"It never really seemed so strange to me that some models moved into acting. Recently, there has been even more of a crossover between movies, music and fashion; it’s all become one big blend. When you are in the fashion business, you’re inspired by the things around you. For so many years, you’re being directed by a photographer, and it’s almost like being in a silent movie, constantly acting out emotions with your face, body, expressions – the only thing that separates this from acting is that you don’t speak."
"The original drafts of the film took place in Oakland. I really wanted to shoot in Oakland because it’s a place I haven’t seen on film before," Fleck says. "But logistically it was going to be too difficult to shoot it there."
He is responding to a question about the way he prepared for his "Half Nelson" role — moved to Brooklyn, shadowed a middle school teacher, gave himself an education in the civil rights movement he’d be teaching on screen.
And: "I did a lot of crack, you know. A lot. It was cheap, so it was no big deal — I used my per diem for it," he says with perfect delivery.
"I’m just kidding. I didn’t get per diem."
How did you get your start as an actress?
First I worked as a casting intern, and that was very helpful. It showed me how impersonal personal comments are. And yet when, years later, I went up for a movie and the note came back that I wasnâ€™t sexy, it was a turning point for me. Thereâ€™s no way to fight that criticism. I packed up the car and went to Roswell, New Mexico, with my dog and stayed for three months. Finally I realized that I could say no as easily as they could, and I somehow knew that a good job â€” the right job â€” would change everything, especially how they saw me. For me, that was an independent film called â€œJohnny Suede.â€
It’s my philosophy that the films are going appeal to a wider audience if I make them specifically about us, the people in them, than if I try to make any grand statements about my generation. I think that’s where directors get into trouble, by having characters that are supposed to be bigger than who they are. I’m interested in having my characters play close to themselves. I see no reason to generalize, or to try to speak for a bigger demographic.
In a similar vein, I’m uncomfortable writing roles for women or minorities – I don’t feel it’s my place – and all the actresses in my films write their own material. I refuse to include a token minority simply because my characters are all white. It’s not about seclusion, it’s just a reflection of the white, hipster neighborhood I live in.
His other professional trademark has been traversing the world in search of film financing. Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, he says, was a turning point for him in this respect: "We shot it on Rarotonga, a Pacific island belonging to New Zealand. The director, Oshima, was Japanese. So it occurred to me I could raise money from New Zealand and Japan to get the film made. Suddenly I felt and smelt what the film business was. Something that had been cloudy to me became absolutely clear."
"Jacques [Demy] introduced me to the island in the 1960s," she says. "We married there and bought a holiday home. It was also where I filmed a scene for Jacquot. I asked Jacques if I could film him lying on the beach. By that time he was already very ill but he said yes, as long as I did it alone. I asked him to take a handful of sand and let it slip through his fingers. It was a gesture that was very familiar to him. It’s a lovely sensation, letting the sand trickle through your fingers like that, like time slipping past."
â€œI havenâ€™t seen Capote,â€ Weaver says diplomatically, â€œbut I know our film is very different, more like a sip of champagne than a shot of whisky. Itâ€™s a very eloquent script about what it is to be a writer and the cost of that, and what America expects from its writers. Itâ€™s one of the most beautifully written scripts Iâ€™ve ever read, so I can only hope itâ€™s a rich enough subject to accommodate more than one film.â€
+ Helena Christensen: A model opportunity (Independent)
+ ‘HALF NELSON’ WRESTLES WITH SOCIAL CHANGE (SF Chronicle)
+ Gosling of ‘Half Nelson’: An Un-Hollywood Star (Washington Post)
+ Being Catherine Keener (NY Times Style Magazine)
+ "More excited than I have ever been": Joe Swanberg (Greencine)
+ Last emperor of maverick cinema (Telegraph)
+ Second reel (Guardian)
+ Sigourney heads for inner space (London Times)