Bouli Lanners: the Belgian filmmaker behind the new Scottish cinematic love story

Now he’s set to put the Outer Hebrides on the international cinema map with a new Scottish cinematic love story.

Filmed three years ago on the Isle of Lewis, where its story is also set, Nobody Has To Know sees Lanners play Phil, a Belgian farmer with amnesia after suffering a stroke, to whom the farmer’s daughter says they were secret lovers. .

Register to our daily newsletter

The newsletter mute the noise

Game of Thrones, Suits and 24 stars Michelle Fairley plays Millie, who helps Phil recover. She insists their rekindled relationship must remain a secret in the tight-knit community of the Hebrides.

A Scottish-French-Belgian co-production, Lanners’ film, which received £500,000 from government agency Screen Scotland.

Lanners wrote, directed and starred in the film, one of three feature films made about Lewis in recent years.

He said: “I had been holidaying in Scotland for over 30 years before making this film. Sometimes I came two or three times a year – I really like the country.

“When I was much younger I was sure I was Scottish. I don’t know where that came from because I came from a poor family and we didn’t really go on holiday. It could have been something. something I had read or a movie.

“The first time I went to Scotland was like a revelation to me. I’ve been everywhere now except St Kilda.

“I went to Lewis on vacation about seven years ago. It was a bit of a shock to me at first because the influence of the church is so strong, but I felt the people were so friendly. .

“I kept telling my wife I wanted to do a film in Scotland and I decided to stay in Lewis to write something. I rented a house and stayed there for seven months.

“At first I thought I was writing a thriller, but when I was there I was listening to the band Soulsavers, especially their track Wise Blood. The mix between the music and the scenery suddenly made me want to do a love story – it was so moving and romantic.

Belgian actor, screenwriter and director Bouli Lanners. Photo: Brian Sweeney

Nobody Needs to Know, which also stars Harry Potter and Indiana Jones star Julian Glover and Glasgow-born film star Cal MacAninch, will make its UK premiere next month at the Glasgow Film Festival .

Organizers billed the film as a “quietly touching and shameless weepie.”

Lanners added: “I actually got the idea for the story after going to church to try to meet the local people.

“After a few weeks, everyone on Lewis seemed to know who I was and that I was writing a movie there.

Michelle Fairley and Bouli Lanners star in new Scottish love story Nobody Has To Know.

“I didn’t want to write about two young, beautiful people. I wanted to write about two normal people in their 50s, because love can happen at any time in life.

“The film is set in modern times, but what’s exceptional about Lewis is that the landscape makes it look like the film could be set in the 19th century. I don’t think you can find that elsewhere. Shooting was an amazing experience.”

Nobody Has To Know was filmed entirely on location on the Isle of Lewis.
Game of Thrones star Michelle Fairley plays Millie in Nobody Has To Know. Photo: Brian Sweeney

About Victoria Rothstein

Check Also

Author Emily Henry discusses ‘book lovers’ and pandemic writing

If Hallmark ever wanted to make a modern, romantic tale of The devil wears Prada, …