Humberto Leon of Opening Ceremony caught up with film maker Sofia Coppola and had a chat about her new film ‘Somewhere’ set to release into cinemas today. Read interview below..
Humberto Leon: I love the title of your movie, Somewhere. Where does it come from?
Sofia Coppola: Thanks. I love Ed Ruscha’s work, so was trying to think of something in that spirit, and the idea is that the main character needs to go somewhere else, but doesn’t know exactly where. It’s the vague idea of somewhere other than where he is right now.
HL: The image you chose for the poster is breathtaking. Can you talk about that image?
SC: That’s from one of my favorite moments in the film, where Stephen Dorff’s character and Elle Fanning, who plays his daughter, take a day off together around the Chateau Marmont, and hang out by the pool instead of going where they’re supposed to. It’s their moment of bonding, poolside. You can see a little of a Gucci billboard behind them in the bushes.
HL: I’m a huge fan of [graphic designer] Peter Miles. Have you worked with him before?
SC: Yes, he’s great – he did my poster and titles for Lost in Translation and Marie-Antoinette. I love working on projects with him. We’re planning to do a little book series.
HL: What are your favorite film posters of all time?
SC: Oh, I love the original Lolita poster, and the ones for Bruce Weber’s films.
HL: You have mentioned that Paper Moon served as an influence for this film. Were you a fan of the original Ryan and Tatum O’Neal partnership? In a larger sense, what interests you about a father/daughter relationship?
SC: I loved them in that movie. It’s like a buddy movie with a father and daughter. They have a sweet relationship in that it isn’t sappy. I based the character on my friend’s 12-year-old daughter who adores her dad, but keeps her cool.
HL: Costume design and soundtracks for your films have always been instantly iconic and very reflected. Can you discuss those two elements in this film?
SC: I get into those elements of putting a movie together. I like working with costume designers because I have specific ideas about the characters from when I’m writing it. And I like to listen to music when I’m writing. It helps me get into the mood I want the film to have. A lot of times, some of the songs I listen to when writing end up in the film.
HL: Is there a history or magic to Los Angeles that you tried to tap into?
SC: LA is like nowhere else. I tried to capture the feeling of the place, the light, driving around, the Chateau Marmont where the main character lives. I think that hotel has a romantic and decadent feeling of history.
HL: What is your relationship to the Chateau Marmont? Do you remember when you first visited it?
SC: I vaguely remember going there as a kid, but most of my memories are from hanging out there in my early 20s when I lived in LA and was going to CalArts. The nice parking guy, Ray, is still there. He’s in the movie for a second. And I’ve stayed there over the years. One of my most vivid memories was meeting Helmut Newton in the elevator one morning. He was in a grey sweatsuit coming from the gym. I was excited to meet him because he was a hero of mine, and I was glad to thank him for a photo he had sent me… Then, I left the hotel and when I came back, his car was crashed into the wall at the entrance with flowers around it.
HL: The casting of Stephen Dorff created some waves since he hasn’t been thought of as a leading man in some time. What was the idea behind casting Stephen and what was it like working with him?
SC: He came to mind when I was writing this. I met him years ago through a friend. I thought he would be perfect to play this guy. I think he’s a great actor and a sweet guy – and that sweetness comes through and helps you want to watch him, otherwise you might not care about this pretty flawed character.
HL: A lot of this film revolves around the young actress, Elle Fanning. What is Elle like, and what other actresses does she remind you of?
SC: She’s great, really smart and funny and full of life, and I love that she’s a real kid, excited about what she’s going to be for Halloween and ballet class.
HL: What are some of your favorite child performances of history?
SC: Ponette – that amazing performance by a 4 year old? Paper Moon, of course. Jodi Foster in Taxi Driver. And I loved the kids in The White Ribbon.
HL: You were the first American female director to win the Golden Lion for this film, which is so exciting. Who is your favorite female director?
SC: Really? I’ve always loved Jane Campion. And I was inspired by Chantal Ackerman for this film.
HL: How has your sense of style changed over the years?
SC: Oh, I don’t know, I try to dress more like a grown up these days.
HL: Do you have a favorite song of all time?
SC: Can’t pick one, but I have a soft spot for “Honeymoon” by Phoenix. That song made me have a crush on my current boyfriend, who sang it. I remember driving around LA listening to it.
HL: What childrens’ movies are you looking forward to watching with your daughter?
SC: It’s fun to watch movies I’ve forgotten about. Recently she’s been really into the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I loved The Thief of Baghdad as a kid. My dad loved it – he had a print and would screen it for us. I want to show her that when she’s a little older (the color Michael Powell version). Oh and my brother and I loved Bugsy Malone.
HL: Which actors and actresses would you love to work with that you haven’t yet?
SC: Oh I don’t know, my cousin, Nicolas Cage. I like Kirsten Stewart and Mia Wasikowska.
HL: Which movie could you watch over and over?
SC: Sixteen Candles.
HL: What are your favorite spots in Los Angeles? New York?
SC: I like The Polo Lounge in LA, Shake Shack in Madison Square Park, and Bemelman’s Bar in The Carlyle in NYC.
Somewhere is in theaters on December 22, 2010.