Artist Chris Schweizer drew this cartoon of Whit Stillman and posted it on twitter. Nice work Chris!:
Simon Butler at CurnBlog interviews Whit Stillman on a myriad of subjects, including his process, how directing for TV is different from films, improv, music in his films, etc.
I can’t really say what the ultimate goal is because that’s a secret. And I’m not quite sure myself. I think it’s pretty clear. … I’m sort of surprised that people think that I’m being scathing – that I’m being hypercritical [of my characters]. I’m not disdainful of the characters. I’m pretty close to them.
Some of it is the casting of the actor. Analeigh Tipton [who played Lily] was very compelling and very likeable. I don’t want to be too schematic and obvious and biased. I like when an actor makes the character more rounded than in the script. I think Serena was sort of flattened in Metropolitan; she could’ve been more charming. Maybe that’s why Metropolitan is so popular – it’s a little bit conventional with the villains.
It depends. It’s not what we’re really after, where we’re just trying to get what we’ve written “XX” down because there’s very little time. Occasionally an actor will want to bring something else into it, and if it works it’s great. I had a guy create that kind of stuff in Damsels: Zach Woods. He added a whole level of performance that his comic chops brought to it. I love when an actor has the comicality that can raise what’s written several notches.
It’s totally different in the sense that generally, the director in film is a bit like the captain of the ship, while in TV the writer-producer is definitely the captain of the ship. You are kind of a first mate when you’re doing television. They’re very denigrating with the director role. It also depends entirely whether the director’s integrated into the productions.
And then Mark came in and made that music happen for the film, and then Mark did Barcelona as a solo job. He really did some very clever stuff unobtrusively in Disco. Mark’s my go-to guy for music.
Doug Ray at Buzzfeed has a list of twelve great quotes from Whit Stillman’s Metropolitan.
Wilt (sic) Stillman’s 1990 character study about a group of young, wealthy and well educated Manhattan socialites growing up through the annual debutante season,Metropolitan, is the movie you should be watching right now, but be warned, you will not be able to stop quoting it.
From 1991 comes this article from the archives of Variety:
“Metropolitan” sold everywhere but Holland at Cannes,” recalls Stillman, whose $300,000 film appeared in last year’s Directors Fortnight, the festival-within-the-festival that has traditionally been Cannes’ home for low-budget U.S. productions. One hour before Stillman left for Cannes, “Metropolitan” was picked up by New Line. “We recovered all our production costs from that sale, so Cannes was all gravy,” says the director.
The style from Whit Stillman’s The Last Days of Disco is talked about in this Esquire article by Calum Marsh.
The Madras Blazer
“I remember the cool guys going to work in New York in the ’60s, maybe in August, wearing them”, explained Whit Stillman in an interview with film critic Miriam Bale last year. “I love them. They’re so light and comfortable, and I think they can be so good-looking.” Chris Eigeman, who wears one as Des in this scene, apparently disagreed, claiming on the DVD commentary that he thought it was ugly. Prove him wrong with a colorful offering from Gant.
Here are some Damsels interviews from the archives. They touch on a lot of things that are said in other interviews, but they’re both worth a watch.
The first is a Whit Stillman BFI interview:
Greta Gerwig talks about Damsels in Distress to Krista Smith at Vanity Fair. She discusses being a big Whit Stillman fan and how tap dancing lessons helped her secure her part:
Whit Stillman’s film adaptation of the Jane Austen story Lady Susan is happening. It was speculated that the film wouldn’t be happening because of news of the book and Stillman’s possible new Amazon Studios series. However, Screendaily writer Andreas Wiseman breaks the exclusive story that the Jane Austen film will be made and that it will star Sienna Miller and Chloe Sevigny. Filming is to start this summer, so plan on more updates soon.
EXCLUSIVE: Summer shoot for Whit Stillman adaptation to star Sienna Miller and Chloe Sevigny; director hails “author’s most sparkling comedy”.
Sienna Miller has landed the lead in Whit Stillman’s upcoming Jane Austen adaptation, which UK sales outfit Protagonist has added to its EFM slate.
Chloe Sevigny, best known for roles in Zodiac and Boys Don’t Cry, has also been cast as a close friend of Miller’s character in the period comedy, titled Jane Austen’s Love & Friendship.
Chloe Sevigny Photo by David Dunan for Town and Country
Whit Stillman regular and outstanding actor Taylor Nichols is now on twitter (his handle is @Taylor_Nichols7). So if you’re on twitter, be sure to follow him. Just don’t ask him what you call what’s above the subtext.
Whit Stillman’s The Last Days of Disco is available Down Under on BigPond in Australia.
From their site:
Whit Stillman masterfully directs the final film of his “doomed bourgeois in love” trilogy with witty insight into the desires and delusions of a young upper class. Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny star as friends and roommates who must deal with the changing dynamics of their social group at the end of the disco era. Beckinsale is brilliant as the spiteful, sexy, and sad Charlotte in this film about finding fulfillment in a changing world.
A while back our site posted a link and information obtained from the The Last Days of Disco audio commentary that Stanley Kubrick loved Whit Stillman’s Barcelona. Shortly after the post BFI then added Barcelona to their BFI Stanley Kubrick, cinfephile list (more specifically the Off List). Now here is some more uncovered information through some searching on the internet. It comes from interviews with Thomas Gibson who got the role in Eyes Wide Shut due to the fact that Kubrick had seen him in and loved Barcelona.
In these three articles Gibson talks about how Kubrick loved Whit Stillman’s Barcelona (please see at the very bottom for two of the articles).
Movieline Magazine, February 1999 page 18 article by Joshua Mooney Hype:
“But Kubrick turns out to be a big Whit Stillman fan, and he saw me in Barcelona” (Gibson was a yuppie marketing genius in that film).
UPI Hollywood Reporter, May 30, 2003 Pat Nason’s article Feature: Thomas Gibson, good guy:
”I will talk to people who say they loved ‘Tales of the City’ or ‘Far and Away’ or ‘Love and Human Remains’ or ‘Barcelona,’” he said. “That’s actually how I got ‘Eyes Wide Shut.’ Stanley was a big fan of ‘Barcelona.’”
Orange Coast Magazine, October 2000 page 40 article by Jill Daniel Monkeying Around With Thomas Gibson:
A performance as a snooty American marketing executive in the Whit Stillman movie Barcelona indelibly impressed the late director Stanley Kubrick, who cast Gibson sans-audition for a small role in 1999′s Eyes Wide Shut.
In a meta fashion, Whit Stillman takes the new Buzzfeed: Which Whit Stillman Movie Character Are You? His result was Tom Townsend. We should be glad he didn’t get Victor Lemley, or Polly Perkins…seeing that she was only a composite.