Kirsten Dunst, Rashida Jones Talk About First Loves in New Calvin Klein Underwear Campaign

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In the new Calvin Klein Underwear campaign, Sofia Coppola directs actresses and models in black and white clips talking about their first kisses and crushes, each concluding with the phrase, “Calvin Klein or nothing at all.”

Kirsten Dunst, who’s in Coppola’s upcoming film Beguiled and has had a working relationship with the director since 1999’s The Virgin Suicides, talked about her first kiss, which happened in an elevator at the Washington Monument and came out of nowhere.

 

“I was in love with his best friend, so I was really upset afterwards,” Dunst explained. In another clip, Kirsten reflects on how Coppola had always loved her unusually pointy teeth, and how she’s a little sad that they’re “fixed” now after she chipped one of them.

Rashida Jones, another model for the campaign, tells the story of stalking a British actor she’d developed a crush upon, and leaving her beeper number outside his trailer.

 

 

“Sir, please, if you would, to reach me on my beeper number,” laughs Jones.

Other models in the campaign include Laura Hutton, Nathalie Love, Maya Hawke (daughter of Ethan), Laura Harrier, and Chase Sui Wonder.

Jesse Plemons Joins Kirsten Dunst’s ‘Bell Jar’ Movie

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If you didn’t know Kirsten Dunst was making her feature-length directorial debut with a film adaptation of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, now you do. And Dunst’s real-life boyfriend and former Fargo co-star, Jesse Plemons, has just signed on to play the role of Lenny Shepherd.

Dakota Fanning is already set to star as Esther Greenwood, the lead character in Plath’s only full-length novel. No other casting decisions have yet been revealed.

Dunst is working with Nellie Kim to co-write the film, set for release next year.

Dunst has directed two short films in the past: Welcome, starring Winona Ryder, which Dunst also wrote, and Bastard, which was nominated for Best Narrative Short at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Behind the Cannes Curtain with Festival Jurors

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The Tree of Life

While the Cannes Film Festival douses the south of France with its high art cinema, like a sea spray wafting up from the region’s infamous mistral winds (plus movie stars, yachts and everything that comes with them), we get a glimpse at the elite festival’s jury. Among this year’s nine jurors is Kirsten Dunst, who proclaims being excited to “hash it out” with her comrades. Joining Dunst is jury president George Miller (Mad Max), Mads Mikkelson, Valeria Golina, Vanessa Paradis and Donald Sutherland. 

The festival is always mum on how it chooses its illustrious Palme d’Or winner each year, but THR delves into the methodologies of some past jury presidents. Steven Spielberg and Isabelle Adjani led with discipline and intense viewing schedules. Former jury head Atom Egoyan recalls watching great films, sharing meals and stories, while realizing: “We had wildly different tastes when it came to making a decision.” Back in the ’60s, Henry Miller spent more time playing golf than ruling the jury with an iron fist and some jurors recall situations when awards were given without even debating or adhering to a voting structure. This is not 12 Angry Men. Power plays in a place like Cannes. 

Check out interviews with last year’s jurors, here, and watch trailers for the past five Palme d’Or winners, below. As far as I’m concerned, at least two were undoubtably worthy winners.


The Tree of Life, 2011

Amour, 2012

Blue is the Warmest Color, 2013

Winter Sleep, 2014

Dheepan, 2015

Looking Back on Cinema’s Most Captivating Unhinged Women

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“Even so, I must admire your skill. You are so gracefully insane,” says Anne Sexton’s poem “Elegy in the Classroom.” And throughout cinematic history we’ve seen countless characterizations of women on the verge of a nervous breakdown, in the throws of psychosis, or those who have completely lost their footing in the world. These roles—from Mabel Longhetti in John Cassavetes’ A Woman Under the Influence to Kirsten Dunst in Lars von Trier’s Melancholia—create poignant vehicles in which women can dive down into the depths of their own souls and bring forth some of the most incredible performances of their career.   

This weekend, Woody Allen’s latest summer film Blue Jasmine premieres, and for the myriad reasons why this is one of his best films in years, it’s undeniable that Cate Blanchett and the completely bewitching performance she gives is by far the most enticing part. In my review of the film, I said noted that: In the way that you felt exhausted—both physically and emotionally—after seeing Joaquin Phoenix’s performance as Freddie Quell in Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master—the actor’s stamina in the role a marvel to watch—I left my screening of Blue Jasmine feeling more shaky and distressed than when I entered, my own anxiety and emotions unraveled by Blanchett’s bewitching performance.   

And as the best part of truly enjoying a film is to leave with that sort of strong physical reaction, we’ve decided to take a look back at some of the best unhinged female performances onscreen. From the terribly ill and psychologically possessed to those caught in the throws of everyday life’s small trauma, here are some of our favorites. Center your emotions and enjoy.

Gena Rowlands as Mabel Longhetti in A Woman Under the Influence

A housewife amidst an emotional breakdown who loves deeply but cannot express properly the pain within her heart.  

 

Béatrice Dalle as Betty Blue in Betty Blue

A volatile and highly-sexual woman who, after experiencing an emotional trauma, mentally unravels never to return.  

 

Julianne Moore as Linda Partridge in Magnolia

A pill-popping housewife who finally realizes her misdoings on her husband’s deathbed.    

Kirsten Dunst as Justine Melancholia

A manic depressive who finds herself finally at peace as the world comes to an end. 

 

Harriet Andersson as Karin in Through a Glass Darkly

A young woman recently released from the mental hospital suffers from hysteria on vacation with her husband and father.

   

Naomi Watts as Betty Elms / Diane Selwyn in Mulholland Drive

A possessed and devastated woman has become the shell of a person struggling to exist outside of a nightmare.

   

Ellen Burstyn as Sara Goldfarb in Requiem for a Dream

A lonely and self-conscious mother thinks she’s found the way to regain youth and admiration and loses her mind in the pursuit.

   

Isabella Rossellini as Dorothy Vallens in Blue Velvet

An emotionally unstable and horrifically frightened woman at the center of a murder.  

 

Bibi Andersson as Alma in Persona

A nurse put in charge of a mentally ill woman who finds their psyches melding into one.  

Gena Rowlands as Myrtle Gordon in Opening Night

An aging actress has an emotional and existential crisis after realizing her own morality and is haunted by the ghost of youth.

   

Candace Hilligoss as Mary Henry in Carnival of Souls

After a traumatic accident a woman is beckonded and possessed by an abandoned carnival.  

Elizabeth Taylor as Martha Who’s Afraid of Virgina Woolf

A mercurial aging woman in the throws of domestic turmoil.  

 

Charlotte Gainsbourg as She in Antichrist

A distressed, grieving woman goes to the woods with her husband and succumbs to the evils of nature.    

Margit Carstensen as Petra von Kant in The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant

An absolutely shattered, selfish woman hopelessly in love with a woman whose affections have waned.   

Theresa Russell as Milena Flaherty in Bad Timing

A highly-emotional and volatile woman in love with a stoic man whose repressed urges push her away and lead her to a breakdown.

 

Julianne Moore as Carol White in Safe

An affluent housewives grows increasingly ill and falls prey to chemical sensitivity.  

 

Laura Dern as Nikki Grace / Susan Blue in Inland Empire

The world becomes a surreal nightmare when an actress adopts a persona.  

Juliette Binoche as Julie Vignon – de Courcy in Three Colors: Blue

A woman grieving the death of her husband and child.

Full ‘Anchorman 2’ Trailer Voids Any Hope For Funny Sequel

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In the pantheon of somewhat amusing things run into the ground by an appalling fan base, the first Anchorman film certainly has a place of pride. Its admittedly enjoyable premise—satirizing the sexual mores of the 1970s with three-degrees less subtlety than Mad Men employs when mocking the 1960s—became something for fratty, Family Guy-watching bros to quote without the slightest sense of irony. Anchorman 2 should almost definitely make things worse.

Even for a sequel, the set-up here is drab: instead of the 1970s, it’s the 1980s, because times change and also they ran out of 1970s jokes in the first movie. The original news team—Ron, Champ, Brian and Brick, and maybe the newswoman played by Christina Applegate, if they remember—set out to create a 24-hour news channel, so expect lots of potshots at CNN. Thankfully, the network fully deserves them.

The flip side to this plot is Will Ferrell’s terminally-oblivious Ron Burgundy is dating a black woman, which gives him the opportunity to spout racist commentary at dinner with her extended family. Humor! What remains to be seen is which of the seemingly hundreds of cameos will be worst: the cast, according to IMDb, includes Nicole Kidman, Liam Neeson, Kirsten Dunst, Sacha Baron Cohen, Harrison Ford, Kanye West, Greg Kinnear, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler, none of whom exactly need to lend their name to trash like this. Okay, maybe Kanye. 

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Rachel Shukert’s Blissful ‘Starstruck’ Brings Back the Golden Age of Hollywood

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I don’t read a lot of young adult fiction, but when I found out my friend Rachel Shukert was penning a trilogy of novels about young Hollywood starlets in the 1930s, I knew it was right up my alley. Known for her two hilarious memoirs, Have You No Shame and Everything Is Going to Be Great, as well as the fantastic recaps of the ill-fated Smash on Vulture, Shukert brings an astounding voice to her writing, one that is both irreverently raucous and sweetly endearing. Starstruck, Shukert’s first foray into fiction, embodies all of her traits, and it’s a fantastic look at the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Focusing on a trio of young women (Margo Sterling, Amanda Farraday, and Gabby Preston), Starstruck brings alive those now-mythical years of movie-making with a campy behind-the-scenes look at the stars that caught the attention of the average American as well as the studio heads who capitalized on them. Think of it as Valley of the Dolls starring Shirley Temple—it mixes the seediness of showbiz drama with the melodiousness chase of stardom.

This week, Rachel Shukert and I corresponded via email to talk about her obsession with old Hollywood, her ideal audience, and how the nature of celebrity has changed over the last century.

What about this time period inspired you to write about it?
Well, look, since I was a startlingly small child, I’ve been moderately to massively obsessed with old movies and the idea of Golden Age Hollywood, the stars, all of that stuff–the glamor of it, the secrets, and the incredible confluence of insanely talented people working in Hollywood at the time. I love stories about show biz back when it was show biz, you know, and people lived out these huge larger than life stories, and all this seamy stuff happened behind the scenes. It was something I always wanted to be a part of. 

But in a more general sense, I think the ’30s are my favorite era. You can kind of see most of the 20th century as series of reactions to various disasters. The frivolity and the decadence of the ’20s was a direct reaction to World War I and the Spanish flu and all this death and destruction; it was like, honey badgers no longer gave a shit. And then you can also look at the kind of proscribed suburbanism and conformity of the ’50s and early ’60s as this direct response to the horrors of World War II, where the world looked straight into the heart of darkness and responded by regressing into this weird, repressed, idealized kind of childhood where nothing bad could ever happen again as long as you had the right vacuum cleaner and Mother didn’t work and everybody forgot that sexual intercourse of any sort existed (or at least never acknowledged so verbally.) But in the ’30s, everyone was dealing with the Depression, and just didn’t have the time for self-delusion, so everything was very self-consciously sophisticated and witty and cynical and hard-boiled. There was a frankness in the culture that appeals to me. Unless, of course, you were one of the increasing number of people seeking refuge in one of the ascendant ‘isms’—you know, like fascism. Which is also one of my favorite things about this period, as you know, and as I’ve written about. I never get tired of Nazi stuff. Hollywood and Hitler were my two favorite things to read about/think about when I was a kid. They remain so to this day. I don’t think the fact that they were both ascendant at the same time is exactly incidental to my interest in either. 

Who were some of the real-life starlets you used as inspiration for your cast of characters? 
Well, the obvious one is Judy Garland, who is almost entirely the basis for Gabby Preston, and who is my favorite actress of all time. Margo Sterling has a little bit of Lana Turner in her, particularly in the way she is discovered [at Schwab’s Pharmacy in Hollywood], but she also has some of that classic society girl thing, like a Gene Tierney or a Dina Merrill. Amanda Farraday is a little bit Rita Hayworth, a little Hedy Lamarr, mixed with a lot of shadowy rumors that there were about a lot of stars at this time, that they had these kind of scandalous pasts the studios would try to cover up. But except for Gabby, none of them are really based on any one person, it’s sort of lots of little bits of things. And no matter how you try to base a character on someone, they take on a life of their own, and that life is almost always reflective of you in some way. So they’re all loosely based on the real-life starlet Rachel Shukert. 

I know you started acting in Omaha as a girl—did any of those experiences make their way into the novel? Did you base any of your characters on your young adult self?
Ha, see above! I mean, yes, of course they did. Not in a hugely literal way, but that feeling of desperately wanting more, of being sure you’re destined for great things, that has a lot to do with me as a young (or younger!) adult. And Margo’s fantasy life, the way she is constantly referencing these movies in her head, and how they inform her behavior, that has a lot to do with me as well. And obviously, I know the feeling of auditioning, of that incredible anxiety that I think actors—especially younger actors—have that they’re falling behind, that it’s not happening for them, that it’s never going to happen, that everybody else has what they want (and should rightfully be theirs): that’s all very personal. But for me, the most painful realization in my acting was getting out of drama school and realizing that I had zero interest in being an actual actress in New York in the 2000s, that all I had ever really wanted was to be a movie star in Hollywood in the 1930s. So the book was therapeutic in that way.  

Starstruck is the first part of a series—how far have you written, and can you give us any details for where these characters are headed?
I’ve finished the second book, and am working on the third now. I don’t know how much I can tell you without totally giving away the ending of Starstruck, but I will say, the overarching theme of the whole series is really about finding yourself as an artist. So all of the characters are going to go through a kind of a period of refining, of figuring out that what they’re good at isn’t necessarily what they thought they wanted—and that goes for love as well. Margo has had this dizzying rise—now what? Can she sustain it? And more importantly, does she want to? Gabby is going to push more boundaries, trying to prove to everyone that she’s a grown-up, and we’ll see how that conflicts with her talent and potential. Amanda is trying to pick up the pieces of her life and move forward with some dignity, but it’s not working that well. I’ll tell you this, it’s all very juicy. We’ve only peeled back the first few layers of the onion–there are still a lot of secrets to be revealed. There’s more sex, more drugs, more jazz. Things are about to get very "Hollywood Babylon" up in this shit. Minus the Black Dahlia murders and speculation about lesbian incest between the Gish sisters. You know what I mean. 

What was it like to write a novel, since your first two books were memoirs? Was it a challenge to write for a younger audience? 
Honestly, the biggest thing was having to continually remind myself that I could make stuff up. That sounds stupid, but when you’re writing a memoir, the challenge is that all the pieces are there, and it’s your job to figure out the most pleasing, most effective way to arrange them. If something doesn’t fit, you can leave it out, but you can’t change it, you know? And with this, sometimes I would get to a point in the story where I’d be like, this isn’t working, and I would actually have to say out loud: "Fine, so make them do something else!" The other thing, which I didn’t expect, is how protective I would become of these characters, in a way that I never was about myself when I was the main character. It’s weird, it’s very maternal, sort of helicopter-mom like. Are they getting enough attention? Do people love them enough? DON’T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT MY BABIES! If someone doesn’t like the book—and this, thankfully, hasn’t really happened much—I am furious on their behalf, not mine. It’s insane. 

As for a young audience, I mean yes. There are many fewer dick jokes in this book than there have been in my past works. There are, however, a lot more super-queeny Joan Crawford jokes, which I know are VERY relevant to this generation. Let’s just be honest: I wrote this book for members of the drama club and middle-aged gay men. Fin. 

Back to the Old Hollywood setting of Starstruck: do you see a lot of similarities in the way stars were manufactured in the past as they are now?
I think it’s totally different, actually, which is part of what I like about the old studio system. You would go into this sparkle-factory, and come out an entirely different person—new name, new look, whatever they needed you to be, that’s what they’d make you. There’s this inherent unreality to that culture, with these larger-than-life stars, that feels so foreign now to what the fame-industrial complex has become. Now, it’s all about "authenticity." We want stars to be "just like us." They have to be relatable, and if they’re not, they have to be punished. In a certain way (and a very tacky way) I actually think reality stars have become more like what old Hollywood stars were—these personalities that people gossip about, who are basically actors playing some bigger, more dramatic version of themselves. The whole Bravolebrity concept, where we obsess about these characters like they’re real, their relationships with each other–that has really replaced the daytime soap world, which I think was the closest corollary to the old Hollywood star system. But each iteration becomes somehow less than—it’s like Xeroxing a Xerox. You go from real stars to soap opera characters to like, Kyle Richards, and it’s all because of our obsession with the "real," which I think is really a kind of cultural sickness. We’ve become so unimaginative. 

If you were to cast actors to play these roles in a movie version of Starstruck, who would you pick?
Oooh, my favorite question!!! Who would you pick? 

Clever, lady! I could see a Taylor Swift-type (begrudgingly) as Margo, and part of me wanted to imagine Kirsten Dunst as Amanda Farraday (and a little bit with Diana Chesterfield). I could totally see Chloe Grace-Moretz as Gabby, too. 
I LOVE Chloe Grace Moretz for Gabby! She’s adorable and just very slightly evil, which is perfect. Can she sing? I demand to know if she can sing. I also like the idea of Kirsten Dunst as Diana Chesterfield, because she needs to be a bit older, and a little bit like, I’ve seen it, oh the things that I have seen. That’s perfect. For Margo, you know, you want this kind of lovely ingénue who can have a little bit of an edge and not be boring. I think Elle Fanning looks really right, but she’s still a few years too young. But by the time anyone makes this, she’ll be perfect. Or Saoirse Ronan, who has a kind of gawkiness that I like, and always seems smart. For Amanda, you need someone who is tough, but also vulnerable, sort of hard and soft at the same time. I like Emilia Clarke, Mother of Dragons. She’d be good, if she dyed her hair red. Or Juno Temple, who actually has red hair already! Budget saver!

Confirmed: About 450 People Want Meryl Streep to Play Hillary Clinton in a Movie

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Sometimes I am sad that strangers do not call me on the phone to ask me who I think should play Hillary Clinton in a movie. I am an expert on dream-casting! But let’s be serious: I would never answer my phone, and I bet pollsters don’t leave voicemails. Anyway, it’s clear that I was not one of the 1,179 adults who were asked to pick an actress to play Hillary Clinton in a possible movie about her life. Forty percent of those people said Meryl Streep, duh. But let’s look at the other options: Glenn Close? Ha! Nice try. Susan Sarandon? Do you people have eyeballs that work? Helen Mirren? Yeah, maybe a movie about Hillary on her death bed? Kirsten Dunst? Connie Britton? Who are you people?! [via Politico]

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Who Will Be Snubbed At Next Year’s Oscars?

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We are knee-deep in Awards Season, and with this morning’s announcement of the Golden Globe nominations, it seems clear that we have a predictable Oscars race on our hands. Blah blah blah Lincoln Argo Zero Dark Thirty Silver Linings Playbook, blah blah blah Anne Hathaway Joaquin Phoenix Jessica Chastain Daniel Day-Lewis. Every year there are a handful of folks who seem to go unnoticed in the wake of the heavy-hitters and the PR campaigns behind those bigger, obvious Oscar-baiting movies. Here’s a list of actors who are worth a second look. 

Dwight Henry, Beasts of the Southern Wild

An audience favorite over the summer, the film has probably suffered in the awards race because it was released so early in the year. (If it’s on DVD by Christmas, odds are the academy will ignore it.) Sure, "independent movies" seem to do well at the Oscars, but… HA HA HA, just kidding. What, did you think it’s the ’90s all of a sudden? This scrappy little favorite is full of surprising turns from unprofessional, untrained actors, and, let’s face it, they’ve handed out enough awards to people of color in the last few years, so you should expect the five nominees for Best Actor to be from movies like Argo, The Master, Lincoln, et cetera. It’s a shame, however, because Henry’s performance broke my heart. Let’s just hope he continues with this late-in-life acting career and shows up in a few more movies.

Kirsten Dunst, Bachelorette

Let’s face it: Kirsten Dunst should have been nominated last year for her brilliant and dark role in Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia. Luckily, that setback didn’t stop her. As Regan, a viciously mean maid of honor, Dunst made a welcome return to the world of comedy. What Bachelorette offered, compared to other female-driven comedy, was an underlying meanness and bite and is woefully lacking (see, for example, Bridesmaids, which received accolades for its gross-out humor rather than its believability). Writer-director Leslye Headland examined more about wedding culture and modern womanhood in an hour and a half than most people (both men and women) can fit into two hours. Holding it all together, though, was Dunst’s pitch-perfect combination of toughness and vulnerability, a combination not usually seen so openly on film. 

Ezra Miller, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Films made for and about teenagers are rarely any good. Even those John Hughes movies from the ’80s were more goofy than serious (with the exception, possibly, of The Breakfast Club). I was dubious about The Perks of Being a Wallflower, but was really blown away with writer-director Stephen Chbosky’s ability to translate his novel. The film treats its characters like adults rather than patronizing them. Miller’s Patrick could have easily filled the Manic Dream Pixie Gay role—existing solely to bring the main character “out of his shell” by way of flamboyance and zingers. Instead, Perks allows its audience to see Patrick as a three-dimensional character by bringing out his own frustrations and needs. Miller delivers an astounding performance so early in his career that deserves to be recognized at next spring’s ceremony.

Ann Dowd, Compliance

It’s no surprise that middle-aged actresses are pigeonholed into supporting roles that lack any real substance. It’s even worse for character actors who don’t fit into the mainstream ideal of a leading lady. Compliance’s Ann Dowd, who has a long career of smaller roles in big movies (see if you can spot her in films like Philadelphia and Garden State), finally received great notice for Craig Zobel’s meditation on human behavior, earning a Best Supporting Actress award from the National Board of Review and a nod at the Independent Spirit Awards. Will she squeeze it alongside names like Helen Hunt and Anne Hathaway at the Oscars? It’s possible, but it seems unlikely. 

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Leslye Headland Talks About Her Brutally Hilarious ‘Bachelorette’

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Bachelorette is perhaps one of the raunchiest and brutally funny films of the year. Starring Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher, and Lizzy Caplan as a trio of friends begrudgingly acting as bridesmaids in their high school friend’s wedding, the three women spend a manic 90 minutes boozing, drugging, and attempting to relive the best years of their lives while trying not to acknowledge that they’ve become stagnant and broken in their late twenties. But it’s all from the brain of writer-director Leslye Headland, who adapted the screenplay from her stage play, that this disastrous, debauched night has its origins. Rather than going for the typical, Hangover-style treatment of a bachelorette party, Bachelorette takes a hard look at the gluttonous cultures of weddings and femininity. I spoke to Headland about adapting her play for film, it religious roots, and its feminist overtones.

I read the play last night, and I wanted to talk about its origins. It was part of a series of plays you’ve been working on?
The Seven Deadly Plays. Bachelorette was the second play I’d ever written. I was doing them in order, the order they appear in the Divine Comedy: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. What I like to do when I’m writing one of the sin plays is to think about the old idea of the sin. What’s the thing we feel comfortable judging and pointing our fingers at, and what’s the sort of sneaky, new idea that people haven’t really tuned into yet? With Bachelorette, I thought of these really thin, beautiful women, who if you saw walking down the street you’d think, “These girls have their lives together and it makes me feel bad about myself.” I wanted to examine how they are gluttonous through drug addiction, materialism, sexual voraciousness, eating disorders—literally take, take, take, consume, consume, consume. Then there is their friend, Becky, who is moving into adulthood. She’s the one who appears to be the gluttonous one, who you might point at and say she has a problem because she’s overweight. You might feel better about yourself and move on. But she’s the one who’s getting out of the prison that these characters have created for themselves.

What was the response to the play?
We did it at Second Stage in 2010, and the Q&As were like riots. There were these old subscribers who freaked out; they were really angry at me and the play. At first, I was like, “Whoa, why is this upsetting people so much?” In a way, that’s good; you want your work to get a reaction, to have people either think it’s great or think it’s the worst. But I was not prepared for how divisive it was going to be. Luckily, I’ve had enough time to expect that with the film. I don’t read reviews, but I’m telling you now: they’re going to be divisive. There will be the people who love it and really care about it and get the characters and will really champion it, and there will be people who just think it’s trash because that’s exactly what happened with the play. But what’s also happened with the piece, both as a play and as a film, is that the audience it’s meant for always finds it. Ultimately, it will touch people and become their movie, not my movie, the same way that movies have meant something to me because of the first time I saw them.

The film is quite different from the play, especially in tone. You’re much more brutal to the characters in the play. Even Becky comes across as very manipulative, whereas in the film she’s much more sweet and neutral.
We could have made In the Company of Men, or Tape, or Hurlyburly. I came into the project thinking, “I’m going to make one movie, and I’m going to make the movie I want to make.” Fingers crossed, I’ll get to do more, but most female filmmakers don’t even last three movies. What I decided was the strongest thing about the play was the characters, so I asked myself, what movie would these women want to be in? What movie would they fit in? And once I did that, I was like, “What plot are we going to use?” Because the play doesn’t have one. Look, I’m really proud of it but…I even saw it in DC recently—a great production of it—and there’s some stuff that does not work. So I wanted to figure out how I could improve upon it. But I also didn’t want to soften it up.

You have to be more broad on stage, and you don’t have enough time to examine the subtlety of things.
It’s so true, yeah.

I think the film has some small touches that really made those characters more fully realized. I read the play after I’d seen the movie, so I recognized familiar lines and moments that didn’t have the same build-up as in the film.
I think that also that’s another good way of putting it. I had a broader canvas to actually do some stuff with with these characters and—

And put them into action.
Yes, and improve upon it. As you can tell from reading the play, the dress is such a missed opportunity. Literally, I watch it and I’m think, “So did they fix the dress? Did we make a decision on that?” You know, I don’t think that makes it a bad play; I just don’t think it was ever answered. But it’s the beating heart of the movie. It’s like, in every scene, something terrible is going to happen to the dress. This is your ticking clock; you’ve got to get it done by this point. But in the play it’s like, “I don’t know, maybe…New York City fixes it?”

A lot of the reaction I saw to the trailer questioned why there has to be another female-driven comedy about a wedding. Was that a convenient event to center the film around, or was there something you wanted to explore about wedding culture?
I find some of the reactions to the film really fascinating. What always comes up is how they’re such bad friends for ripping the dress. No one says, “It’s so interesting that you had these women destroying a symbol of femininity that seems a bit outdated!” Everyone’s like, "Oh my God, I can’t believe you made them ruin the dress.” I really grossly misunderstood how people care about wedding dresses. I thought everyone would get it, that this was a big metaphor for what was going on, this whole culture that’s being sold to women, and how silly it is. I mean, nobody looks good in white, and there’s this poor girl squeezing herself into this idea of femininity and goodness, and she doesn’t need to because she’s already that way. Weddings seem so absurd to me. It’s just not at all what I want; I’ve never wanted it, I don’t understand how is this the defining moment of your life. I could understand the birth of a child, but spending all that money? What do you think the average that an American white female spends on a wedding? A semester of college or whatever, depending on where you go. One day for that much money. So to set it there just made the most sense to me.

Not to put myself on the same level, but most of the filmmakers that I really love have subverted genres. Those are the guys—and I say “guys” because most of them are men unfortunately—that I lean toward. Here’s Tarantino’s war film, what’s going to happen? How does Kubrick make a horror movie? I wanted to make a wedding movie that wasn’t like the typical wedding movie. If you think of wedding films from the last ten or fifteen years, everybody knows exactly what’s happening at the end of the movie. It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them. You can totally say, “That’s a clever line or that’s a clever obstacle or that’s a great performance,” but at the end, they get together, there’s usually a speech about why they love each other or why they’re such good friends, and then it’s over. With my characters, I just wanted them to do the right thing. I didn’t want them to talk about it; I didn’t want them to apologize. I wanted the audience to have to sit through what owning up to your mistakes is like, because that’s what the characters have to sit through.

I think that works in the film really well. In the play, on the other hand, Regan [Kirsten Dunst’s character] is completely humiliated and broken by the end.
She had to be completely destroyed. She has to be destroyed in the play because each play has a company man—a character that has been so consumed by the sin that they only see in the last five minutes of the play how lost they are. With film, however, you don’t really want to see someone destroyed. No one wants to be sitting there wondering about the esoteric thoughts that I have about being a woman and drug addiction.

Well, you’re a little easy on them in the movie, but at the same time they’re learning from their mistakes without completely changing. But I think that works better in the film because it still has that uncertainty to it. They’re still friends, they’re still fucked up, but they’re at least aware of it a little bit more.
Right, there’s not this huge change but there’s definitely not the punishing vibe of the play. I think as an artist, whether it’s what you do or what I do, when you start looking back you’re fucked. It slows you down. And it’s a little hard to sit through the play now. I’ll probably feel the same way about the movie some day where I can see the things I did wrong and think of all of the things I have learned. But the play was born out of such pain and fear about what was going to happen to me, what was going to happen to all of us. It’s sort of why I called it Bachelorette. There were a couple of people that encouraged me to change the title because the wedding genre, and then of course when Bridesmaids opened we were four weeks away from shooting. But the reason I called it that was because I was like, “We’re fucked. This is the only word we have for these people.” Like, they don’t even have a name. Think of a movie title like Swingers. That’s such a great title, and those guys are trying to be cool but they’e not, and then there’s the swing dancing and it all makes sense. But I couldn’t for the life of me think of one good moniker for these women and who they are that wasn’t punitive. You know what I mean, like Sluts or Bitches, and who would see a movie called that? All we’ve got is this feminized version of this male idea, that’s, by the way, a great thing if you’re a man. If you’re not married and you’re a straight guy, the world is your fuckin’ oyster, but if you’re single and you’re a woman and you’ve got something going for you, it’s just so sad you’re not married yet. It doesn’t make any sense to me. But what do I know? I’m sad and alone.

Speaking of Bridesmaids, your movie is obviously being compared to that based entirely on the concept. And there’s this idea that Bridesmaids and Girls have cornered the market when it comes to female-driven comedies. Have you encountered that and was that a roadblock when it came to producing and publicizing Bachelorette?
I
mean, I do know what you’re saying, and it’s nothing about Kristin [Wiig] or Lena [Dunham], but I think there is this tinge of like, “Okay we got it, you’re funny, relax.” It’s like, don’t get too excited, ladies.

“Women” sort of turned into a trend that was going to eventually fade away.
Right, like, we’ve got a female auteur already, she’s over here. Whereas like you look at the revolution that happened with film in the Easy Riders, Raging Bulls era or what happened in 1999, and you don’t see everyone going, “Ugh, I don’t get it.” Instead of thinking of comparing women to each other or a female auteur’s work to another female writer’s work, I would like to encourage people to maybe just embrace this for something that’s even bigger than just the “trend of women.” This actually might be what everyone keeps bitching about. Instead of going, “Well you don’t fit into…, we’ve already got that…,” have an open mind. As a huge film nerd, all I ever hear is how they don’t make good movies anymore. That is the conversation I have after having sex with everybody. It’s like, I’m wiping come off my stomach and I have to hear about how nobody makes good movies anymore. Jesus Christ, dude, maybe it’s happening right now, and if you weren’t so worried about cornering the market on it, you could let people sort of flourish in their creative spaces. I don’t know. If they don’t, who cares? That’s a really great note to end on.