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by R. Kurt Osenlund
October 10, 2013 8:52 AM
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Catherine Hardwicke On Her Kinky, Twisted Thriller 'Plush' and Why She Considers 'Twilight' an Indie

Speaking of Enzo, you chose to make the character this sort of pansexual creature with a fluid orientation, who even asks at one point, “What is gay anyway?” It just added to the film's psychosexual murkiness.

That was just one of those things. I was sitting on an airplane, coming back from New York, and I was trapped on the tarmac for six hours. And instead of getting mad, and getting pissed off at the airlines, I thought, “I'm going to do something creative with this time,” and I just started writing. And then I yelled out, in the cabin, “Hey, what's a good guy's name?” And another passenger just called out to me, “Enzo!” And I thought, “Wow, I love that name.” And the second she said “Enzo,” I just saw that character, and who he was. I don't know why. But I do know a lot of people who are quite similar to him, especially in the music world.

And the sex scenes between Enzo and Hayley are pretty intense. I don't think I've ever seen a sex scene between—what we'll call—a bisexual man and a straight woman with a vibrator. I think that might be a first.

Yeah, it might be! [Laughs] Part of that comes from being on a limited budget, and a tight schedule, and you have to just go for it, and be spontaneous, in the moment. And you can't really over-think it. And you don't film things over three days. And you really just, again, need to be Method directing, and just be in that moment. And that was really the experiment, and the risk, of this film—just to try moments like that.

And how did the cast take to that kind of approach?

Well, you know, I think they loved it. It was less controlled, and many actors that I know really appreciate having some freedom and spontaneity to really find and feel their characters in the moment. So I think lots of actors do like that. And a side effect here was that Emily and Xavier fell in love, and they're still together.

I'm sure you get asked this question constantly, but can you just briefly touch on what the majority of your post-“Twilight” experience has been like? Personally, I've always felt that your film stands apart from the others in a very distinct way, but since the saga became so huge, and both sacred to its fans and an easy target for its critics, how do you feel about it now?

For me, I have to say that, in a way, I was lucky. Because on my “Twilight,” it didn't have the level of expectations that any of the other ones had. No one, even the night before the film opened, ever expected to hit $400 million. [Laughs] Or $69 million on opening weekend. That just kind of blew everybody away. So I wasn't under that kind of pressure and scrutiny. I got a chance to make my “Twilight,” more like an indie film, in a way. I could really just kind of feel the characters. And at that time, I believe Stephenie [Meyer] was busy writing two other books—the last of the “Twilight” books and “The Host”—and promoting the third “Twilight” book. So she wasn't even able to be there that much. And I think that later on, the pressure became more intense from every angle for the other directors, and they were probably less able to make [their films] as personal as mine was able to be. And I loved the first book the best anyway—just her fresh, impulsive, first idea. There's this dizzy, crazy, madly-in-love feeling, and that feeling is what attracted me. I just wanted to see if I could translate what people were feeling when they read the book—all that dizzy, crazy, madly-in-love stuff. For me it turned into its own outrageous thing.

And you have your “Twilight” star Cam Gigandet back again for “Plush.” Kudos to you for not just hiring him to take his shirt off. He gets pigeonholed and typecast quite a bit, and that isn't the case here.

Yeah, and one thing that's cool about Cam is that since I worked with him on “Twilight,” he's had a kid. Actually he's had two kids. So he really has developed that father thing, too. He's a hunky father, and obviously amazing, but he's also become really soulful, and really connected with his children. So I thought he was kind of perfect for this as the grounded figure who's trying to be as supportive as he can. He holds on as long as he can until it stretches the boundaries of all credibility.

"Twilight"

Regarding the look of the film, it feels very much like you're immersed in a wild music video long before Hayley and Enzo actually shoot a music video. And I know you worked with D.P. Danny Moder, Julia Roberts's husband. What was the grand scheme of this hypnotic photography?

I think one thing that's great about Danny is he's very experiential, if that's a good word to use. He's very fluid with the camera, and he's a surfer, and an athlete. And I think his athleticism sort of flowed into holding the camera for every shot in the movie. He's really moving with the actors and the characters, and he's got his rocker days, and all kinds of stuff. But he really had a feel for this movie. He just had a feel for what he wanted to do with it. And I think he achieved it in a kind of beautiful way, and I also love the kind of hallucinatory things he did with flares and lenses and lighting. He's done some very interesting things that are experiential kind of films. And he just brought his aesthetic in and we worked great together, I think.

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