Zachary Wigon’s Sanctuary stars Christopher Abbott as the heir to wealthy family (“A rich asshole,” as he put it), and what happens to him as he tries to extricate himself from the clutches of a dominatrix (Margaret Qualley) is the core of this ingenious two-hander.
“I’d say that it’s a film about role-playing,” said Wigon when he came to Deadline’s TIFF Studio, “and the ways in which fantasy and our real lives compete with one another.”
The subject had been fomenting for a while. “For a number of years,” he said, “I’ve been interested in the idea of making a film — a thriller in particular — about a dominatrix, because I think great thrillers tend to have paradoxes at the heart of them. There’s something paradoxical, inherently, about the role of a dominatrix, because a dominatrix has total control over her client, but she also has zero control over her client outside of the realm of the fantasy. So that had been on my mind for some time.”
Things switched up in June 2020, Wigon recalled. “I was on the phone with my friend Micah Bloomberg, who wrote the film, and he suggested that we develop something together, with him writing and for me to direct, and so I pitched him this vague idea about a dominatrix who robs a client — that was the beginning point for me. And then Micah told me that, funnily enough, he had written a play, a one-act play, a number of years earlier, about a dominatrix and her client, set in a hotel room. So, we realized that we both had this interest, this fascination with this space. We started talking about the story, and the story built from there.”
To hear more about Sanctuary, click the link.