Friday, October 14, 2016

Kelly Riechardt talks 'Certain Women' and mentions Kristen with The Playlist

First of all, congrats on this film, I do believe it is the best work of your career thus far.

Thank you, that’s very nice to hear.

First things first, how did you get this great cast?

I always wanted to work with these actors. Always wanted to work with Laura Dern. I just loved her in the Mike White HBO series “Enlightened,” I’m a big fan of that series and I kind of wish I could have directed an episode. So it was great that it worked out with Laura . Whereas with Kristen, she was attached for a very long time. She was in my friend’s movie “Still Alice” and it just went from there.

Kristen is a pretty big name for a Kelly Reichardt movie.

At first I was worried she’d be too big of a name for the story I was just trying to tell, but she played “small” beautifully and really let that story be Lily’s [Lily Gladstone].

Then there’s Michelle.

Michelle, well it’s Michelle. I didn’t work with her on my last project [“Night Moves“] so I was very much looking forward to working with and seeing her again. We don’t really hang outside the set, but when you make that many movies with someone it becomes organic and beautiful. I called her and said you want to do this and she said yes right away, but she didn’t really know I wanted to shoot the film imminently. She was getting ready to do the Kenneth Longergan film [“Manchester by the Sea“] at the time, but she somehow found a way to hop on board “Certain Women.”

What was it about the source material that made you decide decide this would be your next project?

I fell in love with Maile Meloy’s voice and the stories she told. They were so visual and beautifully descriptive. I’m very much drawn by stories that have a lot of exteriors and that have characters drawn-out by their environments. I didn’t really know which stories to choose from, they were all great. It was a process of finding a couple that gelled and worked together, there was a lot of trial and error with the intention of trying to find recurring themes and details to the stories that were going to be told. I also wanted to escape my comfort zone and move away from Oregon, I needed a new landscape, which is why Montana was such a great choice.

Had you been to Montana before? It plays an integral, almost painterly part in the film.

I go to Montana a few times a year, but I still had to do a lot of scouting and met a lot of people in the process. I became fascinated by how they live, their jobs, all those dynamics came into play. Then we found the ranch that part of the film would be set in, then Livingston came into the picture. Livingston is actually very rich in film history. It’s where Sam Peckinpah lived, Warren Oates called it home as well, Richard Brattigan, Tom McGuane. So there’s a lot of rich history over there.

How was the original cut?

You know I’m not really sure. It’s not really my style to think that way. It might have been three hours (laughs). I have a very small shooting ratio. I’m sure I cut a lot out, but it’s never an enormous difference because I don’t shoot that much film. I mean, If you cut your own film you do need outside eyes and that does influence you in the end, so I screened the film to people I trusted. Also we had (executive producer) Todd Haynes on-set so that really helped me, but really, when all was said and done, I made the movie that I set out to make.

This film is very much a “road” movie. Where does your fascination for the road and nature come from?

Well I’m from Florida and we were a family that very much went on the road. We’d go camping a lot all over the United States. Some nights we would even park our caravan on the road and sleep. It’s illegal now, but at the time it was not (laughs). Some of these trips lasted a few months. I also did a lot of carpooling when I was younger. Every summer, I’d do that for three months. I had a lot of musician friends that would tour so I’d hop on board and hang out with them. I still travel a lot on the road with my dog.


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