Author Topic: Phantom Thread - Interviews  (Read 17937 times)

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d

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Re: Phantom Thread - Interviews
« Reply #75 on: January 19, 2018, 05:22:59 PM »
+3
Ok, here's full FT article. Sorry about the formatting but have no time now to clean that up.

Quote
Paul Thomas Anderson: ‘I killed the world’s greatest actor?! Don’t blame me for that!’
The ‘Phantom Thread’ filmmaker talks awards, insecurity and why he’s not to blame for Daniel Day-Lewis quitting movies
Paul Thomas Anderson and I are playing a game. “Well, what’s the part that you’re gonna play?” says the American writer-director, scratching his head and imagining a scenario in which I’m cast in one of his films. One of today’s greatest film-makers, Anderson has been responsible for arguably the best roles ever played by Tom Cruise, Julianne Moore, Joaquin Phoenix, Adam Sandler, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Daniel Day-Lewis. But today, over tea, coffee and a little rack of toast in a quiet corner of a central London restaurant, we’re discussing how he would get a good performance out of me.
“And you live in Los Angeles at that time?” he continues, once I’ve selected his 2014 hippie epic Inherent Vice, and a minor role as one of its colourful array of lovable stoners. “So we don’t have to do anything with your accent? You can just talk like you?”
I nod. “OK, great,” he says, laughing as if reassured that the only stumbling block has now evaporated. “I’ll take care of you. I won’t let you be bad. I will make sure that you’re good.
“But if you think you’re gonna get stoned and get through it,” he adds, waggling a finger at me, “then that’s not gonna work.”
The preternatural ability to make sure that actors are good has been the gift upon which Anderson has built a celebrated career. The reason for our breakfast is a film that features one of his finest characters to date: the balletic, twisted romance Phantom Thread, a gothic fable of love and power that marks the second collaboration between the director and Daniel Day-Lewis, and which is being widely hailed as a masterwork.
Features I’d been braced for a quiet interview. Anderson, who first came to prominence in the 1990s as part of an explosive new wave of indie film-making, is known for being rather more reserved in person than his contemporaries — a private figure in the shadow of the more cartoonish personas of Quentin Tarantino and Spike Lee. But the slim 47-year-old who settles on to the plush velvet banquette opposite — scruffy black T-shirt, pelt of short, tousled grey hair — is not reserved at all. In fact, he achieves such a state of relaxation over the course of our conversation that he peppers it with all manner of expletives and inches his way down his seat incrementally to a position more appropriate for a sun-lounger.
Phantom Thread represents a radical departure from Anderson’s previous body of work. For one thing, it’s about fashion. (“It looks pretty!” he says, when I ask how he landed on this rather improbable subject matter.) But his is a body of work that is full of radical departures. There was the film about gambling (Hard Eight, 1996), the film about porn (Boogie Nights, 1997), the film about life, the universe and everything (Magnolia, 1999), the film where Adam Sandler’s character falls in love (Punch-Drunk Love, 2002), the film about oil and capitalism (There Will Be Blood, 2007), the film that is or isn’t about Scientology, depending on how you look at it (The Master, 2012) and, latterly, the 1970s odyssey Inherent Vice, a three-hour literary adaptation so ambitious that critic Anthony Lane remarked in The New Yorker at the time that “Nobody has ever turned a [Thomas] Pynchon book into a movie before, for the same reason that nobody has managed to cram the New York Philharmonic into a Ford Focus.”
Up until this point, though, they’ve all had a subject in common: America. “Or perhaps the question is,” says Anderson, when I ask why he chose to set this film in the UK as opposed to the country whose dysfunctions he’s been chronicling for 20 years, “What took you so long?” He gestures around the restaurant, whose pristine white tablecloths and delicate clattering of cutlery are neatly evocative of the sniffy environs of Phantom Thread’s atelier, almost as if to suggest that this place is plenty dysfunctional, too. “I’ve always wanted to work here.” He cites an influence in the ghost stories of the early 20th-century Cambridge professor MR James, whose work he describes as “super, super British”.
The Britain of Phantom Thread is cartoonishly drawn, a theatre of manners to rival the works of Julian Fellowes. Reynolds Woodcock, the character Anderson wrote with and for Day-Lewis (and whose provocative surname they conceived as an intentional innuendo), could be the director’s exact opposite. A fashion designer in 1950s London, he is, in Anderson’s words, “selfconsumed, self-possessed”. This is some understatement. Woodcock is a monomaniac who wears a tweed jacket over his pyjamas, polices the way people eat breakfast, and fits in neatly with the director’s previous antiheroes, who include a murderous oil tycoon (There Will Be Blood) and a leather-waistcoated sex guru (Magnolia).
Alamy “I think there should be, like, a red-flag sound effect when he talks that much about his mother on the first date,” says Anderson, laughing about his latest protagonist, who falls in love with Alma, a young waitress played by the newcomer Vicky Krieps, and lures her into his home and his soul like some Bluebeard of Fitzrovia. “It should be like” — he waves his hands to mime an alarm going off — “ding, ding, ding!”
The character of Woodcock fits neatly into an oeuvre that has been fascinated by men behaving badly for years. But it also arrives with impeccable timing in the post-Weinstein era; an accidental allegory on gender politics for an industry finally reckoning with its own. Anderson bristles when I bring up the disgraced producer, clearly tired of the line of enquiry — “Ughh, let’s not do this!” he says, grimacing. Getting nowhere, I ask instead how we should feel about Day-Lewis’s character, a man who treats his lover, Alma, more like a mannequin than a human being.
“I personally think it would be hard to ask an audience to be completely sympathetic to the behaviours that [Woodcock] portrays time and time again,” he says, choosing his words carefully. “I mean, he really kind of comes on strong and is so intractable.”
That’s one way of putting it. Is the relationship analogous to that at the centre of Anderson’s 2012 film The Master, in which a young and impressionable navy veteran played by Joaquin Phoenix is coerced into joining a cult by Philip Seymour Hoffman’s answer to L Ron Hubbard? “There’s a similar relationship there, yeah,” Anderson concedes.
Daniel Day-Lewis in 'There Will Be Blood' (2007) © Alamy But the film’s content has generated less discussion than the real-life developments surrounding it: this summer, Daniel Day-Lewis announced that the role would be his last. “It wasn’t so much like him walking around the room and me sitting at the typewriter, you know,” says the director, when we discuss their writing process. He pauses and changes his mind. “Actually — there was some of that. There was a lot of that!”
At this point, the part looks highly likely to win Day-Lewis his fourth Oscar; Anderson explains the actor’s unique brilliance by quoting one of his sound designers, who remarked upon seeing the opening moments of the film: “Holy shit, look at that guy shave!” Yet embodying Woodcock has apparently taken a toll on Day-Lewis. “All my life, I’ve mouthed off about how I should stop acting,” he said in a November profile in W magazine, “and I don’t know why it was different this time, but the impulse to quit took root in me, and that became a compulsion. It was something I had to do.”
“It’s an ongoing conversation, honestly,” says Anderson, referring to his and Day-Lewis’s discussions on the subject. But he says that he believes the actor will not change his mind. “I want to take it seriously because he’s a friend, and he’s made a very big decision with his life.”
Does he ever worry that he’s personally responsible for bringing about the end of Daniel DayLewis’s career? “I killed the world’s greatest actor?!” he exclaims, laughing and waving a piece of toast at me. “Don’t f***ing blame me for that!”
Anderson’s childlike animation at first seems at odds with the gravitas of his film-making. But it’s a dichotomy that has characterised his work from the start. Born in Studio City, California, in 1970, the seventh of nine children, he first acquired a camera at the age of eight. “I would film everything,” he says, miming his childhood self hoisting an enormous piece of equipment on to one shoulder. “I would film my brother, mostly. I think your first instinct is, like, ‘Let’s film something blowing up.’ You know, ‘Let’s film something with blood in it.’”
'Boogie Nights' (1997) with Burt Reynolds and Mark Wahlberg © Alamy His career began in earnest with a short film called The Dirk Diggler Story, a This is Spinal Tap-style mockumentary that Anderson made when he was 18 and which skewered both masculinity and the porn industry. It was later developed into his breakout hit Boogie Nights, an audacious account of the cocaine-fuelled commoditisation of sex in the 1970s. The film made stars of both Anderson and his leading man, Mark “Marky Mark” Wahlberg, amid no small mention of its central character’s absurdly disproportionate anatomy. Janet Maslin wrote in The New York Times in 1997 that the then 27-year-old director’s “display of talent is as big and exuberant as skywriting”; Roger Ebert remarked that “Anderson is in love with his camera, and a bit of a show-off”.
“I probably didn’t even know how to stop and feel an insecurity when Boogie Nights came out,” recalls Anderson, “it was all just like vinegar and attack.”
But this was the spirit of the age. The 1990s represented a revelatory break for cinema, which had been mired in a decade of creative stagnation, as a wave of daring young (mostly male) filmmakers who’d grown up on Steven Spielberg and George Lucas concertinaed influences from European art cinema and pop culture to create genre-breaking hits like Pulp Fiction (1994) and Fargo (1996).
“I can remember seeing Jaws at four or five,” says Anderson, recalling that his father, who worked as a voiceover artist at ABC, had brought home a rudimentary video player.
And you loved it?
“Absolutely,” he says. “We were able to have movies at home, I think, before anybody else, and I had, in a butchered format, Jaws, Star Wars and Rocky, and Close Encounters. And I can remember watching them over and over and over and over again.” Is there anything of those films in his own work? “I would love to think so,” he sighs.
The landscape of cinema today could hardly be more different from the period in which Anderson started his career. Truly independent films are now struggling to find funding and audiences, while many argue that the popular market is saturated with superheroes. Has creativity suffered as a result? Anderson tells a story about reading film listings in a historical paper — a hobby of his. “I’m looking at an old newspaper from the 1950s,” he says, “which everyone sort of looks back at and says, ‘God, that was a glorious time’ — and I’m like, look, I just looked at the newspaper and there’s maybe three movies that I’ve heard of which are fantastic, that are still classics. But there’s 50 movies out that I’ve never heard of — [and] each one looks like a bigger piece of shit than the last one!
“If you start getting into some pile of romanticising,” he continues, “like, ‘The 1990s, that’s when it all happened and it hasn’t happened since then’ . . . it kind of ends up minimising anything that might be going on today, and you can’t . . . ” He trails off. “That’s not f***ing good.”
Alamy This is not to say that he doesn’t have strong feelings about the way we consume movies today. “Well, yes, you know, another word for purist is ‘snob,’” he laughs, when we discuss the sanctity of the big-screen experience. “So — I’m a snob.” Does it bother him that some people will be watching Phantom Thread, which is luxuriously shot and for which Anderson served partly as his own cinematographer, on their phones? “I’m past that ‘what the f***’ moment,” he sighs. “I mean, that happened a while ago. That’s already become . . . it’s not ‘what the f***’ any more.”
But when we discuss the future of the cinema as a venue for collective viewing, and the risk that it may disappear entirely, he looks sceptical. “No. Could it?”
I point out that attendance is falling.
“Hmm, I don’t know about that one,” he says, thinking. “Tell that to Disney.”
At 47, Anderson is still a relatively young man by Hollywood director standards. But with eight major films, at least four of which are widely considered to be masterpieces, he’s amassed a catalogue that would easily suffice for an entire career, if not two. Is he ever concerned with
the idea of legacy? “No,” he says firmly, rejecting the word, “because that would imply that there’s a sort of thinking of what’s come before . . . If you do feel a ticking clock, which is completely natural to do, then that means there’s a bomb that’s gonna go off, so you gotta go forward. That’s my preoccupation: creating something again.”
'Punch-Drunk Love' (2002) with Adam Sandler © Alamy Indeed, he shows no sign of slowing down. “I have a very strong idea of what I will do next,” he says. “I have to corral it into existence, because there’s a lot of material that I’ve written over the years, dating as far back as 1998-99, that’s been many different things, over many different years, that now it would be great to go back to.” Of course, he declines to elaborate.
What he will say is that he might consider making a TV series, an avenue increasingly explored by his contemporaries; Steven Soderbergh and the Coen brothers have shows due to come out this year. “Maybe,” he says slowly, when asked if he’d ever switch to the small screen. “I’d have to come up with a good idea.”
Perhaps more likely, though, is a film starring a woman; all his lead roles so far have been male — though he protests that, in his eyes, Phantom Thread “was Alma’s movie, and she was our protagonist”. “Tilda Swinton’s pretty great,” he says, when we discuss actors he’d like to use. “Any time she turns up on screen you feel a kind of force . . . There’s nothing she couldn’t do.” A few weeks after our interview, it transpires that he also has another actress in mind: the Girls Trip breakout star Tiffany Haddish. At the New York Film Critics’ Circle Awards earlier this month, his speech included a message for the actress: “I know that everyone wants to work with you, but may I please cut in front of the line?”
For now, though, he has other concerns: four children under the age of 13 with his partner, the actor Maya Rudolph. When I ask how he manages to continue making movies with a house full of young kids, he recalls visiting a house in France belonging to the artist Anselm Kiefer. “He has this gigantic home,” he says, “and he built this . . . well, it kind of looks like a large rusty pipe” — he indicates with his hands a pipe as wide as a child is tall, connected to another, smaller house — “and I guess that’s where the children lived, and if they wanted to come see Daddy, they’d have to walk across this rusty pipe.” He bends over with laughter at the thought of this revolutionary approach to child management.
Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon in 'Inherent Vice' (2014) © Alamy Anderson comes across as an artist who has achieved an impressive degree of peace with regard to his work. “It goes back to a [Robert] Altman thing,” he says, referring to the late American director, when we discuss his evolution as both a film-maker and a person, “who was a sort of a mentor of mine, saying, ‘Look — you get a group of people together, build a sandcastle, you have a great time doing it, and then at the end of the day, you all sit back and watch the tide come in and take your sandcastle away.’”
And yet even at the height of a celebrated career, he is troubled by self-doubt. “You’re watching something and you really feel like you got up to the top of the mountain,” he says, referring to the moment when he completes a film, “and you cannot wait to show it to the world. And then those two hours waiting before the screening starts . . . you just wanna take it and throw it in the ocean.”
I later express a degree of scepticism at his frequent displays of humility. Anderson has never made a poorly reviewed film; this summer There Will Be Blood was ranked by The New York Times as the greatest movie of the 21st century so far.
“As Kendrick Lamar says . . . ” he says, drifting off and lounging back into his seat.
I finish the sentence, quoting the rapper’s song from last year: “‘Bitch, be humble.’”
Anderson points a finger at me and grins.
The breakfasters in the restaurant are sloping off to be replaced by the lunchtime crowd, and the director has a long day ahead of him. I ask him a question that’s been playing on my mind since we met. He’s the only film-maker ever to win the directing prizes at all the major European festivals — Cannes, Venice and Berlin — but, despite 19 nominations for his films, he’s never personally won an Oscar. Does he care about Academy Awards?
“That’s like a trick question!” he says, laughing.“You know . . . ” He takes a long pause, thinking, and then answers lightly: “I’m more of a Golden Globe man myself.”

wilberfan

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Re: Phantom Thread - Interviews
« Reply #76 on: January 19, 2018, 05:58:05 PM »
+2
[I cleaned it up for you (us).  Thanks for the post.]

Paul Thomas Anderson: ‘I killed the world’s greatest actor?! Don’t blame me for that!’
The ‘Phantom Thread’ filmmaker talks awards, insecurity and why he’s not to blame for Daniel Day-Lewis quitting movies.

Paul Thomas Anderson and I are playing a game. “Well, what’s the part that you’re gonna play?” says the American writer-director, scratching his head and imagining a scenario in which I’m cast in one of his films. One of today’s greatest film-makers, Anderson has been responsible for arguably the best roles ever played by Tom Cruise, Julianne Moore, Joaquin Phoenix, Adam Sandler, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Daniel Day-Lewis. But today, over tea, coffee and a little rack of toast in a quiet corner of a central London restaurant, we’re discussing how he would get a good performance out of me.

“And you live in Los Angeles at that time?” he continues, once I’ve selected his 2014 hippie epic Inherent Vice, and a minor role as one of its colourful array of lovable stoners. “So we don’t have to do anything with your accent? You can just talk like you?”
I nod. “OK, great,” he says, laughing as if reassured that the only stumbling block has now evaporated. “I’ll take care of you. I won’t let you be bad. I will make sure that you’re good.

“But if you think you’re gonna get stoned and get through it,” he adds, waggling a finger at me, “then that’s not gonna work.”
The preternatural ability to make sure that actors are good has been the gift upon which Anderson has built a celebrated career. The reason for our breakfast is a film that features one of his finest characters to date: the balletic, twisted romance Phantom Thread, a gothic fable of love and power that marks the second collaboration between the director and Daniel Day-Lewis, and which is being widely hailed as a masterwork.

I’d been braced for a quiet interview. Anderson, who first came to prominence in the 1990s as part of an explosive new wave of indie film-making, is known for being rather more reserved in person than his contemporaries — a private figure in the shadow of the more cartoonish personas of Quentin Tarantino and Spike Lee. But the slim 47-year-old who settles on to the plush velvet banquette opposite — scruffy black T-shirt, pelt of short, tousled grey hair — is not reserved at all. In fact, he achieves such a state of relaxation over the course of our conversation that he peppers it with all manner of expletives and inches his way down his seat incrementally to a position more appropriate for a sun-lounger.

Phantom Thread represents a radical departure from Anderson’s previous body of work. For one thing, it’s about fashion. (“It looks pretty!” he says, when I ask how he landed on this rather improbable subject matter.) But his is a body of work that is full of radical departures. There was the film about gambling (Hard Eight, 1996), the film about porn (Boogie Nights, 1997), the film about life, the universe and everything (Magnolia, 1999), the film where Adam Sandler’s character falls in love (Punch-Drunk Love, 2002), the film about oil and capitalism (There Will Be Blood, 2007), the film that is or isn’t about Scientology, depending on how you look at it (The Master, 2012) and, latterly, the 1970s odyssey Inherent Vice, a three-hour literary adaptation so ambitious that critic Anthony Lane remarked in The New Yorker at the time that “Nobody has ever turned a [Thomas] Pynchon book into a movie before, for the same reason that nobody has managed to cram the New York Philharmonic into a Ford Focus.”

Up until this point, though, they’ve all had a subject in common: America. “Or perhaps the question is,” says Anderson, when I ask why he chose to set this film in the UK as opposed to the country whose dysfunctions he’s been chronicling for 20 years, “What took you so long?” He gestures around the restaurant, whose pristine white tablecloths and delicate clattering of cutlery are neatly evocative of the sniffy environs of Phantom Thread’s atelier, almost as if to suggest that this place is plenty dysfunctional, too. “I’ve always wanted to work here.” He cites an influence in the ghost stories of the early 20th-century Cambridge professor MR James, whose work he describes as “super, super British”.

The Britain of Phantom Thread is cartoonishly drawn, a theatre of manners to rival the works of Julian Fellowes. Reynolds Woodcock, the character Anderson wrote with and for Day-Lewis (and whose provocative surname they conceived as an intentional innuendo), could be the director’s exact opposite. A fashion designer in 1950s London, he is, in Anderson’s words, “selfconsumed, self-possessed”. This is some understatement. Woodcock is a monomaniac who wears a tweed jacket over his pyjamas, polices the way people eat breakfast, and fits in neatly with the director’s previous antiheroes, who include a murderous oil tycoon (There Will Be Blood) and a leather-waistcoated sex guru (Magnolia).

“I think there should be, like, a red-flag sound effect when he talks that much about his mother on the first date,” says Anderson, laughing about his latest protagonist, who falls in love with Alma, a young waitress played by the newcomer Vicky Krieps, and lures her into his home and his soul like some Bluebeard of Fitzrovia. “It should be like” — he waves his hands to mime an alarm going off — “ding, ding, ding!”

The character of Woodcock fits neatly into an oeuvre that has been fascinated by men behaving badly for years. But it also arrives with impeccable timing in the post-Weinstein era; an accidental allegory on gender politics for an industry finally reckoning with its own. Anderson bristles when I bring up the disgraced producer, clearly tired of the line of enquiry — “Ughh, let’s not do this!” he says, grimacing. Getting nowhere, I ask instead how we should feel about Day-Lewis’s character, a man who treats his lover, Alma, more like a mannequin than a human being.

“I personally think it would be hard to ask an audience to be completely sympathetic to the behaviours that [Woodcock] portrays time and time again,” he says, choosing his words carefully. “I mean, he really kind of comes on strong and is so intractable.”
That’s one way of putting it. Is the relationship analogous to that at the centre of Anderson’s 2012 film The Master, in which a young and impressionable navy veteran played by Joaquin Phoenix is coerced into joining a cult by Philip Seymour Hoffman’s answer to L Ron Hubbard? “There’s a similar relationship there, yeah,” Anderson concedes.

But the film’s content has generated less discussion than the real-life developments surrounding it: this summer, Daniel Day-Lewis announced that the role would be his last. “It wasn’t so much like him walking around the room and me sitting at the typewriter, you know,” says the director, when we discuss their writing process. He pauses and changes his mind. “Actually — there was some of that. There was a lot of that!”

At this point, the part looks highly likely to win Day-Lewis his fourth Oscar; Anderson explains the actor’s unique brilliance by quoting one of his sound designers, who remarked upon seeing the opening moments of the film: “Holy shit, look at that guy shave!” Yet embodying Woodcock has apparently taken a toll on Day-Lewis. “All my life, I’ve mouthed off about how I should stop acting,” he said in a November profile in W magazine, “and I don’t know why it was different this time, but the impulse to quit took root in me, and that became a compulsion. It was something I had to do.”

“It’s an ongoing conversation, honestly,” says Anderson, referring to his and Day-Lewis’s discussions on the subject. But he says that he believes the actor will not change his mind. “I want to take it seriously because he’s a friend, and he’s made a very big decision with his life.”

Does he ever worry that he’s personally responsible for bringing about the end of Daniel DayLewis’s career? “I killed the world’s greatest actor?!” he exclaims, laughing and waving a piece of toast at me. “Don’t f***ing blame me for that!”

Anderson’s childlike animation at first seems at odds with the gravitas of his film-making. But it’s a dichotomy that has characterised his work from the start. Born in Studio City, California, in 1970, the seventh of nine children, he first acquired a camera at the age of eight. “I would film everything,” he says, miming his childhood self hoisting an enormous piece of equipment on to one shoulder. “I would film my brother, mostly. I think your first instinct is, like, ‘Let’s film something blowing up.’ You know, ‘Let’s film something with blood in it.’”

His career began in earnest with a short film called The Dirk Diggler Story, a This is Spinal Tap-style mockumentary that Anderson made when he was 18 and which skewered both masculinity and the porn industry. It was later developed into his breakout hit Boogie Nights, an audacious account of the cocaine-fuelled commoditisation of sex in the 1970s. The film made stars of both Anderson and his leading man, Mark “Marky Mark” Wahlberg, amid no small mention of its central character’s absurdly disproportionate anatomy. Janet Maslin wrote in The New York Times in 1997 that the then 27-year-old director’s “display of talent is as big and exuberant as skywriting”; Roger Ebert remarked that “Anderson is in love with his camera, and a bit of a show-off”.
“I probably didn’t even know how to stop and feel an insecurity when Boogie Nights came out,” recalls Anderson, “it was all just like vinegar and attack.”

But this was the spirit of the age. The 1990s represented a revelatory break for cinema, which had been mired in a decade of creative stagnation, as a wave of daring young (mostly male) filmmakers who’d grown up on Steven Spielberg and George Lucas concertinaed influences from European art cinema and pop culture to create genre-breaking hits like Pulp Fiction (1994) and Fargo (1996).

“I can remember seeing Jaws at four or five,” says Anderson, recalling that his father, who worked as a voiceover artist at ABC, had brought home a rudimentary video player.

And you loved it?

“Absolutely,” he says. “We were able to have movies at home, I think, before anybody else, and I had, in a butchered format, Jaws, Star Wars and Rocky, and Close Encounters. And I can remember watching them over and over and over and over again.” Is there anything of those films in his own work? “I would love to think so,” he sighs.

The landscape of cinema today could hardly be more different from the period in which Anderson started his career. Truly independent films are now struggling to find funding and audiences, while many argue that the popular market is saturated with superheroes. Has creativity suffered as a result? Anderson tells a story about reading film listings in a historical paper — a hobby of his. “I’m looking at an old newspaper from the 1950s,” he says, “which everyone sort of looks back at and says, ‘God, that was a glorious time’ — and I’m like, look, I just looked at the newspaper and there’s maybe three movies that I’ve heard of which are fantastic, that are still classics. But there’s 50 movies out that I’ve never heard of — [and] each one looks like a bigger piece of shit than the last one!

“If you start getting into some pile of romanticising,” he continues, “like, ‘The 1990s, that’s when it all happened and it hasn’t happened since then’ . . . it kind of ends up minimizing anything that might be going on today, and you can’t . . . ” He trails off. “That’s not f***ing good.”

This is not to say that he doesn’t have strong feelings about the way we consume movies today. “Well, yes, you know, another word for purist is ‘snob,’” he laughs, when we discuss the sanctity of the big-screen experience. “So — I’m a snob.” Does it bother him that some people will be watching Phantom Thread, which is luxuriously shot and for which Anderson served partly as his own cinematographer, on their phones? “I’m past that ‘what the f***’ moment,” he sighs. “I mean, that happened a while ago. That’s already become . . . it’s not ‘what the f***’ any more.”

But when we discuss the future of the cinema as a venue for collective viewing, and the risk that it may disappear entirely, he looks sceptical. “No. Could it?”

I point out that attendance is falling.

“Hmm, I don’t know about that one,” he says, thinking. “Tell that to Disney.”

At 47, Anderson is still a relatively young man by Hollywood director standards. But with eight major films, at least four of which are widely considered to be masterpieces, he’s amassed a catalogue that would easily suffice for an entire career, if not two. Is he ever concerned with the idea of legacy? “No,” he says firmly, rejecting the word, “because that would imply that there’s a sort of thinking of what’s come before . . . If you do feel a ticking clock, which is completely natural to do, then that means there’s a bomb that’s gonna go off, so you gotta go forward. That’s my preoccupation: creating something again.”

Indeed, he shows no sign of slowing down. “I have a very strong idea of what I will do next,” he says. “I have to corral it into existence, because there’s a lot of material that I’ve written over the years, dating as far back as 1998-99, that’s been many different things, over many different years, that now it would be great to go back to.” Of course, he declines to elaborate.
What he will say is that he might consider making a TV series, an avenue increasingly explored by his contemporaries; Steven Soderbergh and the Coen brothers have shows due to come out this year. “Maybe,” he says slowly, when asked if he’d ever switch to the small screen. “I’d have to come up with a good idea.”

Perhaps more likely, though, is a film starring a woman; all his lead roles so far have been male — though he protests that, in his eyes, Phantom Thread “was Alma’s movie, and she was our protagonist”. “Tilda Swinton’s pretty great,” he says, when we discuss actors he’d like to use. “Any time she turns up on screen you feel a kind of force . . . There’s nothing she couldn’t do.” A few weeks after our interview, it transpires that he also has another actress in mind: the Girls Trip breakout star Tiffany Haddish. At the New York Film Critics’ Circle Awards earlier this month, his speech included a message for the actress: “I know that everyone wants to work with you, but may I please cut in front of the line?”

For now, though, he has other concerns: four children under the age of 13 with his partner, the actor Maya Rudolph. When I ask how he manages to continue making movies with a house full of young kids, he recalls visiting a house in France belonging to the artist Anselm Kiefer. “He has this gigantic home,” he says, “and he built this . . . well, it kind of looks like a large rusty pipe” — he indicates with his hands a pipe as wide as a child is tall, connected to another, smaller house — “and I guess that’s where the children lived, and if they wanted to come see Daddy, they’d have to walk across this rusty pipe.” He bends over with laughter at the thought of this revolutionary approach to child management.

Anderson comes across as an artist who has achieved an impressive degree of peace with regard to his work. “It goes back to a [Robert] Altman thing,” he says, referring to the late American director, when we discuss his evolution as both a film-maker and a person, “who was a sort of a mentor of mine, saying, ‘Look — you get a group of people together, build a sandcastle, you have a great time doing it, and then at the end of the day, you all sit back and watch the tide come in and take your sandcastle away.’”

And yet even at the height of a celebrated career, he is troubled by self-doubt. “You’re watching something and you really feel like you got up to the top of the mountain,” he says, referring to the moment when he completes a film, “and you cannot wait to show it to the world. And then those two hours waiting before the screening starts . . . you just wanna take it and throw it in the ocean.”
I later express a degree of scepticism at his frequent displays of humility. Anderson has never made a poorly reviewed film; this summer There Will Be Blood was ranked by The New York Times as the greatest movie of the 21st century so far.

“As Kendrick Lamar says . . . ” he says, drifting off and lounging back into his seat.

I finish the sentence, quoting the rapper’s song from last year: “‘Bitch, be humble.’”

Anderson points a finger at me and grins.

The breakfasters in the restaurant are sloping off to be replaced by the lunchtime crowd, and the director has a long day ahead of him. I ask him a question that’s been playing on my mind since we met. He’s the only film-maker ever to win the directing prizes at all the major European festivals — Cannes, Venice and Berlin — but, despite 19 nominations for his films, he’s never personally won an Oscar. Does he care about Academy Awards?

“That’s like a trick question!” he says, laughing.“You know . . . ” He takes a long pause, thinking, and then answers lightly: “I’m more of a Golden Globe man myself.”
"Trying to fit in since 2017."

wilder

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Re: Phantom Thread - Interviews
« Reply #77 on: January 20, 2018, 02:22:34 AM »
0


Full transcript here



eward

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Re: Phantom Thread - Interviews
« Reply #78 on: January 23, 2018, 07:14:02 PM »
+1
Spoilers abound, but that interview is chockfull of info he hasn't really touched on yet...really great stuff.
"Do you laugh at jealousy?"

"No, I don't even laugh at seasickness! I happen to regard jealousy as the seasickness of passion."

axxonn

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Re: Phantom Thread - Interviews
« Reply #79 on: January 26, 2018, 05:42:56 PM »
+2

wilberfan

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Re: Phantom Thread - Interviews
« Reply #80 on: January 31, 2018, 12:40:16 PM »
+1
Timeout London interview with PTA:  (With a too-click-baity title.) 

https://www.timeout.com/london/film/does-daniel-use-emojis-no-hes-got-a-flip-phone-paul-thomas-anderson-on-phantom-thread

Quote
‘Toxic masculinity’ is a phrase that’s cropped up about Reynolds. This idea of
a powerful man abusing his status.

‘Toxic masculinity is a very modern phrase, and you can apply it, but this is more like arrested development. His mother has treated him as the golden boy, but what happens when that boy grows up and he’s still acting like a child?’

I like this photo:
"Trying to fit in since 2017."

eward

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Re: Phantom Thread - Interviews
« Reply #81 on: January 31, 2018, 01:36:51 PM »
0
^^ Badass Motherfucking BigShit Auteur Pose  :bravo: :yabbse-thumbup: :yabbse-thumbup: :yabbse-thumbup:
"Do you laugh at jealousy?"

"No, I don't even laugh at seasickness! I happen to regard jealousy as the seasickness of passion."

Drenk

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Re: Phantom Thread - Interviews
« Reply #82 on: February 01, 2018, 12:01:13 PM »
0
Interview with Dylan Tichenor: https://www.provideocoalition.com/aotc-phantom-thread


Quote
HULLFISH: There’s a scene where Cyril says to Reynolds, “I think you should go to the country.” And there’s what could be considered shoe leather. But of course, it serves a purpose. Could you talk a little bit about those scenes of him driving out to the country instead of just cutting straight to where he’s sitting in the breakfast restaurant?
TICHENOR: We couldn’t just cut to that, though it was considered. There’s more missing from that section than actually. There’re several other scenes that were in between, and as usual, we had several different versions. To be quite honest there were versions that were intercut with Alma getting ready to go to work. There were versions where Reynolds first sees Alma in a church. There were lots of different ways that that worked. The driving was always something that we liked for Reynolds’ character because it was cold and lonely. It was manly and aloof. And it just sort of visually, cinematically, represented him – and the car was cool and the shots turned out really well. So there were many versions of that.
I'm so many people.

Fitzroy

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Re: Phantom Thread - Interviews
« Reply #83 on: February 01, 2018, 12:24:44 PM »
0
PTA and Jonny Greenwood will be on the Adam Buxton podcast, available February 9th.

For any non-British folk - this is a good thing! Buxton is friends with Jonny so it should be a good conversation.

d

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Re: Phantom Thread - Interviews
« Reply #84 on: February 01, 2018, 01:11:06 PM »
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That's amazing! The two-part Buxton podcast with Greenwood is one of the coolest conversations with a musician/artist I've ever listed to. Might be the best thing we get during that press tour.


Sleepless

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Re: Phantom Thread - Interviews
« Reply #86 on: February 02, 2018, 03:02:49 PM »
+1
Empire Podcast (interview begins around 33:40)
Being afraid of the sky, where are you going to go?

wilder

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Re: Phantom Thread - Interviews
« Reply #87 on: February 03, 2018, 03:53:21 AM »
+2
Interviewed on BBC Radio last week

He mentions this as his go-to song to write to:


STB

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Re: Phantom Thread - Interviews
« Reply #88 on: February 04, 2018, 03:09:38 PM »
+1
Anyone out there with a subscription that can copy/paste this one up?

https://www.businesspost.ie/magazine/threading-the-tale-407956

wilberfan

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Re: Phantom Thread - Interviews
« Reply #89 on: February 05, 2018, 01:05:18 AM »
0
[SPOILERS]
ART OF THE CUT with Dylan Tichenor, ACE on Phantom Thread

https://www.provideocoalition.com/aotc-phantom-thread

(In all of the deserved huzzahs for the writing, acting, directing, costume design, score, costuming, etc, I think Dylan is getting way too little attention.)



"Trying to fit in since 2017."

 

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