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Todd Haynes, interview at the Zurich festival

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Todd Haynes held a Masterclass at the Zurich Film Festival, where he presented his documentary The Velvet Underground.

Todd Haynes guest at Locarno 2017

Todd Haynes guest at Locarno 2017

After the world premiere in Cannes a few months ago, the American director Todd Haynes He came to Zurich to accompany his first documentary, The Velvet Underground, which will come on Apple TV + on 15 October and will also be available in theaters in different countries. An aspect that Haynes was keen to underline, speaking of his relationship with Apple during the meeting with the public within ZFF Masters, one of the essential appointments of the Swiss festival: “Apple has been a valuable collaborator, also given its relationship with the world of music, and I still insisted on theatrical release where possible, including festivals. And I have to say that the marketing folks who did the various posters and trailers for the film are some of the best I’ve ever worked with.

A precious partnership

Carol: Todd Haynes and Rooney Mara interview on set

Carol: Todd Haynes and Rooney Mara interview on set

Todd Haynes was accompanied to Zurich by Christine Vachon, who produced all of his films: “Ours is a relationship that I have not had with anyone else“says the director, explaining how the first contact took place.”In New York, where I was studying, we had some acquaintances in common, and she saw a first montage of a short I had made. She told me she would like to produce my next film, and we have always worked together ever since.“A collaboration that is not without difficulty, as the filmmaker recalls talking about his second feature film:”Safe was not particularly expensive, and with the previous film I had won an award at Sundance, but it still took two years to get the necessary budget, which was one million dollars, because no one wanted to finance a project about a sick woman.“And is it possible to see the short he mentioned?”It is available online through the wrong way, but officially it cannot be screened in public due to a matter related to music rights. It is a film about singer Karen Carpenter, shot entirely with the use of various Barbies instead of actors. I chose to do this because I wanted to see if certain audience reactions would be the same without real people on screen.

The Velvet Underground, the review: Todd Haynes tells us about the band that changed rock

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Wonderstruck: the full cast at Cannes with director Todd Haynes

Wonderstruck: the full cast at Cannes with director Todd Haynes

Haynes also commented on the distribution issue of his two most recent films, with some curious notes: “I had no particular problems working with Amazon on The Room of Wonders, because at the time the director of the cinema sector was Roy Price, who now no longer works for them. [è stato allontanato nel 2017 in seguito ad accuse di molestie sessuali, n.d.r], and their approach was very open to auteur productions. On the other hand, when I made Bad Waters, the Participant production company insisted that it go to theaters quickly, given the topic that was linked to socio-political current events. In my opinion that has damaged the film a bit in terms of tenitura, and I would have preferred to take it around festivals before it hit theaters, but I realize that Participant has different priorities, as she specializes in projects with a strong content. social and is keen to get them to the public as quickly as possible.

Todd Haynes: “The room of wonders is a journey through the films that prompted me to be a director”

The relationship with the actors

Far From Heaven: Todd Haynes and Julianne Moore on set

Far From Heaven: Todd Haynes and Julianne Moore on set

A question from the audience concerns his work with actors, with this precise question: what is, for him, a good actor? “That’s a very interesting question, because they all have different ways of working. Julianne Moore, with whom I have collaborated several times, does not like excessive preparation, she does not consider herself an actress of the Method, she is much more attentive to the technical aspects, she does not like to try the scene too much before shooting. The amazing thing is her relationship with the camera: she knows exactly how to calibrate her performance, and I am stunned every time because I don’t realize the overall work she does before I have reviewed the whole film on my own.“There is another collaboration that is destined to repeat itself in the near future:”I have a new feature in the works, we should shoot it early next year. It is based on the life of American singer Peggy Lee, and is a project that Reese Witherspoon proposed to me after it turned out during the promotional tour of When Love Burns the Soul – Walk the Line that she greatly admired Lee’s work. . I started writing the script after I finished Carol, and during the pandemic I reread it. It will no longer be Reese who will play Peggy Lee, but Michelle Williams, with whom I have already worked. I also recommended it to Kelly Reichardt at the time, when she was working on her first feature film. Now the seventh is ending, of which I saw a temporary editing a few weeks ago.“And is there any dream in the drawer that he has not yet been able to fulfill?”It stays between us, doesn’t it? [ride, n.d.r.] Before retiring I would like to make a film about Freud, it is a subject that has always fascinated me. He anticipated pretty much all the worst of the last century, but he didn’t live long enough to see the horrors of World War II. And he talked about dreams, fantasies, desires, childhood, all very cinematic themes.


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