August 15th, 2017 / 1 Comment

Justin Chang finally admits “Even critics who have been slow to appreciate [Pattinson’s] talent (guilty as charged) would likely approve of his taste”


Justin Chang who finally sees what we’ve been seeing for years chatted with Robert about his love of film and director choices. Robert also mentions that he’s about to start filming High Life “on Sunday”.  From the LA Times (click link to read full article):

Have you always been an avid moviegoer?

I was into movies before I was even remotely into acting. I basically approached my career, at least for the first 10 years of it, trying to re-create my DVD shelf from when I was 17.

Tell me what was on that DVD shelf.

You could literally look at my IMDb page and see. James Gray was a massive one. Claire Denis. [Werner] Herzog. These are people I’ve just been crossing off the list. There was a lot of [Jean-Luc] Godard.

Are there certain titles that particularly inspired you?

Godard’s “Prénom: Carmen” (First Name: Carmen) was a massive one for me in terms of tone and performance. I love genre shifts, and I just think for that to start off as a kind of farce and then to develop into one of the most moving relationship stories, unrequited love stories, that I’ve ever seen — that really stuck out.

Claire Denis’ “White Material” was one of the big ones. I love “No Fear, No Die” as well. I love a lot of Claire Denis’ stuff. And Leos Carax as well, especially “Les Amants du Pont-Neuf” (The Lovers on the Bridge).

There’s something about these filmmakers. I can’t think of a better word than “singular,” but they’re just so unique. I mean, I like a lot of English-language movies from the ’70s, which everybody likes, but among more recent films, for some reason, a lot of French movies — they’re more operatic. They’re not afraid to be emotionally operatic. I like that.

You must be excited to work with Claire Denis on “High Life.”

For sure. I start shooting on Sunday. I’m flying out there finally after three years. I’m very curious how it will turn out. The script is very ambitious, to say the least.

Who are some of your favorite older filmmakers?

I’ve recently been watching a lot of Ken Russell. I love his movies. I was watching “The Devils” the other day. There’s some kind of through line connecting all these films, but I can never really figure out what it is. A lot of it is performance-based; all these directors get these incredible performances. Oliver Reed in “The Devils” is unreal. That could literally play now and it would still be subversive.

You’ve worked with some terrific filmmakers in recent years, including David Cronenberg, David Michôd and now the Safdie brothers.

I got kind of lucky. I had worked with some great directors before that, but they tended to go back and forth between personal films and more commercial films. With a lot of the later directors, their films are sort of all personal. But after Cronenberg and “Cosmopolis,” which just kind of appeared out of nowhere — with David Michôd, I remember seeing the teaser trailer for “Animal Kingdom” before it was out, and it was just a phenomenal teaser. I just went after him then and met him a long time, maybe a year and a half, before “The Rover” even came about.

I like the feeling of discovery and meeting someone who is really, really hungry and has a lot to prove. It’s exciting to see the Safdies’ progression. Scott Rudin and Martin Scorsese are producing their next film [the thriller “Uncut Gems”].

You’ve attended the Cannes Film Festival often in recent years. Do you get a chance to see other films when you’re there?

This year I saw Lynne Ramsay’s “You Were Never Really Here.” It was great. She’s another person who’s been on my list forever. But in general, it’s always a little funny going to see other films when you’ve got a movie premiering there. I’d love at some point to be on a jury. Everyone is always like, “It’s such a hassle seeing three films a day,” but that’s kind of all I do anyway.

Are there any films from the past year or so that you’ve especially liked?

I loved “Embrace of the Serpent,” the Ciro Guerra film. And I loved “Mon Roi” (My King), the Maïwenn movie. I thought that was great.

I love that you said that. I remember “My King” getting pilloried at Cannes.

Everybody hated “My King”?

I wouldn’t say everybody. I mean, I can’t speak for all my critical brethren, but …

Really? That’s crazy! I absolutely love that movie. I thought it was so moving.

Is Maïwenn someone you’d want to work with in the future?

Yeah, for sure. That was one of the best movies of the year for me.

*Mental note:  add My King to watch list.

  • Carmel
    Posted on August 17, 2017

    Oooh! What a great read. I do enjoy it when Rob gets to geek out a bit. You think these type of questions would come up more often considering it’s the industry he is in. Good work Justin Chang

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