Rian Johnson & The Daniels Focus on Directing, Film Genres and New Projects | Conceitedness Comely

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If a good filmmaker makes a movie it's like they've burned the pirate ship into the sea they've used every idea they have they're completely washed up on the shore empty of everything I was going to lead off asking you what led you to want to do the genre that you do with everything everywhere all at once but that means that I would know.

What the genre is of the movie that you did everywhere everything all that was well as a genre wonk what would you as an outside Outsider what would you call our movie it's it's a family drama inside the shell of a sci-fi movie that's how I would kind of encounter that sounds about that's pretty accurate it sounds fun yeah what would your.

Answer be well I I want to steal an answer from the focus group oh okay I get to go to a focus testing that a24 did that sounds really fun I was so nervous that like that they would rip it apart so I wanted to be in the room so I could be like that that kid's an idiot and they were so nice and one dude was like I think it's like an everything.

Bagel and then like a bunch of people were like It's So original I'm like have you ever seen an anime like I think we just did a live action anime or honestly like a lot of the Korean films from the autores of the past 20 years like they're constantly shifting tones in a way that like I I hadn't seen before um I saw like old boy or you know the host.

Right and so this this film the intention was always like it's a family drama that gets interrupted by sci-fi that then gets co-opted by uh the internet swirled in this blender one of the things that really surprised me with the first Knives Out was how you were able to obviously take all the tropes of a murder mystery and just like.

You flipped it like three or four times in that movie which was so fun like where where does that start is that something you find or is it like outside in you're kind of looking like The Mastermind puppet the puppets Master well I mean I think for me it like the the origin of it is actually like kind of going back to the source of of why I.

Wanted to do this in the first place which is my love of Agatha Christie's books and that's like you don't have to go any further for inspiration than to go back to the source you look at the the characters in their books are cracking jokes about detective uh cliches all the time what are you saying is you just stole it all you haven't.

Come up with anything yeah still for the best do you know the ending before you start writing because your stuff is such a weird engineered machine I have to not just the ending I need to so I the first 80 maybe 90 of the process for me of the real work is just working in little.

Notebooks outlining so I have the whole thing road map out before I sit down and type a single word otherwise I'll if I if I start typing too early I'll just get lost in the woods I'd assumed you guys are you guys similar or you guys start typing like we I think we're still figuring out how to write but like we throw so much at the wall.

There's like a chalkboard drawing of like 20 different timelines all stacked of every single Universe I do think that like for us the structure is where the thesis of the film emerges yeah and so yeah for us like if it was an essay like our film was trying to say like look the first half is a um Chosen One The Matrix style hero's.

Journey and the second half is just completely a refracting explosion of that story it's it's uh you you are no one you know it's like we are all no one and yet maybe that there's still something worth holding on to there yeah and so from a very from the very beginning we knew we wanted our film to as you said earlier like eat itself.

Right it kind of Tears itself apart yeah um which was a really fun challenge to us because we didn't know how we were going to pull it off I don't know how we're gonna do that we're like we're not good enough filmmakers to do that yet but maybe obviously you are no no bigger by the time we were finished with it maybe we could figure it out out.

It makes me so happy to you to hear you talking about structure as a element of creative and thematic a creative and somatic element of it and there are writers who fear structure thinking that it robs the soul from some kind of inspired journey and or that it's a necessary evil where it's something where it's just a cold kind of hard one.

Of those screenwriting Like rules that I love to actually follow is the fact that like the Midway point is when the film reveals itself to you and so you look at psycho I always think I think of psycho as a great example of using structure for thesis the first half of the movie you're following someone second half the movie they're dead and so you're like oh.

Uh not even you are safe if you are the protagonist of your own story not even you are safe when you get in the edit how much does the writing process continue in the edit with a movie like yours like is it is it everything broken again and then put back together in different ways or do you very much stick to what you thought it was going to be.

Kind of we stuck to it and then we just started diagnosing problems Galore and spent a year trying to fix those problems and stress testing like what we'd done um and there were like I feel I feel like that was one of the most humbling things about feature filmmaking uh that we learned was just.

How much of a unpredictable ripple effect there is it's an organic animal it's like diagnosing a cow and you're like oh my God there's something that we changed in the first 10 minutes that has now ruined the finale how did that happen one question I want to ask is just like your process on on set with your crew.

With your cast we worked with Jamie Lee Curtis after she worked with you on knives out and she had nothing but amazing things to say specifically about like the way that um when they were shooting or when they even when they weren't shooting no one actually went to their trailers because everyone just wanted to hang out like what is yeah.

Yeah what's your what's your take on the director's role in that on Vibes you know I mean yeah I think it divides like tone like you guys talked about tone with writing I feel like tone is also a huge part of of directing and it's it's setting the tone on set it's making it feel like a comforting warm inviting safe environment and also communicating.

Making sure everyone's oriented and knows what we're doing and why and do all your prep work before so you show up with a plan and so you can be chill and then those vibes kind of filter out into the set and then hopefully everybody uh hopefully everybody's cool but yeah it's it's that and then being an audience for your actors I think is the other huge.

Just huge element I used to you know I grew up kind of making shorts with my friends it was all about cool shots and all about like film school all about that I'm gonna do this Coen Brothers like shot I'm gonna do this and that and um more and more and more and more just realizing I could stick the camera in a tripod light it with one light yeah and.

Shoot it in front of a brick wall and if what the actors are doing is working the audience is going to be completely there with it the only thing that matters is making sure the actors have what they need to make those those scenes sing you know yeah I'm excited to get to that phase of my career all right.

as a Raider director are there things that you're still chasing after now because I feel like you know you've been doing this for a while like I I don't want to Fanboy out too much but I think I I watched break when I was in college and it was actually probably one of the biggest things that made me think I.

Could be a filmmaker with your first film you figured out tone immediately and I think tone is like 90 of the director's job and so what are you chasing now as a director because yeah I'm so curious I mean just getting better at the same stuff but the thing is that is not um I don't know but that's not actually true I mean.

I guess every single I can't imagine mustering the energy to do um a new movie without feeling like uh feeling like it was something that I had never done before and never seen done before and my God will this work it's like going back to when you were a kid with your friends making movies and it's.

Just what would the if we tied the if we tied the camera to a bungee cord and threw it off the freeway bridge what will this look like right back it's it's that desire to just like that that kind of mischievous like can we get away with this how about you guys what I mean because you've so far I mean with with Swiss.

Army man and now with the and now with everything everywhere all at once you guys have um gone completely I don't know I I it feels like especially with this film you've done everything it's possible to do in a movie what what and I mean the thing is though but the thing is regardless of that like that's maybe a.

Stupid way of asking it because the reality is no matter I feel like no matter what you do it if a good filmmaker makes a movie it's like they've burned the pirate ship into the sea they've used every idea they have they're completely washed up on the shore empty of everything hopefully otherwise they probably wasted our time.

So I know that's what you guys have done what is what what gets you started in terms of in terms of the next one where you start it's such a good metaphor yeah like literally you just give everything you're like The Giving Tree we did put everything into this movie when we wrote it three years ago uh so we've actually got.

Like too many ideas yeah new ideas we've had a lot of time to like have to live live life and have new experiences and read new books uh but having kids but then like part of it you also want to chase that scary thing we're definitely overthinkers and it's a it's definitely a a tool of ours I think I think we overthink and that's part of.

Our because there's two of us we're processing constantly I feel like a lot of time when you're starting off you want to create Timeless art but that's actually like a terrible trap to chase that because you the more you chase it the less Timeless will become and really what you want to do is speak to the moment and give the people something to.

Actually chew on and reflect upon I mean I think one thing I will say though I mean I think you know when we were talking before about what is the thing that gets you that you're chasing I guess the reality is there's always going to be something new that we're dealing with as long as we have the guts to actually.

Use that as the fuel to make whatever is next it's going to be something that's new to us it's going to be something new that we're you know creating I guess whatever you guys end up doing next I know it's going to be mind-blowing and also come from your hearts and and having just gotten a chance to have a couple conversation with you guys I can.

Um I can tell that's where your work comes from and I can tell you guys are are deep Waters so I'm really excited to see what you guys do now Ryan thank you cool we'll see you here in a couple years yeah we'll meet back here right here you just leave the camera set up and do it weird

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