We Need to Talk about Kevin

Background to the Film

We Need to Talk about Kevin is a 2011 British film directed and adapted by Scottish Director Lynne Ramsay from American author Lionel Shriver's harrowing 2003 novel of the same name.

A long process of development and financing began in 2005, and filming eventually commenced in April 2010, with Scottish actress Tilda Swinton starring as Eva, Kevin's mother.

Cinema Trailer




In 2005, BBC Films acquired the rights to adapt the book as a film. Executive producers Paula Jalfon and Christine Langan took it through the development stage, and were joined by executive producer Steven Soderbergh.

Lynne Ramsay, who became available after her involvement in the film adaptation of The Lovely Bones came to an end, signed on to direct, and was working on a script with In the Bedroom writer Robert Festinger by 2006. Lionel Shriver was offered a consultative role in the production process but declined, stating she had "had it up to [her] eyeballs with that book", though she did express concern for how the film would capture Eva's role as the unreliable narrator.

Production had not begun by 2007, though BBC Films renewed the adaptation rights early in the year. In an interview with The Herald in September 2007, Shriver stated that she had not been in contact with Ramsay about the film for over two years. Ramsay's spokesman told the newspaper that a new script draft was being prepared and, at the time the interview was published, had not been submitted to the producers.

Michael Clayton producer Jennifer Fox joined the production team in 2008; the film was expected to begin shooting that year. The script appeared on the 2008 Brit List, a film-industry-compiled list of the best unproduced screenplays in British film. Ramsay's partner Rory Kinnear also contributed to the final shooting script.

Jennifer Fox announced in March 2009 that Tilda Swinton, with whom she worked on Michael Clayton, had signed on to star in the film as Eva. John C. Reilly was cast as Franklin in January 2010. Casting for the role of Kevin was still ongoing as of October 2009. Actor Ezra Miller was confirmed in the role by the time filming commenced.

BBC Films neared the end of the financing stage of pre-production in May 2009. Christine Langan told the London Evening Standard in February 2010 that the long delay in production had been caused by BBC Films having difficulty funding the high budget; Ramsay rewrote the script so the film could be made for a lower cost.

The UK Film Council awarded £18,510 to the production from its development fund in the same month. Financial backing was also provided by Footprint Investments LLP, Caemhan Partnership LLP and Lipsync Productions, and production is in association with Artina Films and Forward Films.

Filming commenced on 19th April 2010 on location in Stamford, Connecticut, and concluded on 28th May 2010. A key filming location was J.M. Wright Technical High School in Stamford. Jonny Greenwood of the band Radiohead composed the film's score.


In October 2009, the Independent Film Company picked up the rights to international sales, and made pre-sales at the American Film Market. In December 2009, the film was acquired for distribution in the UK by Artificial Eye, with a cinema release date of 21 October 2011.

The film premiered In Competition at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, where it was met with praise from film critics.

On 23rd May 2010, Oscilloscope Laboratories announced that they had secured the distribution rights to release the film in North America in the winter of 2011


- Tilda Swinton as Eva
- John C. Reilly as Franklin
- Ezra Miller as Kevin
- Jasper Newell as Kevin (6–8 Years)
- Rocky Duer as Kevin (Toddler)
- Ashley Gerasimovich as Celia



Alternative cinema poster, August 2011