Bonus – Whit Stillman In this bonus episode, Aaron Fullerton talks with writer/director Whit Sillman (Love & Friendship, The Last Days of Disco, Metropolitan) about literary adaptation and directing his own work.
Whit Stillman is interviewed by Asher Pen in issue 14 of Bad Day magazine. You can purchase the magazine here, or check it out online.
They talk about movie theaters, Chris Eigeman, how Taylor Nichols is his “everyman” character, and how the best writing ideas come about shaving or going down the stairs.
AP: Can you talk a bit about your writing process?
WS: Well, you know you have to get the character from here to there one way or another. You’re working along trying to break it down boringly. It doesn’t actually occur to you while you’re trying to write, it happens when you’re walking on the sidewalk. The best writing ideas come about shaving or going down the stairs.
AP: A lot of your protagonists are strange in that they are likable despite being assholes.
WS: Yeah. I think thats really great, but unfortunately the people who act like they are very cool cats turn out to be the people with the most pedestrian taste. They really want to be spoon-fed likable, dis-likable. It’s the same with the studios. AP: You have to present things to them in a really reductive way?
WS: When people want an outline or a treatment or a letter explaining what you’re gonna do…. It’s the worst, worst thing for my process of getting things done. The things you come up with off the top of your head are going to be the lame, boring, boring ideas; they are always the first ideas you have.
AP: Sounds like writing a business plan or something like that.
WS: Yeah, exactly and also it’s a contract. As much as possible, I refuse to do that.
AP: I want to ask about the actor you sometimes work with, Taylor Nichols.