Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Olivier Assayas mentions Kristen with TwitchFilm
Funny, preparing for this interview, I revisited André Téchiné's RENDEZ-VOUS, which you wrote, starring baby Juliette Binoche and baby Lambert Wilson, after twenty years. I realized what you are doing in CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA. The layers you create, with Juliette's history and her personal reflections ... it's a really intriguing hall of mirrors you are creating. I am wondering if there was another layer that you put upon the film as a director that I am missing.
If you've seen Rendez-vous, you know how much I am drawing from that film. I used the same theme... I think I used the overall mood of the film too. It's still a completely different animal. But it's also because the world has changed.
In terms of the themes, there are things in common: obviously the theater and the path towards becoming an actress. But the major difference is that I am doing something that André (Téchiné) is not doing in that film, which was using whoever those actors are. I mean, in this movie, one additional layer to the narrative which ends up giving it this kind of hall of mirror feeling which was not planned.
It just kind of happened to me in a certain way, but it derives from the logic that begins with deciding that I am going to use Juliette Binoche. That I'd give her another name and a slightly different character, one inch away from her where she can have fun playing an actress she could have been. She can make fun of herself in certain ways. But still, the audience knows that it is watching Juliette Binoche playing a famous actress who is very much like Juliette Binoche.
But then what comes out of it is that you are also watching Kristen Stewart playing Valentine and Chloë Moretz playing Joan. They are playing whom they could have been or part of someone they know. It gives very specific texture to this film. In movies, it's all about making you forget that you are watching these actors, having them blending into these characters who are believable. Here, part of the fun is experiencing, acknowledging Kristen is Kristen and Juliette is Juliette.
So Juliette was already set for the part. Were Kristen and Chloë your first choices when you were writing the script?
No I wasn't really thinking about anyone in particular when I was writing it. But the minute I sat down with them, especially with Kristen, I knew she was the one. She was on the top of my list and obvious choice anyway. But things don't really happen that way in movie business, especially it being a small weird European film and so on. So it stopped somewhere in the middle of the development stage.
Then Kristen finally got ahold of the screenplay and contacted us and told us she wanted to do it. But someone already had a part and that someone couldn't do it anymore and Kristen came back. So it ended up how it was supposed to be. For me, Kristen was the ideal embodiment of Valentine, perfect. I wanted someone who has both youth and power in front of Juliette. I wanted someone to challenge her. Not someone who would be in awe of Juliette. I wanted someone with guts.
Chloë happened very differently. I didn't have that much of a clear vision for Joan until I realized that what would be interesting was having someone very young to play the part. And that's what Chlöe had brought me. She was 16 when she played the role. She turned 17 while shooting the film. ultimately, it was that age difference that she had with Kristen that made sense of the whole system.
Chloë came to me in the late stage but when I spoke with her it was completely clear. She has one more thing on top of what other young actresses have: her sense of humor. She is very witty. She is very sharp so she gets it really quickly. So that was very important in the comedy side of it also.
I guess Valentine is a reflection or Maria's projection. I can't help thinking that the disappearance of Valentine is because she is the only one who sees the irony in the situation as an assistant to the great actress taking a back seat to the rising star.
You know, basically, she disappears so everyone can have their own take and interpretation on the disappearance. Everyone thinks it's a big thing, but ultimately its a small thing. It would be like, I add one shot of her buying a ticket and getting on the train for something. It's that tiny thing that opens up to a lot of interpretations and make it much more interesting.
I had couple of options, you know. But none of it is as interesting as yours. No, I'm not joking. When you are a writer you don't control everything that's going on. When you are a reviewer you discover everything. [We laugh.]
No, because you are discovering it and all of a sudden things make sense to you in ways it can't make sense to me. Because I was involved in assembling the elements and at some point things happen on their own and your imagination connects with the images and you recreate the film. Any audience recreates his or her own film, so when you have a gap in the narrative it's your whole imagination that is channeled into that gap. It's a way to appropriate the film.
Read more from the in interview at the TwitchFilm.