Writer/Director Whit Stillman Talks DAMSELS IN DISTRESS, Blu-ray Releases for His Previous Films, Favorite Movies, Editing, and a Lot More

     April 3, 2012


One of my highlights of last year’s Toronto Film Festival was getting to sit down with writer-director Whit Stillman.  As a huge fan of Stillman’s first three features (Metropolitan, Barcelona, The Last Days of Disco), I never thought I’d get the chance to talk with him.  But with Stillman writing and directing his first film in 13 years, Damsels in Distress , he was at TIFF to talk about the project and I jumped at the chance to speak with him.  We talked about what he’s been doing since The Last Days of Disco, the process of making Damsels in Distress, improv, future projects, and a lot more.  You can watch that interview here.

With Damsels now getting released this weekend, last week I sat down with the great director for a follow up interview.  We talked about how he had to make a few edits to get a PG-13 release, the soundtrack, the hardest scene to edit, filming on Staten Island, the status of a Blu-ray release for his previous films, his favorite films, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch and make sure you check out Damsels in Distress if it’s playing near you!

damsels-in-distress-greta-gerwig-imageFor those not familiar with the film, it’s about a group of college coeds (Greta Gerwig, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Carrie MacLemore, Adam Brody, and Analeigh Tipton) whose friendship is threatened by a series of romances, “including smooth Charlie (Brody), dreamboat Xavier (Hugo Becker), the mad frat-pack of Frank (Ryan Metcalf), and Thor (Billy Magnussen).” You can watch the trailer here.

Whit Stillman Time Index

  • Talking to press is easier when Greta Gerwig is with him.  Stillman describes himself as “jaded.”
  • 0:50 – The movie is “quite different” from the cut that aired in Toronto.  Slight cuts were made to get a PG-13, but the big difference is in music and sound.
  • 2:50 – He supports the initial judgement on the R rating, and thinks it worked out for the best.
  • 3:20 – Talks about how he and the two composers put the music together, looking for an “early 60s vibe” with a Breakfast at Tiffany’s style.
  • 5:20 – The hardest scene to edit was the Lone Star dance sequence.  He co-wrote one of the songs in that scene.
  • 6:40 – The interest in Damsels in Distress could lead to Blu-ray releases for Stillman’s previous movies.
  • 7:30 – He is newly hesitant to talk about future projects, because sometimes projects that are announced don’t come together as planned.
  • 8:05 – He is not writing right now, but he has a few projects already scripted.  He mentions a TV assignment.
  • 8:30 – Thinks Damsels is the “most fun, most accessible” film he’s made, which could lead to opportunities for other projects.
  • 9:20 – Mentions The Shop Around the Corner and The Gay Divorcee as favorite films.
  • 10:00 – Talks about filming around Staten Island.


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