Given how charming, winning and funny “Damsels In Distress” is (read our TIFF review here), we sincerely hope that we won’t have to wait years and years for another Whit Stillman picture (here’s a great New York Times piece on Stillman that ran this weekend that touches on his absence somewhat). After all, nearly twelve years have elapsed between his third film, “The Last Days Of Disco,” and the release of ‘Damsels’ in a few weeks, and we’re not sure we can take that length of a break again. But the good news is, when we spoke to Stillman earlier today on the press rounds for his new film, he’s got several projects on the go.
The filmmaker previously discussed with us his vague plans to team up long-time favorite Chris Eigeman, who sits out “Damsels In Distress” after appearing in the director’s first three films, and Adam Brody, the “O.C.” star who features in the cast of the new film, telling us in Toronto last year that, “I think it will be interesting to get Adam and Chris together on the same piece.” Well, the good news is that the plan seems to be crystallizing, and he’s hoping to add two other collaborators, one old, one new, on the project. “I have an idea for something that I think Greta [Gerwig, the lead in ‘Damsels’], Adam [Brody], Chris [Eigeman] and Chloe [Sevigny, who starred in “The Last Days Of Disco”] could all be in. I’d love to do that. I think they’d be kind of great together.” No further details were forthcoming, but those four actors in a Stillman film? Consider us sold.
A project that’s been kicking around for far longer is “Dancing Mood,” a Jamaica-set drama about the church dancehall scene of the 1960s, and Stillman explained about the gestation of the idea. “It’s just that I played some of the Jamaican music outside the nightclub in “The Last Days of Disco” and that’s where I got interested in the music.” But despite some comments to the contrary last year, Stillman confirmed that the project won’t be his next one to go before cameras. “I hope to make another film before then and then tackle that one. And I’ll probably revise [‘Dancing Mood’] before I tackle it and I think I’ll try to simplify it and make the budget a little more reasonable.”
It’s unclear if the Gerwig/Brody/Eigeman/Sevigny project (or “The Indie Expendables,” as we’ll nickname it henceforth) is the film that’ll go next, but Stillman was hesitant to put any kind of timeline on when he might be shooting again. “I don’t want to predict because I haven’t been very good at predicting so far. And at certain points in the production, I just want to be alone writing short stories or a novel or something, because I find the pressure in a film shoot and film post-production kind of overwhelming. It’s like too much. I guess I care about each step so much, and I don’t delegate really, because I want to do it myself if I can. So that’s gotten to be such a strain. I do sometimes dream of just working on fiction. But the thing is, I am so attracted to the music and the actors and the photography and that would be lost of course. And those are moments that I just love.”
Let’s hope the lure of the novel doesn’t prove too strong. “Damsels In Distress” hits theaters on April 6th. – Reporting by Jeff Otto