February 6th, 2018 / 3 Comments


Robert Pattinson is the unreliable narrator Samuel Alabastor in #Damsel

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The Film Stage spoke to the Zellner Bros about Damsel, deconstructing the genre and creating a mythic, humorous western.  They obviously also discussed Rob.  There are quite a few spoilers (including one about Rob’s character that I’ve put behind the cut below).  If you want to read the complete interview, then click on the hyperlink, but the extract concerning Rob and Samuel Alabaster is below:

Robert Pattinson’s character in Damsel feels like he could be ancestor of his Good Time character Connie.

[Both laugh.]

Just manipulating anyone to get what he wants, even though he’s more sweet-natured in this film. Can you talk about forming that character? His introduction at the bar and the dialogue there is amazing.

David Zellner: Yeah, we just wanted to use the hero archetype as a foundation and then deviate from there with it. So much of the information you are getting is through his perspective and his image of himself or what he wants to believe or what he’s trying to project. It makes him not the most reliable narrator.

Speaking about the structure, I heard that it was one of your first ideas. You don’t have to go into spoilers, but just talk about coming up with that and how you guys are always one step ahead of the audience. Even though we think we’ve figured things out, we really haven’t.

David Zellner: Yeah, that’s part of the fun of it. We wanted to play with structure and things that might be a climax don’t necessarily take place at the climax and we’re left dealing with the aftermath of a certain situation. The middle was kind of the impetus for it everything grew out in each direction from there. We always knew we wanted that to be the kind of centerpiece and build from there.

Nathan Zellner: And technically we talked a lot about–when shooting it and especially in post-production–shifting the point of view and which character was where we wanted the audience to side or see through. That really helped with the unreliable narrator of Samuel [Pattinson’s character] because as soon as you introduce him you’re on his side and we’re watching things unfold with him. Then with the middle part it becomes…

David Zellner: …more complicated. [Laughs]

Speaking about Mia Wasikowska, it would be more interesting if she never had any rehearsals with Robert Pattinson, just because of the relationship of their characters. But I’m curious, was there anything like that?

David Zellner: Well, they are old friends and have been in a movie together before. So they already had a comfort with each other. We did some rehearsal, not days and days, but we did some, just to work out some kinks in the script for flow. We also didn’t want to beat it death and overdo it. We wanted to leave some room for it to be fresh.

Nathan Zellner: Yeah, it was good to do a rehearsal and it was good they had some familiarity with each other. Because consciously or subconsciously, they are people who have a history on screen, so there has to be some sort of connection. The situation they are in is heightened and we have to feel like the things they are saying have that history behind it and has brought them to the point they are today.

I hope it’s there’s another Team Bunzo campaign. [Laughs] There’s also the song Robert Pattinson sings, “Honeybun.” Did you see Hail, Caesar!? Samuel reminded me of Alden Ehrenreich’s cowboy character a bit.

David Zellner: Yeah, we liked the idea of a cowboy ballad in the movie. I like Ricky Nelson a lot and I love his song in Rio Bravo, “My Rifle, My Pony, and Me.” That movie is crazy because they play like two songs in a row. They play the whole song and you are surprised they play the complete song, and then they are like, hey, let’s play another one and they play a second song! And it’s so entertaining. I just love that kind of vibe so it seemed like a fun thing to put campfire song in there. And it fit into all the things he was doing for Penelope.

Nathan Zellner: It’s another cliche of two guys on the trails talking around a campfire. I love David’s expression as he’s watching them because this connection between the two character and everything sets up what’s to come later.

WARNING:  This next bit is *****spoilerish***** 

 

*SPOILER ALERT*

 

Yeah, I was laughing the next day about the shot of Robert Pattinson going behind the outhouse and just staying back there the whole time.

[All laugh.]

David Zellner: Yeah, elements of physical comedy and sometimes it’s just funny when there’s stuff happening off screen and you don’t know exactly.

Nathan Zellner: Yeah, where there’s this huge action moment with Parson Henry and then you realize, yeah, Samuel is just checked out for a little bit. He’s just frozen in fear, but the’s definitely doing what he’s supposed to be doing.

 

  • sue
    Posted on February 06, 2018

    Thanks for the Spoiler Alert @Maria. Of course, I completely ignored it and read on – I’m that desperate for any tiny Damsel morsels thrown my way LOL!

  • Maria
    Posted on February 06, 2018

    I’m with you Sue – any morsel and taps foot waiting for a trailer.

  • Carmel Montgomery
    Posted on February 06, 2018

    Lol. Here i go again. Thanks for the spoiler alert Maria

  • Leave a Reply



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