The Rick Characters of Whit Stillman’s Universe

All auteurs have a distinct imprint on their films and something that ties all of their work together.  Whit Stillman has many signatures, but one of his trademarks, is not as apparent as it might seem.  The name Rick (or a variation on that name), used for villains (or apparent villain in the case of Dickie Taylor) is one such trademark.  Stillman has discussed this in interviews before, so it is not just a coincidence.  Take a look at the list:



Rick Von Sloneker played by
Rick Von Sloneker played by Will Kempe

Nick Smith on Rick Von Sloneker: “Rick Von Sloneker is tall, rich, good-looking, stupid, dishonest, conceited, a bully, liar, drunk and thief, an egomaniac, and probably psychotic. In short, highly attractive to women.”  (Oddly enough, Will Kempe played Nick Smith, but was smartly recast).



Dickie Taylor Barcelona Whit Stillman
Dickie Taylor played by Thomas Gibson

Ted Boynton on Dickie Taylor: “I haven’t heard from Jack in ages and he’s put this terrible guy from marketing over us. Dickie Taylor. He’s this incredible jerk who…”


The Last Days of Disco:

Rick on the left of the screen played by Neil Butterfield
Rick played by Neil Butterfield

Description of Rick from Whit Stillman’s The Last Days of Disco novelization:

“The guardians of the red velvet rope had noticed this and started giving me a lot of static about it, especially the number-two guy, Rick, who had recently started throwing his weight around a lot, much to Des’ irritation.

The common parlance for nightclub gatekeepers in those days was “door-Nazi.”


Damsels in Distress:

Rick DeWolfe Damsels in Distress by Whit Stillman
Rick DeWolfe played by Zach Woods

Violet Wister on Rick DeWolfe: “Oh. You’ll see. He’s one of those I was talking about — tall, probably considering himself very smart and handsome — and a “journalist” — so you can just imagine the mind-boggling arrogance and conceit.”


The Cosmopolitans:

Frederic THE COSMOPOLITANS Whit Stillman
Frédéric played by Benoit Chauvin

Frédéric, “All I could to was…nothing.”

Chauvin is probably nothing like Frédéric so please give him a follow on twitter


*IMDB has Will Kempe (Rick Von Sloneker) listed for an uncredited cameo in The Last Days of Disco.

The 5 Ricks

Harper’s Bazaar Chloe Sevigny Photos & Article

The photos are too hot for the site, but go to Harper’s Bazaar to check out Sevigny’s pictures by Albert Watson and article by Christine Whitney.  Sevigny is also in a new Netflix show and is putting together a new style book.

As for roles Sevigny has found, she recently did a pilot for an Amazon series called The Cosmopolitans, with Whit Stillman, who directed her in the 1998 flm The Last Days of Disco. “I adore him,”she enthuses about Stillman. “He writes the best dialogue for women. Everyone goes on about Girls dialogue, but his makes it look like a rom-com. ”And this past summer Sevigny was in the Florida Keys shooting an as-yet-untitled series for Netfix with Kyle Chandler and Sissy Spacek. She also continues to lend her je ne sais quoi to fashion, designing a line for Opening Ceremony, and she’s putting together a self-titled book, a style-infused collection of personal photos and ephemera, with a foreword by another friend, Kim Gordon.

Filmmaker Magazine Article “Always Have a Low-Budget Back-Up Plan”: Whit Stillman in Wroclaw

Ashley Clark at Filmmaker Magazine writes about Whit Stillman’s masterclass that he recently gave at the American Film Festival in Poland.  In the article Stillman gives a ton of great advice and it is well worth the read.

I’ve been reading some writers who say that they envy people who aren’t immediately successful as writers, because they do other work and live in other worlds before they become successful. For example, F. Scott Fitzgerald envied the fact that Joseph Conrad had had all that maritime experience — he was made a captain on a ship. Mine was much less glamorous and romantic than Conrad’s but I had a chance to work in several different worlds.

I was desperate for work in the film business, but there was no indie sector when I graduated [from Harvard] in 1973. I eventually got into selling Spanish films, even though it was a very bad business.


At a certain point in writing the Metropolitan script, the actors were creating themselves and saying their own things.

You think that when you’re well-rested and prepared, you’re going to do your best work, but I found that if you’re trying to have silly, crazy stuff in the story at some point, then the opposite is true.

One of the most important things when you’re starting to write your first screenplays is to get a subject that you’re really fascinated with for a long time, and you think other people will be fascinated with — it must have some sexy aspect to it.

Whit Stillman directing The Last Days of Disco

Try to have a plan for how you could shoot it for no money. There’s probably a low-budget version of War and Peace out thereA solution to failure is to try to take control of what can happen. Do it yourself and take responsibility.