“The idea was to raise questions,” said the debut director in an interview with SciFiNow. “My objective was that the audience would watch the movie and then ask themselves, ‘What do I do to my soul every day? What is the soul?’” In the film, Paul Giamatti plays an alternate version of himself, but as Barthes says, the role wasn’t originally designed with him in mind. “Initially, for a few weeks, I wrote it with Woody Allen in mind, but then I realised this was a bit unrealistic for a first time director. And I thought even if I did get Woody Allen that he might just end up directing the movie,” admitted Barthes. “But at the same time I watched American Splendor and completely fell in love with Paul’s performance, so I wrote it for him then. And it was beginners luck because then I won an award for a screenplay at the Nantucket Film Festival and by some strange coincidence he was there to give an award to Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor for Sideways. I told him I had written it for him… and that was that. A week later he read it and he said yes immediately.”
Cold Souls deals with the idea of being able to extract your essence from your body, but if she had the opportunity, whose soul would Barthes want? “I would love to borrow Henry Kissinger’s soul for a little bit, he must be a very tortured man and have an extremely intricate soul and it would be interesting to wear it for a little bit.”
Cold Souls is out now on DVD.