Guillermo del Toro talks to Jane Campion: Dog Power, The Dark Side and How to love Netflix

2022-05-06 0 By

Jane Campion wanted to apologize for not replying to your letter that weekend because I was ill.She said, “I have food poisoning.”She was not apologizing to her publicist or manager, nor was she one of The dozens of Netflix staffers who have accompanied her around The world since September to present her latest film, “The Power of The Dog,” before film festivals and Oscar voters.2021).No, the person Campion emailed to apologize to was…Guillermo del Toro.Since the two had arranged to talk about their latest film, del Toro’s adaptation of “Nightmare Alley,” a dark thriller based on William Lindsay Gresham’s 1946 novel,2021) and a few hours before the film’s New York premiere — which could get awkward.But luckily, the Oscar-winning director was not in the least offended.”I want food poisoning, too,” Del Toro quipped, patting his stomach. “It’s the only way I can lose weight.”Even the most discerning cinephiles can’t resist the work Campion and Del Toro have dedicated over the course of their careers.In order to concentrate on the TELEVISION series Top of the Lake, she shot The Piano (1993), The Portrait of a Lady (1996) and In the Cut,2003) After a decade-long hiatus, she’s back with The Power of The Dog.Ostensibly a Western, the story of two brothers (Played by Benedict Cumberbatch and Jesse Plemons) and the woman in between (Kirsten Dunst),But it is more interested in a corrosive masculinity and the repressed emotions it engenders.Del Toro swept The Oscars with 2017’s “The Shape of Water,” though he may find himself on The podium again for his new film, “The Dark Side,”It’s about a circus solicitor (Bradley Cooper) whose relentless pursuit of wealth and women (Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett) ends in tragedy.Like “Dog Power,” “My Face” transcends its genre and exposes the rotten core of the so-called American dream.The two Directors, who have long admired each other, have been asked by Variety’s Directors on Directors column to talk about their own new film, and their exchange will be filmed as a memento. (Mr. Campion, who hates being filmed, isn’t too happy about it.)”I wish we could communicate without cameras,” she told Mr. Del Toro. “That would be more fun.”Though nervous in front of the camera, Campion was warmed by the ebullient Del Toro, who brightened up as they discussed everything from the rise of streaming services to an analysis of Jung’s dreams.All of this culminated in del Toro inviting her to the world premiere of “The Mask” that night in New York.But she had to attend a screening of her own Film, Dog Power, at the same time, so she couldn’t attend, a reminder of how hard it is to get into an Oscar race.Brent Lang (Guillermo Del Toro) : I’ve heard a lot about the impact of streaming, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.Jane Campion: Today is the day our movie “Dog Power” begins streaming in 190 countries through Netflix, the streaming giant.It was a very strange thing because it was happening in everyone’s house and I didn’t even feel it.It’s all very difficult to grasp, so I’m really grateful that the film went to the festival and allowed me to experience their experience among the audience.Movies are my gift to the world, and I want to see people open them.Del Toro: Directing is a lonely profession.You’re the one who lights up the bar and cleans up the vomit at the end of the day.So — you like to see customers somewhere!Campion: You can also use the delivery service analogy: as one of their users, I’m like a prostitute.A restless little thing.I read on my iPad, but I never watch movies on my phone.Del Toro: Of course not.Campion: That’s the limit.If it is a special filmmaker, I will go to the cinema to see his films.Del Toro: That beautiful and moving experience in the cinema, I hope it will never go away.It goes up and down.And I have to say, in my own experience, I’ve been able to get funding for projects that I would never have been able to film because of [streaming service] support.I can have really crazy ideas, say, stop-motion animation for Pinocchio (2022) during the rise of Mussolini.Campion: Stop motion?You mean like a puppet?Del Toro yes.I did it because Netflix gave it the green light [to release the film at the end of 2022].Campion: I’m six years old now, but when I look back at my past or look at my life, I can remember moments, highlights that are frozen in my mind.Part of it happens in the cinema.When I recall these memorable moments, I can remember where I was sitting in the cinema and even what I was wearing.This is part of my encapsulated memories.And I worry that if we watch everything at home on TV, there’s nothing special about it.They melt into one and are indistinguishable.Del Toro: The biggest difference for me is that we control the TV.Cinemas are in charge of us.And we just obey.Campion: That’s good.You must obey.I also want to agree with you that if Netflix didn’t step up and say, “We’re willing to take this risk,” this movie wouldn’t have a chance to get made.A lot of people told me THAT I was making a Western, and that would hold me back because it’s true, but it’s not true.I really want to talk to you about your understanding of the genre, because it’s very complicated, but you use it with great ease.It’s like you own it.Del Toro: People have been saying that The Dark Side is a film noir.But what I’m trying to say is, well, it’s film noir in some ways.For me, film noir is a philosophy of disappointment, collapse and existentialism.It’s entirely because so much of the time in these kinds of movies is in the hands of the characters themselves — they have to make choices.This is a very squeamish genre.Campion: My friend, the richness of detail in your film has been breathtaking.It’s a feast, really.I don’t think I’m as prepared as you are.I was still scared when I got on set.You know what?It’s like I’ve been fucking trying to prepare, I’ve been trying to do everything, and I still don’t feel like I know how to do it.I drove to the set with my assistant, and I sat in the car and I said, “I don’t know what to do.I had forgotten how to film.”He said, ‘Jane, we’re going to do the same thing we always do.We’re gonna put the camera up there.We’re going to put some people in front of the camera and we’re going to film it.”I said, “Oh, ok.You’re right.”And as soon as that camera went up, I suddenly became active.The world you created is so beautiful that I want to live in it.Is your house like this?Del Toro: My house is like an exploding view of my brain.Campion: I read that you want a room where it rains all the time.Is it true?Del Toro: Yeah, next time you’re in Los Angeles, I’ll show you around.I mean, I’ve always been fascinated by how accurately and sharply you portray men.Every time I see one of your movies, it affects me.I found it precise, but at the same time sympathetic and cruel.That is to say, it is brutal.But in this movie, Benedict’s character Phil has an aura that I couldn’t have imagined him playing before I saw the movie.But you did it.How did you choose him?Campion: Because I know Benedict is an amazing actor.He was a very charming man, very intelligent, and he was hungry for knowledge.I just don’t want to be disappointed by someone who walks into a studio without any preparation.I need someone who wants that.We had to do some spiritual experiences together, some work that took us a step further than normal.I asked around, and I found a woman named Kim Gillingham, who could interpret dreams, and who was a protege of Sandra Seacat and Marion Woodman,She is a truly remarkable Canadian Jungian Therapy.Del Toro: Three of my favorite words: Canadian Jungian therapist.I’m in.And ice cream.Campion: I was involved.I really felt we had to shape him psychologically, and I needed to be open to the depth of the story.It’s like I’m kind of sitting in this amazing Thomas Savage novel thinking, “Oh, my God, how do I get into this?”And we do that through our dreams.Del Toro: What do you mean?Campion: I had some dreams;Write them all down.With these words I met Kim.She told me to lie down, put on soothing music, and set up other cozy indoor Settings.She then started with the script to facilitate discussions between me as Phil and Jane, the director.The first question she asked was, “Jane, you’re Phil.So, as Phil, what do you want to tell Jane, what does she need to know to tell your story?”I immediately said, “Well, that bitch has to be real.She had to take off her little white coat of reason and dirty it.Just leave it in the mud, because it’s true.”I spoke in a very stern tone.I was too hard on Jane the director.Have you ever done anything like this?Del Toro: Well, I do that through my biography.I write biographies for characters that are mostly useless after seven days of shooting.But I go into as much detail as I can: their horoscopes;What to eat and what not to eat;What you like, what you don’t like.Sometimes they can be useful for actors.Sometimes an actor gets into a character by doing that and then he can get out of it.But I find that most of the time, I like to think THAT I’m writing a part of myself.Everything we do is self-portrait in a strange way.But what I find fascinating about this work is that what you do is to internalize the character.Benedict’s footsteps, for example, could not have been accidental;When he comes up the steps, he has metronome masculinity, that’s how he expresses himself.It’s an interesting character because he’s very direct and real, because he’s also holding back something that he can’t reveal.Campion: Phil can be a scary person because he can attack you relentlessly. He can talk to you.On the other hand, which I like better, there’s a poetic seriousness about him.It’s a very, very exciting element when people aren’t afraid to say what they want.Del Toro: When we look at people authentically, they are Windows.When we watch them lie, they are the mirror.And what we hate about ourselves is reflected in it.Campion: I’m sitting here with you, an expert on emotional monsters, and I love monsters.I noticed how often the subject of fathers came up in The Story.Is that something you wanted to explore in this film?Del Toro: My father died after I made The Shape of Water, but this movie is not about my father.My father and I got along really well, but it was also a shadow: How do you explore your relationship with your father?Every time I make a movie, I think to what extent can I really reflect myself?And Bradley Cooper’s character is a guy who decides to lie and become a populist, and he’s never satisfied in the movies.And that’s what attracted me.When people ask me what it’s about, I say It’s about the American dream.Because for most people, the “American Dream” is a nightmare.One of the myths I fear most is the belief in success.It was torture.Campion: So you’ve been tortured a lot lately.And we’re gonna keep doing that, right?Del Toro: Coffee in the rain house.Mexican director and screenwriter, who won an Academy Award for Best Director for The Shape of Water (2017).On the Run: On The Run: No Newer Articles