The director John Cameron Mitchell has shared his experience and his advice during a masterclass.
Director at the style déganté and imposing, also sulfurant as it is marked, John Cameron Mitchell is coming soon to the cinema with the film the How to Talk to Girls at Parties, in premiere at the Champs Elysées Film Festival. For the occasion, the director of “rock/queer” has shared advice and experiences during a masterclass as interesting as it is exciting.
When did your desire to tell stories ?
As a teenager I moved so many times that it was constantly that I adapt, I change my focus. I had the impression of playing and every time I had to change your identity, and it has contributed to my desire to tell stories. Also, my mother was an artist so she he really encouraged me to do theatre, and one of my first roles at the catholic school was the virgin mary. It was a musical !
Make his first movie by being in front of and behind the camera, rather it is quite a challenge, non ? This has been hard for you ?
At the time I really didn’t have much interest for the game, but I thought I was the only one to be able to play this role of Hedwig, a drag queen, in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. But the fact of playing and singing has allowed me to relieve the pressure of the realization, and especially the fact that you sing live. I hate it when in the musicals it is a play-back on the shoot !
The story is not really common, so is it that your project has been easy to produce and fund it ?
Between the end of the 90s and the early of 2000, there were a lot of producers concerned by the financing of the first films. It was a play that had a good critical success, and a few celebrities I had been approached in a kind of bidding war for the adaptation. For example, Forrest Whittaker wanted to make the film, I told him that I wanted to do and he told me that it was a serious mistake. Tim Burton also, Danny DeVito wanted to produce…
At the time we chose to work with the New Line, directed by Bob Shaye, who was the trilogy Lord of the Rings, but that mostly was done in the 80’s They were cracking all except one, a comedy for the teens in which I had played. I had suggested a role of homosexual and I found this very poorly written, with all the valves rotten on the gays of the time. I told him about it, he agreed to listen to me, and since we decided to work together again. Twelve years later, he came to see the room and told me that he wanted to produce in me the realization. I loved the respect he had, and even in the frenzy of the Lord of the Rings, he spent a lot of time to help me but the film is planted in the room. It was not until DVD that the film has found its audience, as with my films ! But it is a real chance of being able to enjoy so much of freedom on a first film.
Is it that being an actor makes directing easier for you ?
It is true that it helps me to talk to other players and I think that we should never consider them as puppets, but as partners, don’t ever tell them not to do something but always be positive, and between taken not to give them too much information.
In Shortbus, the actors are really scenes that are very explicit and are very far away (autofellation, etc.). How one arrives at such a level of intimacy with them ?
Because it was two and a half years that we worked together and believed me, no one had a good time ! I was really interested to play around sex, and often I find that the sex miss and more interesting than the sex succeeds.
The financing of a movie like that would it still be possible today in the United States ?
It is true that the issue would be extremely problematic because it would raise the question of exploitation, in particular of actresses all-female. For many, it is true that in this kind of artistic experience you could face a sort of fear that would be tinged with condescension as if they were trying to ban the sex, whether it is artistic or not, and it is the impression that people are confronted with their own fear of sex.
How it happened in your work with Nicole Kidman in the How to talk to girls at Parties ?
We didn’t have much time to practice this time, unlike our first film together, but it works very well together. She told me ” you’re going to tell the replicas as if you played the role and I’m going to imitate you. “. It is really very strong !