Whit Stillman is interviewed by Talia Soghomonian at Collider in an interview that touches on his movies, being honored in France, writing tips, John Ford, the release date for The Cosmopolitans, a deleted scene from Metropolitan (I believe it has never been discussed until now) and his upcoming Jane Austen project Love and Friendship (which he hopes to start filming in September and October).
Stillman states that The Cosmopolitans will be coming out on Amazon in the USA and England at the end of August. Imdb has also changed their release date to “not yet released” instead of June 30th.
It is a great read and one of the most thorough articles on Stillman that I have seen in a while.
“I think it’s the struggle of the screenwriter to find material that resonates with the screenwriter and maybe with the public. And it’s finding the characters who then come alive and tell a story,” he says.
The first film he ever saw was Bambi, the last movie which made him cry was Gold Diggers of 1935, directed by Busby Berkeley, and he regrets he never got the chance to direct Cary Grant in a film. While he considers Jean Cocteau as the ultimate artist, he is also a John Ford fan.
“I don’t have a lot of John Ford in Metropolitan, but in the movie I made next, Barcelona, we watched Ford’s Wagon Music because we wanted to make something like American folklore.”
“There was a scene that didn’t make the final cut where Tom was talking on the phone with his dad and crying. In the cutting room, the editor told me, ‘Let’s cut this and send it to your dad!”
“We began to shoot this series in Paris and it’s interesting for me because, for the first time since Metropolitan, I can work with material I’m familiar with, groups of people, characters, parties, all that. I think for a writer, real-life material helps a lot.”
“So we hope to shoot that in Dublin in September and October with Sienna Miller and Chloe Sevigny and some other really great actors.”
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.
Whit Stillman sits down with Krista Smith of Vanity Fair at the 2011 TIFF and talks about Damsels in Distress. He talks about how he got the idea for Damsels, how the funding came about, music in his film, the writing of the film, and how his experience at the Venice Film Festival was.