable stylistic downshift for the director. Originally scheduled to drop in theaters last October, the film had a rocky ride through the distribution process and eventually landed on a late-January release date.

All the principals, except Jude Law, who is busy filming Kenneth Branagh's Sleuth, were on hand for last week's quick and painless press conference for the film. Instead of facing the firing squad one at a time, the gang of four entered the small ballroom together, took turns batting press questions back and forth for a scant forty minutes, then quickly exited again as a group. It was a pretty low-energy affair, but a few interesting questions snuck through. Here's a sampling:



Anthony Minghella

Cinematical: Talka little bit about how you came to be aware of Vera, and why you wanted to work with her. "I told a story today. It's an absolutely true story. When I was writing, I go away to write, because it's very hard in my life right now to find a space where I can just think and work, and I went away to work in a cottage. I tend to write through the day and the night. I have a very sort of odd rhythm. And at about 4:00 a.m. one morning, I was making a cup of tea before I went back to write again, and I put the TV on and there was an American cop show, and I was just going to drink my tea and then go back, but I found myself getting more and more glued to this show, and when it finished, I went online to find out who Vera Farmiga was, who was in this cop show. That's how filmmakers are. They are all film fans. I remember vividly the first time I saw Robin working as an actress and the first time I saw Juliette, and how it's like the greediness of filmmakers. They go...I need that thing. I need Robin Wright Penn-ness. It's quite parasitical on some level. It's a desire to get people who thrill you as a watcher into the things you're making. And it's great when actors dignify the work you do in such an extraordinary way."