Interview: Kelly Reichardt

0

Comments

Add +

Time Out talks to Kelly Reichardt, American director of 'Wendy and Lucy'

Who’d seen ‘Wendy and Lucy’ before its Cannes premiere last May?
‘A very tight-knit group. Most of them filmmakers like Todd Haynes and Phil Morrison. I get notes from them. Michelle Williams, who plays Wendy, had seen a rough cut without any sound. The good side of making films in such a shoe-string way is that no-one is paying attention at all, so you can get away with a lot. There are no test screenings or anything like that. I basically edit in my apartment for six months. It was a really long process.’

Was the premiere in Cannes an interesting experience for you?
‘It was. It was really different for me. It was a big spectacle. Just getting in to the theatre was an effort. I was shouted off the red carpet by a sea of photographers. Also, I was more afraid of showing this film than the other films I’ve made. When I showed “Old Joy”, even if didn’t connect with anyone, I felt really secure with it because I liked it. But with this film, it’s not that I didn’t like it, but I had just finished cutting it and I had no distance from it at all and I really could not guess how it was going to go over. I wanted Michelle to be happy with it because she’s so exposed. It was a weird experience, like a wedding that you don’t remember attending.

The film was originally called ‘Train Choir’. Why did you decide to change it?
‘It was called “Train Choir” until the day the titles went up. That was the name of the short story that Jon Raymond wrote. For “Old Joy” his story already existed and I made a script out of it, but for this we came up with a storyline together then Jon went off and wrote it. He’s really finding the character’s voice.’

So he wrote the short story for this film?
‘He did. Then I started working on the script, then we started shooting and then he’d do another draft of the script. Working with him definitely makes my films better. He’s a great partner. He gives me notes and comments and if we disagree on something, I get my way for the film and he gets his way for the short story. But, the idea of doing this story is that you get more depth than if you go straight to the script. He writes from a very interior point of view. He doesn’t have to think about how it’s going to look on screen. He can just plunge into someone’s mind. A "train choir" [the rumbling of trains passing In the middle distance] was something I tried to use instead of a score this time, because I didn’t want to romanticise things. A girl and her dog is dangerous territory as far as sentiment goes. We used the trains anywhere where we would have originally used a soundtrack, but having the title as "Train Choir" no longer allowed it to be a subtext. I wanted the film to be very nuts and bolts.'

Is the main aim of your films to tell a story visually?

‘Yeah, those are the films I like, I guess. A big American influence of mine was Monte Hellman, especially films like “Cockfighter”. Just the way he used a real space and – probably due to the small budgets – put the characters in to them and let the camera roll. With ‘Wendy and Lucy’, we couldn’t afford to close off the area. It was great that I caught Michelle at a moment in her career where few people recognised her at all. Will Oldham was more recognised in the streets.’

The town in which the film takes place is totally desolate.
‘Yeah, its representative of a lot of places in America right now. The divide in America between the haves and the have-nots is quite huge. We were thinking a lot about Italian neorealism and how the class themes of those films seemed really relevant at this point in American history. We wrote the film just after Hurricane Katrina, so that was also something on our minds.’

Author: David Jenkins



Users say



Top Stories

Meet the dream team: a preview of ‘Les Misérables’

Meet the dream team: a preview of ‘Les Misérables’

Director Tom Hooper and his cast tell us how they turned the super-musical into movie blockbuster.

Oscar predictions

Oscar predictions

The Time Out film team weighs in on the nominees for the 2013 Academy Awards

January film highlights 2013

January film highlights 2013

Get ready for the big guns… Spielberg, Tarantino and Bigelow

October film highlights

October film highlights

Daniel Craig’s 007 comeback, a genius indie romcom and all the mysteries behind ‘The Shining’ unravelled.

The Time Out film debate 2012 highlights

The Time Out film debate 2012 highlights

The results of our study on the state of films and filmgoing in 2012.

Read 'Time Out film debate 2012 highlights'

Martin Freeman interview

Martin Freeman interview

'The Hobbit' actor tells us why he wouldn't have a pint with Bilbo Baggins.

Sam Mendes interview

Sam Mendes interview

Dave Calhoun speaks to the director of 'Skyfall' about the latest film in the Bond franchise.

Ang Lee interview

Ang Lee interview

The genre-hopping director tells us how he invented a new genre with 'Life of Pi'

Michael Haneke interview

Michael Haneke interview

The twice Palme d'Or-winning director discusses 'Amour'.

Read our interview with Michael Haneke

Thomas Vinterberg interview

Thomas Vinterberg interview

The Danish director talks about his powerful new drama 'The Hunt'.

Read our interview with Thomas Vinterberg'

Ten things the 'Twilight' movies did for us

Ten things the 'Twilight' movies did for us

Time Out looks back at the impact of the 'Twilight' saga.

Discover what 'Twilight' has done for us

On the set of 'Sightseers'

On the set of 'Sightseers'

Time Out heads to the Lake District to visit director Ben Wheatley on set.

Read about our visit to the 'Sightseers' set

Tim Burton interview

Tim Burton interview

The director talks about 'Frankenweenie', which he describes as 'the ultimate memory piece'.

Read our interview with Tim burton

The top ten Christmas films of 2012

The top ten Christmas films of 2012

Our pick of the best films showing over the festive period.

Read 'The top ten Christmas films of 2012'

What's your film guilty pleasure?

What's your film guilty pleasure?

Mean Girls? Dirty Dancing? Tell us your favourite film guilty pleasure.

Read 'Film guilty pleasures'

When teen stars turn serious

When teen stars turn serious

Ten young actors come of age on the silver screen.

Read 'When teen stars turn serious'

50 years of James Bond

50 years of James Bond

From Connery to Craig, we revisit all 22 Bond films.

Read '50 years of James Bond'

Paul Thomas Anderson interview

Paul Thomas Anderson interview

The director talks Scientology and working with Joaquin Phoenix.

Read the interview

Hilarious horror films

Hilarious horror films


Ten funny horror movies which went spectacularly off the rails.

Read 'Hilarious horror films'

Martin McDonagh interview

Martin McDonagh interview

The director talks psychopaths and theatre – 'my least favourite artform'.

Read the interview

Autumn horror films

Autumn horror films

We round-up the five best horror movies of Autumn 2012.

Read about this Autumn's best horror movies

On the set of Skyfall

On the set of Skyfall

Time Out visits Istanbul to see the latest Bond movie being made.

Read 'On the set of Skyfall'

Bond: then and now

Bond: then and now

Does Skyfall refresh or rehash the James Bond franchise?

Sally Potter interview

Sally Potter interview

The British director explains why 'Ginger and Rosa' is her most mainstream film yet.

Daniel Craig interview

Daniel Craig interview

'I’m almost as in demand as Brad Pitt’