Doing an interview with Nicolas Winding Refn is a lot like watching some of his movies. Sometimes you get a straight answer structured like a conventional story, but other times he might say something short and mysterious, leaving you wondering exactly what he meant. But that’s one of the reasons I appreciate his work. As you watch his movies unfold, they usually take some weird left and right turns and you never know exactly where the story might take you.
In his latest film, The Neon Demon, the story follows Jesse (Elle Fanning), an aspiring model entering the ravenous modeling world of Los Angeles, who meets a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has. The Neon Demon also stars Christina Hendricks, Jena Malone, Bella Heathcote, Abbey Lee and Keanu Reeves.
I recently sat down with Nicolas Winding Refn for an exclusive video interview. He talked about making Neon Demon, if he feels pressure to conform to a conventional narrative structure, working with Keanu Reeves, VR, discovering the antagonist/protagonist relationship in the film, his collaborations with composer Cliff Martinez, social media, Drive, and a lot more. Check out what he had to say in the video above and the list of what we talked about is listed below.
Nicolas Winding Refn:
- How much pressure does he feel to conform to a conventional narrative?
- How much is The Neon Demon a product of his original vision and how much was it a product of what he found on set?
- Talks about discovering the antagonist/protagonist relationship was the heart of the film.
- Talks about why he doesn’t shoot alts because of time constrictions.
- How long was the first cut compared to the final cut?
- Talks about finding a role for Keanu Reeves.
- How much does he preplan his shots and how much does he find it while filming?
Film or digital, and why?
- Talks about experimenting with lenses on digital cameras.
- What does he think of VR technology?
- Talks back to how all mediums of picture making all tend to lead back to a similar place.
- Is there any appeal to doing a sequel to something like Drive?
- Talks about why sequels work in Hollywood, but not for him.
- Talks about his collaboration with composer Cliff Martinez.
- How different is the theatrical film from the Cannes cut, and will people be able to see it some point?
- Talks about trying to keep his social media interesting instead of annoying.
- Talks about how he likes to pick his next project.
- Will he be getting behind the camera again this year?