Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Kelly Reichardt on the minds of Mary Tyler Moore and Kristen Stewart

Email exchange with Certain Women's writer-director

Certain Women: There are a million places to put the camera, but in truth just one; director Kelley Reichardt knows the right spot.
Certain Women: There are a million places to put the camera, but in truth just one; director Kelley Reichardt knows the right spot.

Seconds after the email offering an interview with Kelly Reichardt crossed my desk, a reply in the affirmative was sent. Hopefully I made the best of our brief time together.

Scott Marks: Can you give me one of your earliest memories about going to the movies?

Kelly Reichardt: I grew up in Florida. My dad was very into The Pink Panther movies. I remember going to the drive-ins in Miami where there’d be four screens and the screens on either side of you would be R-rated. The instruction would be to only look forward and not look to the screens on the side, which was very hard not to do.

The first film I saw that made a real impression on me was on television. I saw What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? at my grandmother’s house. My grandfather used to put a piece of masking tape on the carpet which was called the TV line. You weren’t allowed to sit in front of the TV line. Growing up in Miami...the film ends with that scene on the beach. Seeing the beach in black-and-white...it made the beach seem so ominous to me. It was the first time that it occurred to me that I was seeing something that I see all the time, but in a different way.

Video:

Certain Women trailer

SM: Does your pre-production process include researching other films, and if so, what films were consulted during the making of Certain Women?

KR: I teach film. I’m always deconstructing them with my students, looking at pieces. One of the beginning points for designing Certain Women, we were working off of Milton Avery’s paintings for our colorscape. We looked at a lot of Alice Neel photos, especially for the Laura Dern section. As for films, I was thinking about — less in a filmmaking way, but in a character way — Mary Tyler Moore’s character in Ordinary People. That character has always stuck in my mind. It’s such an amazing performance, how full-on Mary Tyler Moore embraced that role. It was a woman too scared to live close to her emotions. There’s not a lot to love in that character, and she does it so bravely. Ultimately, I feel a lot of sympathy and empathy for that character.

The end of that film really does hit a note of “finally she’s gone and the men can enjoy their life.” I always felt the ending of that film was a little disappointing. I thought of that character, but at this point in life, you’re kind of in a constant engagement with film. It’s harder in the case of Certain Women to say exactly what films...it was more about being in the place and wanting to figure out how to use that space and translate the way time is experienced.

I could maybe just say a word about Peter Hutton, who I taught with for ten years up at Bard and who passed away this summer, and also Chantel Ackerman. Those are two filmmakers...the way they approach time in film, and deal with time and also space, and the way they frame their films. They were both hugely influential filmmakers to me. I’m so sorry to see both of them gone.

SM: Great to see you provided Altman staple Rene Auberjonois with a plum role. He will always be remembered fondly for his role as the flighty bird lecturer in Brewster McCloud. The quail call wouldn’t by some chance be a tribute, would it?

KR: I really try to stay in the movie and the characters and not think of things in any outside way. Likewise, I loved him in the Altman films. I loved his bartender in McCabe and Mrs. Miller. I often use that scene in my classes when I’m teaching, so it was fun to finally get to work with him.

SM: Lily Gladstone’s performance is a revelation. The strength and quiet dignity she brought to her character was remarkable. How did the two of you hook up?

Movie

Certain Women ***

thumbnail

Don’t expect <em>Certain Women</em>’s tale of four disparate Montana women whose lives crisscross to end with the quartet comfortably telescoping in one central locale. The opening section, involving Laura Dern as a lawyer whose male client places more faith in the judgment of a man than a woman, is fairly standard stuff. But then Dern suddenly finds herself in the role of hostage negotiator, and it isn’t until she breaks free of the network drama constraints that filmmaker Kelly Reichardt (<em>Old Joy, Wendy and Lucy</em>) turns in the direction of exploring a favorite theme: where closeness lies within people. She comes to the conclusion that the odd connections one forms with strangers in passing is frequently stronger than the ones found in intimate relationships. A moonlight horseback ride between infatuated student (Lily Gladstone) and beleaguered teacher (Kristen Stewart) is at once this year’s most romantic and heartbreaking scene. Beautifully filmed and performed — the opening sequence using mirrors and doorframes to fuse the torsos of two characters to form a whole — is stunning, but in the end, the overall concept left me in the dark.

Find showtimes

KR: One of the directors of Winter in the Blood — I can’t remember if it was Alex Smith or Andrew J. Smith — she was working with Rod Rondeaux, who was in Meek’s Cutoff, and I was asking him about this part, and he told me to look up Lily Gladstone. Her name had come up a couple of times. I was already in Montana, and I was so fearful that I wasn’t going to be able to find this person. She heard about us also and sent us a tape of herself doing a scene. She has such great instincts. I wrote her and gave her a few little ideas of another way to go about it, and she re-filmed herself and sent it again.

That character is not Lily Gladstone. She’s such a natural that you think that must be who she is. She’s actually doing something. She’s a really good actress.

SM: You always give your characters interesting little bits of business to do, in this case having Kristen Stewart wipe her mouth with a rolled up napkin that still had the silverware in it. Where did that come from?

KR (laughing): From the brain of Kristen Stewart.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

No longer a David, Stone Brewing recast as a Goliath

The foe of big beer tangles with small breweries over trademarks, including a local IPA
Next Article

Native Americans who rocked the world

Stevie Salas, FreeMartin, City Windows, Charles Burton Blues Band, Army of Love
Certain Women: There are a million places to put the camera, but in truth just one; director Kelley Reichardt knows the right spot.
Certain Women: There are a million places to put the camera, but in truth just one; director Kelley Reichardt knows the right spot.

Seconds after the email offering an interview with Kelly Reichardt crossed my desk, a reply in the affirmative was sent. Hopefully I made the best of our brief time together.

Scott Marks: Can you give me one of your earliest memories about going to the movies?

Kelly Reichardt: I grew up in Florida. My dad was very into The Pink Panther movies. I remember going to the drive-ins in Miami where there’d be four screens and the screens on either side of you would be R-rated. The instruction would be to only look forward and not look to the screens on the side, which was very hard not to do.

The first film I saw that made a real impression on me was on television. I saw What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? at my grandmother’s house. My grandfather used to put a piece of masking tape on the carpet which was called the TV line. You weren’t allowed to sit in front of the TV line. Growing up in Miami...the film ends with that scene on the beach. Seeing the beach in black-and-white...it made the beach seem so ominous to me. It was the first time that it occurred to me that I was seeing something that I see all the time, but in a different way.

Video:

Certain Women trailer

SM: Does your pre-production process include researching other films, and if so, what films were consulted during the making of Certain Women?

KR: I teach film. I’m always deconstructing them with my students, looking at pieces. One of the beginning points for designing Certain Women, we were working off of Milton Avery’s paintings for our colorscape. We looked at a lot of Alice Neel photos, especially for the Laura Dern section. As for films, I was thinking about — less in a filmmaking way, but in a character way — Mary Tyler Moore’s character in Ordinary People. That character has always stuck in my mind. It’s such an amazing performance, how full-on Mary Tyler Moore embraced that role. It was a woman too scared to live close to her emotions. There’s not a lot to love in that character, and she does it so bravely. Ultimately, I feel a lot of sympathy and empathy for that character.

The end of that film really does hit a note of “finally she’s gone and the men can enjoy their life.” I always felt the ending of that film was a little disappointing. I thought of that character, but at this point in life, you’re kind of in a constant engagement with film. It’s harder in the case of Certain Women to say exactly what films...it was more about being in the place and wanting to figure out how to use that space and translate the way time is experienced.

I could maybe just say a word about Peter Hutton, who I taught with for ten years up at Bard and who passed away this summer, and also Chantel Ackerman. Those are two filmmakers...the way they approach time in film, and deal with time and also space, and the way they frame their films. They were both hugely influential filmmakers to me. I’m so sorry to see both of them gone.

SM: Great to see you provided Altman staple Rene Auberjonois with a plum role. He will always be remembered fondly for his role as the flighty bird lecturer in Brewster McCloud. The quail call wouldn’t by some chance be a tribute, would it?

KR: I really try to stay in the movie and the characters and not think of things in any outside way. Likewise, I loved him in the Altman films. I loved his bartender in McCabe and Mrs. Miller. I often use that scene in my classes when I’m teaching, so it was fun to finally get to work with him.

SM: Lily Gladstone’s performance is a revelation. The strength and quiet dignity she brought to her character was remarkable. How did the two of you hook up?

Movie

Certain Women ***

thumbnail

Don’t expect <em>Certain Women</em>’s tale of four disparate Montana women whose lives crisscross to end with the quartet comfortably telescoping in one central locale. The opening section, involving Laura Dern as a lawyer whose male client places more faith in the judgment of a man than a woman, is fairly standard stuff. But then Dern suddenly finds herself in the role of hostage negotiator, and it isn’t until she breaks free of the network drama constraints that filmmaker Kelly Reichardt (<em>Old Joy, Wendy and Lucy</em>) turns in the direction of exploring a favorite theme: where closeness lies within people. She comes to the conclusion that the odd connections one forms with strangers in passing is frequently stronger than the ones found in intimate relationships. A moonlight horseback ride between infatuated student (Lily Gladstone) and beleaguered teacher (Kristen Stewart) is at once this year’s most romantic and heartbreaking scene. Beautifully filmed and performed — the opening sequence using mirrors and doorframes to fuse the torsos of two characters to form a whole — is stunning, but in the end, the overall concept left me in the dark.

Find showtimes

KR: One of the directors of Winter in the Blood — I can’t remember if it was Alex Smith or Andrew J. Smith — she was working with Rod Rondeaux, who was in Meek’s Cutoff, and I was asking him about this part, and he told me to look up Lily Gladstone. Her name had come up a couple of times. I was already in Montana, and I was so fearful that I wasn’t going to be able to find this person. She heard about us also and sent us a tape of herself doing a scene. She has such great instincts. I wrote her and gave her a few little ideas of another way to go about it, and she re-filmed herself and sent it again.

That character is not Lily Gladstone. She’s such a natural that you think that must be who she is. She’s actually doing something. She’s a really good actress.

SM: You always give your characters interesting little bits of business to do, in this case having Kristen Stewart wipe her mouth with a rolled up napkin that still had the silverware in it. Where did that come from?

KR (laughing): From the brain of Kristen Stewart.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

No longer a David, Stone Brewing recast as a Goliath

The foe of big beer tangles with small breweries over trademarks, including a local IPA
Next Article

Song Without a Name: gone baby gone

Melina León finds horror in an environment usually associated with safety and nurturing.
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close