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Aylin Tezel & Chris Fulton on Falling into Place: Interview

Aylin Tezel and Chris Fulton talk in the street in the film Falling Into Place, from the Loud and Clear Reviews interview

We interview Aylin Tezel, writer, director and star of the film Falling Into Place along with co-star Chris Fulton.

Aylin Tezel achieves great things as writer, director and lead in modest romance Falling Into Place, a film that finds two artists falling for each other at the wrong time in their lives. Ian (Chris Fulton) has a girlfriend he’s wanting to break up with, while Kira (Tezel) is in a spiral following a recent breakup with Aidan (Rory Fleck Byrne). 

The two connect one drunk evening in Skye and spend the next 24 hours together before their blistering connection is rudely broken by having to return to their own little worlds. The worlds that they return to are in London, as the two flit around each other, avoiding each other, but they find that the lasting impression they made on each other sets them on a path to reunion. One that can only occur after the two have found the necessary closure for their love to exist and thrive.

The film was a co-production from both German and Scottish creative councils, which meant that Falling Into Place had to have premiered in Germany before Scotland. Three months after that premiere, the German actress/director Tezel brings Falling Into Place to Glasgow Film Festival, alongside Scottish actor Chris Fulton, for its UK Premiere. We interview the talented director and star here.


When did you start the filming process for this?

Aylin Tezel: We started filming around the end of March. We really had

a bit of a problem with starting to film from the end of March until mid of May because the story starts in November and goes through Christmas, New Year’s and then jumps into the summer at the very end. We were chasing the snow and chasing the winter.

Was the snow planned?

A.T: No, it was random.

Chris Fulton: Oh yeah super random. We got caught in it. 

A.T: It was a gift from the film gods, really, because I had originally written the scene in lashing rain. There was talk with the producers about, you know, getting rain machines into the sky, or maybe getting fire trucks, or something like that. But then, pretty quickly, the chats came to the result that we wouldn’t be able to afford any of that. So I let go of the idea that I would have a powerful moment of nature in the scene but then we did get it. The scene when Ian comes out of the house and they have to rush to an emergency but the car is not starting: we were in the middle of filming it, and then suddenly it started snowing. My first idea was, “oh my God, what should we do? This is a huge problem”. And then we were like, no, this is amazing. This is great. Let’s bring everything back to one and let’s just start going again.

So I have to ask if the skid [Fulton accidentally skids in the snow but stays upright] was an accident?

C.F: [laughs] oh my god, no way.

Have you waited an entire press tour to be asked about that?

C.F: Yes, you’re the first person to mention it. I was getting stick from Aylin and our producer Yvonne [Wellie] about it because they were kind of scared at first that I’d gotten hurt or couldn’t use the take. And I was saying that it shows you that IanIan has been living there all his life. He knows that gate and how to go about in the snow. But you guys were giving me a bit of a hard time about that so I’m so thankful that it was kept.

A.T: Well, my editor loved it, so it had to stay.

You just sort of styled it out, so good. 

C.F.: Oh it felt really really good.

Chris Fulton walks on a snowy street in the Aylin Tezel film Falling Into Place, from Loud and Clear Reviews' interview
Chris Fulton in the show in the film Falling Into Place (Glasgow Film Festival)


Aylin – writer, director and actor. That is a lot of pressure. 

Aylin Tezel: I did not sleep very much in those months, I can tell you that much. Yeah, I did not have very much time left to myself. It was a huge challenge. On an artistic level, it was actually a big gift, because the vision and the embodiment of the film all kind of came together, so that was very nice. But it was just so much work and I didn’t have any breaks, you know? Usually, when you’re in an emotional scene as an actor, afterwards, you get a hug from the director. Someone says to you that we’re done. And then someone else says, “Do you want a coffee? Do you need a break?”. You know, you have all these lovely people around you. In this case, I was the person who said cut, and I was the person that had to be the director who, one second after breaking into tears, would have to say, “what happens next?” So yeah, that was a big adventure for me for sure. 

Chris Fulton: Yeah, your stamina was pretty amazing.

You’re on camera as well. So you have to have a lot of faith in the crew that you’ve chosen.

A.T: I really believe that one of the most important choices that a director can make for a film is choosing the costume, choosing the team, choosing the people who come on board for a film. At the end of the day, even when I was  being the artistic leader for this, each person who was putting their love, work, time, and passion into this project is what shaped this film. And it is a result of films being a collaboration, I believe that very strongly. So I really chose my people carefully and I’m so thankful that all the choices turned out to be exactly right for this film. When I watch the film now, I just feel so grateful for each person who came onto the project. 


What was the casting process like for you, Chris?

Chris Fulton: I got sent the script. I think, a couple of months before we started shooting. Then I met Eileen maybe a couple of weeks later. Yeah, it was just like a standard audition: we went through a couple of scenes – you probably threw a couple of extra ones at me – and I think we probably improvised a little bit. We met up again, a week later and then we started shooting quite soon, so we kind of had to hit the ground running. It was a bit of a whirlwind. You’re in the audition room and then, before you know it, you’re on set, then you’re getting blown away by the snow.

Chris, I’m gonna fluff your ego a bit, but Aylin, what made Chris the right person?

Aylin Tezel: Besides the fact that he was a very good actor? We had an amazing casting director, Des Hamilton, on board, who cast films like JoJo Rabbit  and Only God Forgives. Big, big films, and all the actors that he brought me into the room were excellent. I think Ian is quite a complex character, because at the beginning, you might think he’s this flirtatious, charming, very fiery person who constantly performs for other people. But then there’s a whole other side to him, where he shows a lot of vulnerability and he has dark sides that he’s fighting with. So first of all, that was something that I was interested in: someone who is bringing the two extremes from both sides. Someone who’s very light and very funny and very charming but then also, someone you know is dealing with his own dark demons.

That was something that Chris portrayed so beautifully in the audition that I was really touched by, and just by being in the presence of his talent there. The second thing that was obviously super important was the chemistry between the two of us, because we’re telling a love story, and because of the fact that I wanted to work with improvisation wherever I could. I  needed to check how the energy between us was. Do we have the same language? Do we have playfulness together? Because that’s really important. The first moment of connection between Ian and Kira is based on this playfulness and this potential to just be very silly together.

That’s what I liked so much about the opening, because neither of them have that playful option in their lives. So it’s a kind of reprieve and why they stay together for 24 hours.

C.F: Yeah, that’s a really great observation. Especially the time that they meet, that moment in their lives is pretty melancholy. And we go on to see a kind of family dynamic where he doesn’t feel like it is a home. That kind of meeting is just really nice, like you said: it kind of just pulls them both out of those places.

So on the casting of Rory Byrne – you talk in the film about gravitating towards the same or similar people. How did you go about getting someone similar to Chris?

A.T: What Kira said was always in the script – when she says to Ian, “you remind me of my ex boyfriend”. But really, what I meant was more on the level of character or personality, you know, the same kind of confidence and humour. And I never thought that they would also have to look alike at all. That was an absolute coincidence when we were casting, because we had cast Chris first, in the role of Ian. And then, when we had our two main characters, we started building the worlds around them. Rory was just the person that was absolutely right for the character of Aiden. So it was a big coincidence that these two men just had some similarities in their looks. That wasn’t planned at all.

Aylin Tezel and Chris Fulton look at each other through a glass in the film Falling Into Place, from Loud and Clear Reviews' interview
Aylin Tezel and Chris Fulton in the film Falling Into Place (Glasgow Film Festival)


There is a big kind of disconnect in the film in regards to how you made this thing in Scotland, to the characters living in London and yourself who comes from Germany. You talk about parents and you talk about that disconnect with them in the film. Can you expand on that a bit more?

Aylin Tezel: What I found really interesting was the question of: what does London stand for? For those two artists, and for me, it was really that there are two people who have left their homes because their homes do not feel like homes, that they are maybe searching for a place in the world where they can feel at home. A place where they can receive the love that they do not find in themselves. So for both of them, London stands for this dreamy place of hope, that I will be okay here. That was super interesting, because I think that’s also the reality that we, as filmmakers living in London, or spending a lot of time in London, recognise that it is this city of dreams for a lot of people. People come from all over the world to try their luck there. Even if Brexit is kind of disturbing the dreaminess of the place now. 

Chris Fulton: Also, I think it’s a place where you can get lost. When I see the film and we’re up in Skye, I see how the landscape feels so vast yet the confines of that house feel very claustrophobic. He has got this father who is ill, doesn’t have a great relationship with mom and just the kind of looming presence of his sister. And then also talking about not having a home but he goes back to London, which is a place where you can kind of get away from all that. There’s the draw of those vices; drugs or partying or women and yet he still doesn’t feel like he has a place to call home even when he’s living with his current girlfriend. But yeah, to me, it felt like London was where he could go and run away really. And maybe for Kira, I mean, I don’t want to speak for you, obviously, but you’re not really sure where she sort of comes from. You’re kind of in Skye and you kind of know why and then you’re back in London, but you obviously have a slightly more unique name. But where she sort of comes from has a little bit more of a question mark over that.

I like that there is very little light entering Ian’s parents house in Skye while the sister’s home has a lot through it.

C.F: We filmed what it was really like up there. It was cold and so sparse and had this kind of very odd energy about it. You could really feel the environment that we were setting up. We had a crew that were all rammed into this tiny space so a very strange energy in there. I think you do kind of feel that energy in the film.
A.T: What I kind of like is that a lot of the locations mirror the inner places of the characters. Skye does it in its very own melancholic way because melancholy hangs in the air there with the fog and the vast landscapes. And then we come to London, which, you know, can be quite overwhelming. And London is quite a loud place and a constant place of distraction for everyone. What I liked was that, in all the different locations, I could kind of find some of the turbulence that the characters were going through.


Who were the artists involved with the paintings because those are amazing. Do you still have them?

Aylin Tezel: Yes, they do exist. The artist that painted them was Coll Hamilton. He’s a Glasgow based artist. Finding him was just amazing. My production designer, Andy Drummond, introduced me to twenty Scottish artists, and then we did an audition round where my three favourites did portraits of myself. I was already set to star as Kira and we wanted to check resemblance, but also their style. And Coll just stood out to me.

Chris Fulton: You were just wanting a massive portrait of yourself!

A.T: No, I never got to keep that one. I guess the challenge for Coll was that he had to create those portraits parallel to filming because first of all, we cast the people that he needed to portray quite late. Like, there was obviously Ian, but then also there was like Rory Fleck’s Aidan that he needed to portray. And then the portrait of the dad by the window was something that he could only start painting the moment after we had shot that scene because I wanted it to be exactly the thing that Kira sees. He was under a lot of pressure but I think he did an amazing job. He was so sweet and loving throughout the whole process. I’m very excited that his paintings are in the film.

Aylin Tezel and Chris Fulton in the film Falling Into Place
Aylin Tezel and Chris Fulton in the film Falling Into Place (Glasgow Film Festival)


For me, there was a Before Sunrise element to the film. That film has Jesse being American and Celine being French and that cultural divide. Was that an inspiration? What other inspirations do you have for the film?

Aylin Tezel: It’s a really interesting question, right? It’s super hard to say where inspirations come from, because I feel like life is just inspirational constantly. I think a lot of inspiration comes out of what you explore as a human being in this world. For me, it comes from music, from nature, from the things I see, and from the conversations I have with people. So at the end of the day, it’s super hard for me to say, like, where did everything that is in the film all come from? I think it’s probably a combination out of all of that, but if you want to talk about films for a second… I can say that in the prep time, my DOP Julian Krubasik and I had a handful of films that were our go to films when we talked about certain topics.

So, for example, what we loved was the way that Andrea Arnold portrayed nature in her version of Wuthering Heights. She had this wild thing about nature that we got when shooting in Skye. And then, what I loved was the way that in Blue Valentine, the creators of the film dealt with being very realistic and at the same time being very poetic. That combination was really inspirational to me. I also loved Like Crazy, which is a film you need to watch. It’s very, very good. It’s with Anton Yelchin, the beautiful actor who tragically died so very young. Felicity Jones is playing the woman. And in that film, they work with a lot of improvisation too. So yeah, I mean, I could name so many more films where we loved different things. We took different things from different films that helped us find a common language basically, as to create a common vision.

This interview was edited for length and clarity.

Falling into Place was screened at the 2024 Glasgow Film FestivalRead our Glasgow Film Festival reviews and our review of Falling into Place.

Falling into Place Review: Sweet, Modest Romance – Loud and Clear
Aylin Tezel writes, directs and stars in Falling Into Place, a sweet if modest romance about the closure required before love can thrive.
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