Nicole Holofcener on 'Please Give'
The writer-director on inspiration, fantasy casting and why she doesn't like the term 'chick flick'
You borrow bits and pieces from the lives of family and friends in your films. Do they hide secrets from you now?
But what do they think about seeing themselves on screen?
‘I think they are often flattered and crushed at the same time, depending on what I’m writing. They know I do this and I have written about some of them in very personal ways. So far no one has been upset, at least not that they’ve told me.’
Apart from the elderly neighbour, is anything else in ‘Please Give’ based on real life?
‘I’m definitely making cracks at my own inability to successfully volunteer. I’ve had some bad experiences. I burst into tears while singing Christmas carols with a mentally ill choir. It was horrible. I should never have gone there in the first place. That was the worst.’
There are always a few queasily recognisable scenes in your films. In ‘Friends with Money’ it was after the dinner party, when the couples drive away, each analysing everyone else’s relationships. It’s close to the mark.
‘I love to write that stuff, and it’s not mean spirited. Even if you love everybody, wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could figure out what they’re saying about you? Or not!’
Catherine Keener has appeared in all your films. What do you like about her?
‘Her vulnerability, her sense of humour. She’s so intelligent and I think she makes me better. And I think her face is so amazing to watch – I never tire of looking at what it does.’
She says that you are always relaxed on set. Is that true?
‘I am relaxed, I just am. Even when I’m anxious people think I look relaxed. I get angry and frustrated, but I never yell, I don’t mistreat anybody. I never forget that in the end it’s just a movie.’
There is a lot of talk about how few women are directing films. Do you think there is as big a problem with the lack of women writers?
‘I’m lucky that I like to write. If I were waiting for material to direct, it would be even worse. Because, yes, female characters are terribly written and infrequently written as leads. It’s still a really sexist business – and racist. So yeah, we’re making strides, but still there’s a long way to go.’
You say female characters are terribly written. Do you mean in the sense of women whose raison d’être is to go out and get themselves a man?
‘I don’t mind a movie about getting a guy, because there have been times when I’ve just wanted to get a guy. It just has to be done truthfully. Hollywood movies can be great. But if you’re going to say this is how women talk to each other, it should be truthful. Even women directors do these over-the-top glossy characters I don’t want to watch.’
In your fantasy film which actresses would you direct?
‘I’d love to work with Kate Winslet and Cate Blanchett. I’m kind of obsessed with this comedian Kristen Wiig. She’s on “Saturday Night Live” and is just hilarious. She’s probably going to be big and famous one day – I hope through me! They’re some of the people I’ve tried to get in my movies in the past.’
Do you get annoyed when your films are called chick flicks?
‘Mildly annoyed. It’s so silly and sexist and limits my audience. It’s annoying, but at the same time, I get to make them, so how much can I complain? I guess if I had no career because I made “chick flicks”, then I’d be mad.’
Read our review of ‘Please Give’
Author: Interview: Cath Clarke
Director Tom Hooper and his cast tell us how they turned the super-musical into movie blockbuster.
The Time Out film team weighs in on the nominees for the 2013 Academy Awards
Get ready for the big guns… Spielberg, Tarantino and Bigelow
Daniel Craig’s 007 comeback, a genius indie romcom and all the mysteries behind ‘The Shining’ unravelled.
The results of our study on the state of films and filmgoing in 2012.
Read 'Time Out film debate 2012 highlights'
'The Hobbit' actor tells us why he wouldn't have a pint with Bilbo Baggins.
Dave Calhoun speaks to the director of 'Skyfall' about the latest film in the Bond franchise.
The genre-hopping director tells us how he invented a new genre with 'Life of Pi'
The twice Palme d'Or-winning director discusses 'Amour'.
Read our interview with Michael Haneke
The Danish director talks about his powerful new drama 'The Hunt'.
Read our interview with Thomas Vinterberg'
Time Out looks back at the impact of the 'Twilight' saga.
Discover what 'Twilight' has done for us
Time Out heads to the Lake District to visit director Ben Wheatley on set.
Read about our visit to the 'Sightseers' set
The director talks about 'Frankenweenie', which he describes as 'the ultimate memory piece'.
Read our interview with Tim burton
Our pick of the best films showing over the festive period.
Read 'The top ten Christmas films of 2012'
Mean Girls? Dirty Dancing? Tell us your favourite film guilty pleasure.
Read 'Film guilty pleasures'
What will Disney do to 'Star Wars'?
Read about the new 'Star Wars' trilogy
Ten young actors come of age on the silver screen.
Read 'When teen stars turn serious'
From Connery to Craig, we revisit all 22 Bond films.
Read '50 years of James Bond'
The director talks Scientology and working with Joaquin Phoenix.
Read the interview
Ten funny horror movies which went spectacularly off the rails.
Read 'Hilarious horror films'
The director talks psychopaths and theatre – 'my least favourite artform'.
Read the interview
We round-up the five best horror movies of Autumn 2012.
Read about this Autumn's best horror movies
Time Out visits Istanbul to see the latest Bond movie being made.
Read 'On the set of Skyfall'
Does Skyfall refresh or rehash the James Bond franchise?
The British director explains why 'Ginger and Rosa' is her most mainstream film yet.
'I’m almost as in demand as Brad Pitt’