Equals director Drake Doremus talked with Indiewire about the filmmaking process with the film's stars Nicholas Hoult and Kristen Stewart.
When it comes to Kristen, there’s a certain level of baggage when you cast her in a movie, based on how some people perceive her in the media. I think critically, people are coming around, though.
I’m so impressed by her choices of work in the last year and a half and so proud of her. She’s doing Woody’s movie right now and she’s so smart.
She’s always doing different projects and films, and you can tell she does them because she cares about them.
There’s a reason why Ang Lee and Woody Allen want to work with her and why she charms them. What’s great about Kristen to me is she’s a perfect mix of valuable to the business people but also the perfect collaborator to work with. Oftentimes you get someone who is great financially, but they’re a pain in the ass, or they’re amazing, but you can’t use them. There are very few, select people in their twenties who are both, and she’s number one in my book. There’s nobody better or more relevant.
When she gets older, going into her thirties, having gone under the hood and looked at the machinery and seen all the different gears and aspects to her dimension as an artist, I’m just really impressed. There wasn’t anywhere she wouldn’t go. She constantly wanted to be pushed. It was always honest. No boundaries. No barriers. I’m really impressed by her performance in the movie. I’m super proud of her, I think she’s fantastic.
It’s funny that she and Nick are both former child actors. They’ve both made such interesting choices lately.
I met Nick a while ago, generally. We had some mutual friends and I was always a fan of his. He’s an even more incredible human being than an actor, because he’s so talented. I had always wanted to work with him, and two years later I was coming up with the idea and I thought, "Nick Hoult is this guy! He’s the guy!" From the beginning he was the only one I had in mind. I met a few different actresses to see who I could pair with Nick and, as soon as I met Kristen, it was a no-brainer. We got together and had dinner and drinks and hung out for three hours and talked about life and love and relationships and became fast friends and collaborators. It just felt right.
Their chemistry really grounds the film. Their first love scene takes place in a bathroom stall at work, which sounds horribly unsexy, but it really pops, especially with the way it was edited and with the soundtrack. What was shooting that scene like?
Well, we were playing that music on set, which was a key component. I’m doing 30 minute takes, there’s no one in there except for John [Guleserian, cinematographer] and me. It’s super intimate. That moment was a two-hour exploration and we documented it, we captured and explored it and let it live. I purposefully tried to keep them away from each other, physically, up until that scene when I tried to structure the shoot, so that was the first time we had done it. We done all these building, subtextual scenes where the tension was there and rising, and then the floodgates opened.
What was going on in the movie was what was going on in the process of our filming. They mirrored each other and it feels that way, it feels like the first time and feels utterly real. For the most part, I would just jump in and whisper things, but it was about Nick letting go and exploring and Kristen holding on as tight as she can until she can’t anymore and lets go. It was about trying to calibrate that and, in the editing room, we probably cut that scene more than anything. We cut that scene more significantly than any other scene in the movie. We just kept working and working till it felt right, but we had so much material in there and it was an amazing two-and-a-half hours in the bathroom.
The idea of exploration within that scene is so profound -- these two people don't even understand what is possible when it comes to human intimacy, but they pick it up very quickly.
The instincts of a human being to know where lips go and hands go is really interesting to think about. There’s something clumsy about it, but there’s also something really intrinsic about it. For me, it was about trying to balance those two.
And that comes back to your question if love can find a way -- it does.
Yeah! Especially when you have two young, beautiful people.
Read more of the interview HERE.
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