Ahead of the US release of Damsels in Distress, Stillman has been doing the rounds of interviews and three have now popped up.
LA Weekly and The Village Voice have the same interview (are they the same entity?) by Karina Longworth. Apparently Stillman has continued to tweak the movie, at least up until a couple of weeks or so ago; there have been “huge changes” since it was screened at the Venice Film Festival:
Stillman seems particularly proud of the cuts made regarding one subplot involving a character’s sexual proclivities in order to secure a PG-13 rating. “There’s less anal sex in this cut. Did you notice that?” he asks. “I like that people could have their eight-year-old child walk in.” He calls it “our Lubitsch moment.”
And, there are hints as to what’s next, which many of you will be please to hear may include Chris Eigeman:
There are a number of films he says he’s excited to make. Dancing Mood will happen, though not next. There’s a “dream project” starring Gerwig, Brody, Chloë Sevigny, and original Stillman muse Chris Eigeman, as well as something he describes as “sort of Oscar Wildean, based on material in the public domain by someone else. … Escapism for the college-graduate set.”
The second interview is by John Lopez at Grantland, although there’s nothing much new in it.
…he’s less interested in themes or influences than in knowing if people laughed at the press screenings, which he hates attending. “I only went to one because I needed to check the sound … I don’t like to introduce a film before the screening, and I don’t really like seeing films at premieres, ’cause they’re kind of fake. I had so many people tell me afterward, ‘when I saw Disco at the premiere I really didn’t like it but later I went out and saw it in the movie theater or on TV and really liked it.’”
The final Stillman interview for the moment is by Malcolm Jones in Newsweek. Stillman talks about the genesis of the film’s idea:
“The idea came from a group of girls I’d heard about who were at Harvard after I was there,” says Stillman, a boyish 60 who looks like he still buys his clothes at some campus men’s shop (boat shoes, wrinkled white cotton shirt under a broken-in houndstooth sportcoat that could use a mend in the right elbow). “I went back and heard about these girls who sought to revolutionize social life in their set. Everyone thought they were cool. It was very, very grungy when I was there, very political, very depressing. These girls dressed up, wore strong French perfumes, had parties. Everyone had a good time.”
And he compares this to his three earlier films:
“I think the films are all a little utopian,” he says. “They’re all social utopias of one kind or another, and I think this is the most utopian of the four.”
We also have a review of Damsels in New York magazine:
Whit Stillman’s comeback comedy Damsels in Distress is wobbly and borderline twee, but it deepens as it goes along and becomes rich.
Finally, New York magazine also has an interview with Analeigh Tipton, with this paragraph about her role:
But of her characters, Tipton most resembles Lily, the one she plays in Damsels. That’s partly because Stillman liked Tipton’s naturalism and kept most of her awkward mannerisms in the film. “She has a cute way of walking where, to punctuate a point, she goes up on her tippy-toes,” he says. Lily was supposed to be the movie’s villain, a transfer student to a third-tier East Coast college who is constantly undercutting Greta Gerwig’s Violet, a delusional optimist who believes that tap dancing can cure depression. But Tipton’s likability was undeniable. “The problem with Analeigh was that she brought such charm to the part I think she confused a lot of people about who the true heroine was,” says Stillman. “Some people feel very frustrated that Lily doesn’t win in the end.”