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Nicolas Winding Refn

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Reply #60 on: September 30, 2013, 12:36:28 AM
Interview: Nicolas Winding Refn On Sci-Fi And The Genius Of JODOROWSKY'S DUNE
via Twitch Film
by James  Marsh

A few months ago I was lucky enough to spend a couple of hours talking with Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn. While the bulk of that interview was about his latest directorial effort, Only God Forgives, for another publication (which you can read online here), we also spent a few minutes discussing his involvement in Frank Pavich's incredible documentary, Jodorowsky's Dune. With that film's double win at Fantastic Fest last week, where it won both the Audience Award and the Best Documentary prize, now seemed the perfect opportunity to share this brief discussion, which covers Refn's relationship with Jodorowsky, his involvement in the film and his future science fiction projects.

Twitch - I recently saw JODOROWSKY'S DUNE, which of course you're in, and I wanted to talk to you a little bit about Alejandro Jodorowsky and his work. ONLY GOD FORGIVES is dedicated to him. Can you talk a little bit about what he means to you as a filmmaker?

Well, there's a personal friendship between us, which is very strong. On a professional level, I think his influence in pop cinema is still very unappreciated. You can say that without El Topo there would be no modern pop cinema. In the same way his inspiration for science fiction movies leads back to an unproduced film called Dune.

The imagery, conceptual art and ideas that were coming out of that project were fantastic. I was fascinated to see how much of it was carried over and seaped into subsequent films, most obviously Ridley Scott's ALIEN.

Oh yeah, but the same thing for El Topo. If it wasn't for El Topo a lot of people wouldn't be around. It was the first midnight movie phenomenon that wasn't a revival. It was a new film that caught on with the future of cinema and created this phenomenon that later led to many magnificent films. But it's also that the extremeness of El Topo in a way influenced all us making films from El Topo on.

It really stays with you, it's incredibly surreal and profound, anarchic and even silly at times. I think to get away with being all those things simultaneously is nye impossible today.

It's very hard, because of course it's very hard to capitalise on that financially, because it's some unsecured territory. But at the same time, the need for it is more enormous than ever.

You claimed in JODOROWSKY'S DUNE that you were one of the few people to have "seen" DUNE because of the way he talked you through his vision and that huge book of ideas and concept art. If the stars ever aligned and someone offered you the opportunity to pick up the reins and adapt Jodorowsky's vision of DUNE, would you do it?

I would make - with the inspiration of that night - my own interpretation. I would do something different with it. Because the thing is that they made Dune, David Lynch made his version, SyFy channel made their version, they've been trying to make a new version for ages, so it's almost like Dune is too easy now. Too many examples exist. I happen to really love the David Lynch version. I love all the surrealist filmmakers: Lynch, Bunuel, Jodorowsky. I would put Gaspar Noe in that category.

I read that when you were making DRIVE you consulted Gaspar Noe on how to cave a head in on-screen.

That is true. I was very intrigued in how Gaspar had done the head-smashing in Irreversible for my head smash in Drive. I really love his films and showed them to Tom Sigel, the cinematographer on Drive, to show him some of the madness I would like to capture in our movie. I think he was a little horrified! I still think Gaspar's head smash is better, but I was able to get them kissing before he smashes the head, so my scene goes in different directions.

I understand that ONLY GOD FORGIVES is part of a two-picture deal you have?

Yes, I have another film in the works, but right now I'm really concentrating on my TV show, Barbarella, to see if I can get that off the ground.

Well I can't wait for you to embrace science fiction to see what you do with BARBARELLA.

It's interesting when you say that because in a way science fiction has always been my favourite genre, or horror films, but horror have more to do with the fantastique.

Do you think that's why you are reluctant to do a science fiction film yourself? You're afraid of tainting the genre or not living up to your favourites?

No, it's just I have to find the right idea. I have to find "it". And I've learned that if I stop seeking it, it will reveal itself.

How's it coming along?

Very well, I'm very happy. We're still writing it. I would love to do it for a number of seasons, at least, I have a number of ideas that would see it through a number of seasons. But however you plan for something, I can tell you one thing - it's not going to happen. There's a great story that basically goes like this: How do you make God laugh? You tell him your plans.

That's funny because one question I have written down here is: Do you consider yourself an optimist?

I think you have to. When you have children you have to be an optimist, you have to hope that you are bringing your children into a good place. Artistically, having been around to witness the birth of the digital revolution I have nothing but admiration and optimism for the future of creativity and I wish I would live another 100 years just to see where things are going. The speed of how it's all changing is fantastic. Who would have thought 20 years ago primal information would basically change every dictatorial rule in the world? It wasn't going to be a gun, or a war or an invasion, it was going to be the Internet that changed our society.

Ironically, something that connects everybody together.

Yeah, and only for the better. I think that would have been a pretty mind-blowing discussion...if you had it 20 years ago. But it's that fear of failure we live in that we shouldn't be afraid of. But we need to try it to understand it, because in the end it is so important. Movies like El Topo, nobody makes movies like those anymore. Gaspar Noe does, but he's one in a billion, and I think Cinema has a much higher purpose than just entertaining us, it should inspire us as well. Making those kinds of films it's not about what to do, you almost have to figure out what not to do. So it's like important that you erase the recipe of success every time you have it, like you erase the residue of disaster every time.

LOGAN'S RUN is dead, right?

It's dead as dead can be. It's a great shame but I realised a couple of things. I was so in love with the original that I think I was disillusioned by the fact that if I made a remake I would be closer to the original, I would be part of the original more than any other, and I realised that that was a lie. That was illusion. It wouldn't be like that. And also if I was going to make a $100 or $200 million movie, and trade off my creative freedom for that price, it needed to be something that was going to outweigh that loss. Because at the same time I'm very lucky to be able to make the films I make, and to exchange that for a larger canvas really needs to feel like the right swap. Logan's Run just wasn't it at the end. But I was able to take one of my ideas and put them into Barbarella, like Dune, I stole a little bit from what didn't happen and put it into something else. That way the trade-off wasn't so significant. But I think that maybe those kind of things only work if you stumble and fall.

Whenever I meet younger filmmakers, and I hate to say this now because it makes me feel so old, I say "You know what? Stumble and fall as much as you can as fast as you can, make all the mistakes in your first couple of movies because when that's when you're going to learn what not to do." That is gonna make you understand what I didn't understand. I was 25, Pusher was out and it had worked, and I was told by a more experienced filmmaker "Do it your way", which I completely misinterpreted. I thought he meant keep your control, you're the man, stick with everything and fuck everyone else. It wasn't until much later n my life that I understood he was saying something else to me. And that's why I always say stumble and fall and thank god if you ca do it as fast as possible, do it when you're young, not when you're old. Because it's harder to come back from. And then steal everything you can. Make it your own, that's what everyone else does. Just don't be afraid to admit it.


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Reply #61 on: January 20, 2014, 07:54:27 PM
'Barbarella’ Series Project Lands At Amazon
via Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: Gaumont International Television’s Barbarella has been set up at Amazon Studios, which has taken in the pilot script penned by feature writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade (Skyfall). I hear search is underway for a showrunner in anticipation of a pilot pickup. Barbarella is based on the character created by Jean-Claude Forest in a graphic novel and made famous in the 1968 sci-fi movie staring Jane Fonda as a sexpot tasked with finding and stopping an evil weapons inventor. The project, which has been in the works at GIT for a year and a half, is executive produced by Nicolas Refn (Valhalla Rising), who had been attached to direct, and Martha De Laurentiis, whose late husband Dino produced the 1968 movie. GIT has two other series – Hannibal on NBC and Hemlock Grove on Netflix — with a third, Narco, eyeing a green light at Netflix. Amazon Studios has five drama and comedy pilots in the works following the launch of its first original series, comedies Alpha House and Betas. Purvis and Wade are repped by UTA and Casarotto and Neil Meyer; Refn by WME.


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Reply #62 on: March 14, 2014, 11:34:31 PM
Publicity package for Fear X which includes interviews with Refn, John Turturro, Hubert Selby Jr., DP Larry Smith (Eyes Wide Shut), and Brian Eno


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Reply #63 on: May 15, 2014, 06:56:25 AM
Nicolas Winding Refn In Talks To Helm Sony Haunted Hotel Pic ‘The Bringing’
Source: Deadline
EXCLUSIVE: Nicolas Winding Refn is in early talks to direct The Bringing, the horror movie spec by Brandon and Phillip Murphy that Sony Pictures acquired in a competitive bidding battle in February. Matt Tolmach is producing with First Born Films’ Daniela Cretu. This is the one that got the town whipped into a frenzy partly because its catalyst was a widely circulated video of a young woman who displayed erratic behavior in an elevator at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles, the place where such killers as Richard Ramirez called home at one time or other, and where numerous suicides have occurred. The woman, Elisa Lam, was found dead in the water tanks at the roof of the hotel. The script has nothing really to do with that that tragedy but it created a germ of an idea focusing on a man investigating a death at the hotel, and the nightmare he stumbles into.

Refn must have seen the video, because while the director of Drive, Valhalla Rising and Bronson is usually courted for projects, he sought this one out. From his Copenhagen home, he is a horror connoisseur who badly wants to make a terrifying film. This sounds a bit like The Shining, where Stanley Kubrick has similar aspirations, and turned Stephen King’s novel in to the standard for movies about haunted hotels. If the deal making works out, Refn will get his chance to make one too. It was an easy sell for Sony, all big fans of Refn. Sony production president Michael De Luca and Rachel O’Connor are steering the pic. Refn is repped by WME, Anonymous Content and Independent Talent. Here is another look at the video that captured the zeitgeist:

“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol

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Reply #64 on: May 15, 2014, 09:48:20 AM
Definite Fear X territory. Creepy video. Glad it's just the catalyst for the film and not the base, cause that would feel a bit callous. Refn doing horror would for sure give Shining a run for its money for 'reddest movie ever made'.


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Reply #65 on: May 15, 2014, 10:09:15 AM
Refn doing horror would for sure give Shining a run for its money for 'reddest movie ever made'.
Cries and Whispers already won.


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Reply #66 on: June 06, 2014, 09:14:20 AM
Nicolas Winding Refn Announces 'I Walk With The Dead' As His Next Film
Source: Playlist
When we last spoke to Nicolas Winding Refn, last year at Cannes following the premiere of his divisive "Only God Forgives," trying to get any information out of him about his brewing horror film "I Walk With The Dead" was a challenge. And when it was reported last fall that the project was bringing on a screenwriter, we figured it was probably a bit of way off. But now over seven months later, Refn has announced the picture will be his next, and we couldn't be more excited.

The director made use of his infrequent Twitter account to drop the news, so what do we know about it? Well, writer Polly Stenham says it's an "all-female horror" and one that hopes to recalibrate the opinion of those that think Refn doesn't care much for the women in his films. “He’s got a lot of stick for doing films some people think are violently misogynistic,” she said. “So he approached me with the idea of doing something different.”

As for the plot, no exact details yet, nor is it certain that "Drive" star Carey Mulligan, long said to be attached to the project, is still on board. But the movie will shoot in Los Angeles, though at one time, Refn was considering Tokyo (where he's also plotting whatever "The Avenging Silence" is). Either way, a new Refn film for 2015? If that's the plan, sounds good to us.

“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol

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Reply #67 on: June 13, 2014, 03:22:00 PM
Nicolas Winding Refn Reportedly Drops Out Of Directing Horror ‘The Bringing’
via The Playlist

It sounds like Refn's already dropped out as talks and negotiations stalled.


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Reply #68 on: September 01, 2014, 10:49:15 PM
This is the first I've heard of this doc..

Cliff Martinez to Release Score for 'My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn'
By Alex Hudson
via exclaim.ca

Cliff Martinez has come a long way since his days as a drummer for Captain Beefheart and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Now a prolific film score composer, his latest project is writing the music for My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn.

The film is a documentary directed by Winding Refn's wife, Liv Corfixen, and it follows the Danish-born filmmaker during the making of last year's Only God Forgives. Martinez wrote the music for Only God Forgives, as well as Refn's much-loved Drive, so it's appropriate that he scored the documentary too.

The film is already out in Denmark, and the soundtrack is available in a couple of international territories (such as the German iTunes).

Neither the film nor the soundtrack have a North American release date just yet, but Film Music Reporter notes that we can expect the latter to arrive through Milan Records. The tracklist is below.

My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack):

1. Cliff Martinez - "Pan to Me"
2. Cliff Martinez - "Shouldn't Be Too Worried"
3. Cliff Martinez - "Bring in the Cows"
4. Cliff Martinez - "Breaking the Waves"
5. Cliff Martinez - "Hands"
6. Cliff Martinez - "You Can't Spend Two Hours"
7. Cliff Martinez - "Shadows"
8. Cliff Martinez - "But I Love You Anyway"
9. Cliff Martinez - "Destroy Something"
10. Cliff Martinez - "Fireworks Went Off"
11. Julian Winding - "Disconnected"


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Reply #69 on: September 01, 2014, 11:16:10 PM


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Reply #70 on: September 02, 2014, 01:06:27 AM
I can only read the title with Borat's accent


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Reply #71 on: October 18, 2014, 02:40:43 PM
Review: 'My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn' Reveals the Sad Story Behind 'Only God Forgives'
By Eric Kohn
via The Playlist

The director of "Drive" learned the hard way that lightning doesn't always strike twice. This is his story.

It's no big secret that both success and failure tend to mess with the minds of artists working in the public eye. Filmmakers, faced with critical and commercial expectations beyond their control, often fall into this uneasy camp. So it's no surprise that, in the documentary "My Life Directed By Nicolas Winding Refn," the Danish filmmaker comes across as heavily self-involved and terrified of failure. Those qualities are intensified by the timeline of the movie, directed by the Refn's wife Liv Corfixen, which finds Refn high on his popularity and on the brink of hitting a wall.

But that's not the only issue at stake. As the title hints, Corfixen's proximity to her subject makes her vulnerable to his domineering tendencies as well.

Chronicling the production history of her husband's poorly received followup to his smash hit "Drive," the widely reviled, ultra-bloody high art pastiche "Only God Forgives," Corfixen finds her husband in the exact state of mind that one might expect — nervous about his next move and obsessed with his quest for perfection. Unlike other non-fiction entries based around misconceived film productions — "Lost in La Mancha," the story of Terry Gilliam's unfinished "Don Quixote" treatment, and the "Apocalypse Now" chronicle "Hearts of Darkness" chief among them — Corfixen's insightful hourlong portrait takes a far more personal view of its subject.

That's ultimately to the credit of the movie's delicate, focused approach, which explores both Refn's neurotic state of uncertainty and its impact on his marriage. Corfixen doesn't touch on the bigger picture of the movie's failures, but conveys a degree of intimacy with the topic usually buried by sensationalist headlines.

"I'm worried about repeating myself," Refn says early on, in the midst of hauling his wife and young children to Bangkok for a six month shoot. There's a certain wearisome cliché associated with watching the director whine about his aspirations time and again, but Corfixen's diary-like approach to the proceedings give her husband's frustrations a down-to-earth quality. Spotted in a reflection early on, Corfixen's presence behind the camera adds an element of meta commentary to the story, which extends beyond the gradual disappointment of the production to touch on Refn's warring passions: On the one hand, he's a committed family man, who squeezes in time to entertain his children and speak tenderly with his wife in between stressful production meetings; at the same time, his self-mythologizing tendencies threaten to overwhelm his priorities.

In one telling scene, "Only God Forgives" star Ryan Gosling pays a visit to Refn and listens as the director launches on a meandering explanation of his vision for the movie's excessive violence, going so far as to equate it to sex. Refn's insistence on reaching for a colorful metaphor transforms into a performance itself, and Gosling calls him on it, turning to the camera and smirking. "You get all that?" he says, and Refn's pained reaction shows the extent to which he's trapped by his own ambition.

The global popularity of his previous collaboration with Gosling hangs over each scene, intensifying the shadow of imminent bad days ahead. "I don't want to be the 'Drive' guy forever," he says. Refn's limited ability to contemplate his legacy registers as more melancholic than deranged, and his egotistical desire mainly seems petty. Shuttling between locations, losing his temper on set and babbling about his intentions back home, he constantly digs himself a deeper grave and then, in the movie's perceptive final moments as the bad reviews stream in, essentially lies in it.

Though it's not a detailed peek behind the scenes, "My Life Directed By Nicolas Winding Refn" does include some intriguing moments involving the overall production struggles that Refn endures in order to make his distinctly non-commercial film. By virtue of his wife's first-rate access, we witness Refn's need to hustle every step of the way: He asks Gosling to join him for a special "Drive" screening so they can collect a $40,000 fee to boost their limited budget; on set, he struggles to explain his trying approach to narrative, which includes a baffling decision during one bit to have his actors move in slow motion. Coaching Kristen Scott Thomas' through her memorably gory death scene, Refn announces his desire to "make it dirty, unique, never-seen-before and violent."

Such empty, freewheeling concepts help to explain the confounding project that eventually came out of the experience: "Only God Forgives" was Refn's attempt to go the extra mile and challenge viewers with the antithesis to the crowd-pleasing aspects of his previous outings. But he's never fully capable of finding clarity to match his drive.

Corfixen's filmmaking technique is largely straightforward, but when she relies on a contemplative score and pauses to watch her husband's expression as the production slowly moves beyond his grasp, "My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn" manages to both pity and reject his hubris. When he reaches the finish line and concludes that the outcome "isn't good enough," as rage fills his eyes, it's clear that no matter what the rest of the world thinks, Refn is his own worst critic.

While this observation speaks volumes about the pressures of the industry, it's certainly nothing groundbreaking — despite the novelty of witnessing a dud in the making, Corfixen gives us few surprises. It's only when she digs into the impact of her husband's commitments on their marriage that the movie suggests a more profound subtext. In an idiosyncratic exchange with the filmmaker Alejandro Jodoworsky — for whom Refn expresses his admiration in the recent documentary "Jodoworsky's Dune" — the cult Chilean director reads Corfixen's fortune and digs into the profound challenges of living in the service of another creative mind.

She's the only one with the ability to see beyond his insecurities and inject a voice of reason into his life, but it comes at the expense of her own stability. "Why do they have to be so mean?" Refn says after reading a voracious takedown of his movie by Hollywood Elsewhere blogger Jeffrey Wells. "In a way," she responds, "you asked for it." Corfixen puts the movie's failings in a better context than any of the pans preceding it. The ironic outcome is a movie more insightful than the project at its center.


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Reply #72 on: November 03, 2014, 12:03:45 PM
Nicolas Winding Refn's Female-Led Horror Now Titled 'The Neon Demon,' Will Shoot Next Spring
via The Playlist

THR reports that the movie, previously referred to as "I Walk With The Dead," is now titled "The Neon Demon," it will be Refn's next film, and production will start in the spring. While Polly Stenham was attached to write the script at one point, the trade said that Mary Laws, a first-time screenwriter out of Yale, has co-written the project with Refn. The story will find the director returning to Los Angeles to tell a story that he describes as "a horror film about vicious beauty." Longtime collaborator Cliff Martinez will score the film. Philippe Le Sourd (Wong Kar-Wai's "The Grand Master") will be the DP.

But what about Carey Mulligan, who has also been linked to the project for ages? Well, she's not mentioned, and when we chatted with Refn earlier this fall, all he would offer about her participation is, "Sometimes a mystery is better left unsolved until you see it. Or else what are you going to talk about?"


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Reply #73 on: November 03, 2014, 01:48:09 PM
Dope!  I was wondering whether or not his horror flick was going to happen.


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Reply #74 on: January 06, 2015, 05:03:07 PM
Elle Fanning Is Nicolas Winding Refn's 'Neon Demon'
via The Playlist

For a while, Nicolas Winding Refn's "The Neon Demon" (formerly known as "I Walk With The Dead"), was long on talk, but short on action, thought that has all changed recently. In November, Refn officially announced it as his next film, Cliff Martinez and Philippe Le Sourd (Wong Kar-wai's "The Grand Master") signed up to score and lens the film, respectively, and a spring shoot was penciled in. And now, casting has begun.

Though Carey Mulligan was long attached to the movie, Elle Fanning has now stepped into the picture in the lead role. No plot details as of yet, but previously, "The Neon Demon" was described as "a horror film about vicious beauty" set in Los Angeles. Check out the director's tweet confirming the news below.

Dear Friends - Yes it's true, @ElleFanning will be a super cool wonder woman in THE NEON DEMON. #ellefanning #theneondemon

— Nicolas Winding Refn (@NicolasWR) January 6, 2015