More ‘Damsels’ interviews

A few more interviews with Whit Stillman and the Damsels in Distress cast have appeared. In no particular order:

Greta Gerwig is interviewed by Fred Topel at Crave Online:

Did this way of speaking change everything else, down to your posture and the way you walk?

Yes, it did. I thought Violet was a very contained character. I felt that she wouldn’t be sloppy or excessive in her body movements. I had this way of running in the movie, with very small steps and my arms by my sides. I had a thing with her that she, when she’d speak she’d turn to the person she was talking to full on facing them and addressing them directly. Just the way she was, the way he wrote the dialogue, informed the physicality of the character.

Gerwig is also interviewed by Keith Phipps at the A.V. Club

AVC: How do you find the humanity of your character in a world that’s on the cartoonish side?

GG: I think the big thing is, for Whit, this is naturalism. Everything Violet says and thinks about is something he’s thinking about and he thinks is right. The ideas she espouses about good dressing and learning clichés and using tap-dancing and perfume to fight depression, those are all things he really believes in. That’s not fake for him. So for him, it’s totally legitimate points to be making. I mean, he knows it’s funny, but it’s completely sincere. I think the boy characters are the most broad and farcical elements. And I think that’s because Whit has some disdain for frat boys. He’s not crazy about them, so he makes fun of them.

Phipps has also interviewed Stillman himself:

[Stillman:] The inception of the project was actually a tiny assignment I had back in 2000, when suddenly they said, “You can’t do this project we wanted you to write. Write this, write something else.” And I said, “Well, what about this idea?” And they said, “Oh, good idea, but you only have six weeks to write it.” It’s one of these things where they only got paid if they turned it in in six weeks. I don’t know what it was.

But I tried this thing, and I can’t possibly write a script in six weeks, and from that, I think I only took the idea of the four girls with floral names trying to improve things with good sense, etc. And also the Roman letter fraternity system. So even that first stab was more in the world of comedy, and less in the world of naturalism. And then, over the years, I think my love for frat comedy grew. I like the film Old School very much, I like Will Ferrell in Elf, I like Will Ferrell’s sense of humor very much. I think the DU world, the fraternity world, is more that sort of territory. The director of the Dublin Film Festival, where Greta won the acting award, said it was Jane Austen meets Animal House.

I Am Rogue claims to have an “exclusive interview with director Whit Stillman, Greta Gerwig, Adam Brody, Analeigh Tipton, Magalyn Echikunwoke, Carrie MacLemire, and Hugo Becker” but the video isn’t available when I try. Maybe it only works in the US? Grrrrrr.

However, HitFix has a video that works for me, an interview with the four main actresses:

The male actors are also interviewed, this time in text, at Buzzine, although it’s a bit showbiz (“What’s the nicest or most exciting thing you’ve done to impress someone?”) rather than probing the inner workings of Stillman’s movies.

Stillman himself is interviewed on video at (and also handily lists a timed-index of topics covered during the ten minutes): also have an interview with Analeigh Tipton and Hugo Becker:

Finally, for now, the Daily Beast has a fairly long discussion between the four female leads:

Echikunwoke: When I got to the end of the script [the big dance finale] I was like, “I have to be in this!” It was just the most exciting script I’d read in a long time. Just the way he incorporates the dancing is so whimsical, it’s like dreamy.

Tipton: How often do you find that? You don’t ever. To be in these big ridiculous dresses.

Gerwig: One of my favorite scenes [is when] we’re doing a walk and talk in those dresses with no explanation. I just remembered something … It really was like we were all really supportive. I remember the first week I was having a doubty moment like, “I don’t know, does it seem like I’m bad?” and [Megalyn] said “Now I can’t imagine another person doing it.” It made me feel like I owned it. I think we all kind of helped each other, had each other’s backs.

UPDATE: And just one more for today… Mark Olsen at the LA Times has a brief interview with Stillman, Tipton and Gerwig:

“When I first read it I had the ideas of the characters that Whit writes in my head,” Gerwig said. “I kept trying to place the words into a more conventional world. And I realized that was wrong-headed. He’s doing something totally different. It’s not in the same world as Last Days of Disco or Metropolitan or Barcelona. It’s in this heightened, fever-dream ecstatic, comic, almost mental breakdown world.”

3 thoughts on “More ‘Damsels’ interviews

  1. I hope Greta Gerwig realizes that describing her participation in this film as “a bit like being in Wings or something” doesn’t exactly make me want to rush out and go see it! (I’m referring to the Av club interview).

  2. I will not be rushing out to see Damsels. I was a huge fan of Metropolitan and recently met Whit Stillman. The man is so stiff and so cold. He was awful. Greta G. is also a snob.

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