Has Whit Stillman got anything new to say about Damsels in Distress? Have interviewers got anything new to ask him? There’s only one, quite laborious, way to find out…
We’ll start off with this six minute video of a pin-striped Stillman being interviewed on Bloomberg Television by Tom Keene (who admits he knows nothing about films, but has been well briefed):
Stillman reveals that the movie, including post-production, cost around $1.5 million, which I think is new to us, and that it’s gradually opening up on to more screens and is likely to keep screening over the summer.
At the Montreal Gazette, Jeff Heinrich interviews Stillman, although Heinrich doesn’t seem to think much of the intellect of the potential audience:
There are a lot of big words in his movies that some people might not understand, I tell Stillman. Like what, he asks? I check the notes I made while watching the film: “foreboding,” “incumbent upon,” “immutable,” “incalculable.” As the list goes on, Stillman looks a bit out. “Those aren’t big words to me,” he finally says.
Well, quite. The Gazette also has a page of quotes from Stillman’s movies if you want some light relief.
PJ Media have an audio interview with Stillman by Ed Driscoll. I haven’t listened to the whole ten minutes, but he does say that Criterion are talking to Warners about making Barcelona available for release on DVD or Blu-Ray.
Paul Byrne has a good, and fairly long, interview with Stillman in Ireland for Movies.ie, which is worth a read. They talk about Stillman’s failed attempts to make movies out of a couple of books and Stillman says:
But I’m staying away from books now. Original stories all the way. I’m also thinking about not accept script commissions anymore. Try to write the script myself, don’t sell it.
At the Telegraph in the UK, David Gritten interviews Stillman although by this point I don’t think there’s anything here that we haven’t read before. The same goes for Charles Ealy’s interview at Austin360 and Miles Fielder’s at The List.
At the Miami Herald Rene Rodriguez talks to Stillman and makes a point of saying what a nice chap he is:
Despite the tony airs and sophisticated palette of his pictures, Stillman remains a thoroughly accessible, friendly and chatty fellow, completely devoid of any airs or pretension. “I find arrogance so offensive,” he says. “There’s a filmmaker who made a film last year that I loved. I saw him at one of these luncheons where they’re trying to get people votes for the Oscars. I went up to him and said hi, and he was so rude and full of himself. I was going to vote for his movie after the lunch, and then I thought ‘You know? He’s such a stuck-up guy, and he’s going to get nominated anyway. I just won’t bother.’ And I didn’t.
Caitlin Moore has a fairly good interview at Austinist and Stillman hints at the actors for future projects:
Moore: You’ve used a lot of the same actors in some of your movies. Do you feel like there are any from Damsels that you’ll use again?
Stillman: I love them. Absolutely. A whole bunch from this film. There’s many actors in this film I’d like to work with again. I’m already trying to think of shaping this script that I have where they could work — because, and that’s one of the exciting things — when you’re still working on a script, you can still shape it for performers. And I really like to do that. So Greta and Adam would be the leads and then there are other people that I would like to bring back.
Moore: So that’s a technique that you’ve used a lot?
Stillman: It helped me with Barcelona because I already had the idea for Barcelona before I started working on the script about the two cousins in Barcelona, and then I met Taylor Nichols and Chris Eigeman shooting Metropolitan, and saw how well they got on together and that became the basis of Barcelona.
Stillman also reveals that a couple of imposters on Twitter were removed:
Moore: Do you use Twitter or anything like that?
Stillman: I don’t use Twitter. I’ve had to take down two imposters who weren’t good imposters. If they’d been funny it would have been ok, but they weren’t funny at all. And so I still won’t do Twitter so that I’m not imposted.
Finally, the Economist’s Prospero blog interviews Stillman and, among other things, they discuss the tone of his new film:
Economist: The little love story in Damsels between Violet (Greta Gerwig) and Charlie (Adam Brody) could almost be from one of your earlier films, except for the daffy way Violet talks… Then we meet the bunch of troglodytic frat boys she wants to save from being thrown off the campus…
Stillman: The first two-thirds of this film is in the mode of my other films; the last third is a cartoon. All the people who played those parts—the dumb frat boys—knew exactly how to play them when they came in and read. Ryan Metcalf, who plays Frank, said, “I’m thinking of something that’s rather broad. Do you want to see it?” I said, “Yeah, show me ‘rather broad.’” And he knocked it out of the park. Then Billy Magnessun, who ended up playing Thor, came in, and he was bouncing off the walls.
That’s all the interviews for the moment.