Atom Egoyan churns out erotic film noir By Chris Betros Japan Today, Japan Dec 19 2005 Atom Egoyan meets sexpot Aya Sugimoto. TOKYO - Japan has always been good to Canadian director Atom Egoyan, famous for films such as "Exotica," "The Sweet Hereafter," "Felicity's Journey" and "Ararat." Whenever he has been here, enthusiastic fans have turned up to talk shows with him and last year, a retrospective of his films was held in Tokyo. The 45-year-old Egyptian-born Egoyan couldn't come then, but promised to visit Japan to promote his newest film. He did that this month with "Where the Truth Lies," a tale of sleaze and sex about a young female journalist's search for the truth behind the break-up of a successful TV comedy team (Kevin Bacon and Colin Firth). She learns that the cause of the break-up was the discovery of a naked blonde woman's body in the bathtub of their New Jersey hotel room, an incident which was hushed up at the time. The movie is based on a book by Rupert Holmes, and its characters loosely resemble Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin (though the movie less so). "I changed that part of it because I felt it would be distracting to audiences," explained Egoyan. "They would wonder if that really happened. I was nervous about casting for the same reason. But Kevin and Colin were able to bring their own personalities to the role and they fell into their own comedy routine fairly quickly." The story is set in the 1950s and 1970s, when the media-celebrity relationship was vastly different, said Egoyan. "In the 1950s, the media kept a respectful distance from scandals about the Kennedys, Sinatra and the mafia, and so on. Sure, it was all an illusion, but we wanted to believe it. By the 1970s, with the Vietnam War, people wanted to know more and journalists were expected to invest themselves in their stories. In the old days, you could also follow a star's career. But nowadays, if a scandal doesn't stay on our radar screen, it disappears. Celebrities are regurgitated and tossed out quicker. Our attention spans are shorter." Egoyan, whose films almost always examine psycho-sexual behavior in some way, said he is just trying to explore taboo subjects. "That's why I look for female characters that have psychological depth, who can portray both innocence and darkness."