Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

EXCLUSIVE: Harmony Korine Talks 'Spring Breakers,' Casting Selena Gomez, and How Her Mom Is a Fan of His Work

Photo of Eric Kohn By Eric Kohn | Indiewire September 10, 2012 at 12:11PM

Harmony Korine's "Spring Breakers" marks a significant shift in exposure for the 39-year-old filmmaker, but nobody can accuse him of selling out. The movie, which premiered in Venice and made its North American premiere in Toronto last week, stars Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Benson as a trio of young woman who rob a diner to fund their trip down south. After a series of depraved party experiences, they eventually encounter the absurdly self-involved gangster Alien (James Franco), who manages to seduce most of the girls with his materialistic obsessions.
1
"Spring Breakers."
"Spring Breakers."

Harmony Korine's "Spring Breakers" marks a significant shift in exposure for the 39-year-old filmmaker, but nobody can accuse him of selling out. The movie, which premiered in Venice and made its North American premiere in Toronto last week, stars Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Benson as a trio of young woman who rob a diner to fund their trip down south. After a series of depraved party experiences, they eventually encounter the absurdly self-involved gangster Alien (James Franco), who manages to seduce most of the girls with his materialistic obsessions.

If there's anything tame or familiar about the spring breakers' initial exploits, Korine tears it apart with a gloriously surreal deconstruction of pop imagery. Having secured distribution with Annapurna Pictures (but still attracting interest from larger studios in the wake of its positive reception), "Spring Breakers" has already brought Korine onto a level of popularity that the director never could have achieved in the day of "Gummo" and "Julien Donkey-Boy." Even the filmmaker had a hard time believing it when he dropped by Indiewire HQ on Sunday to discuss the movie.

You've said this was the hardest production of your career. How did the experience differ from your other movies?

It was the most difficult shoot in the sense that I had very little time. The look of the film was very central to it, so there were certain things I needed, like various equipment and cameras, so I could make the visuals the way I wanted them. I had to compensate for that, which affected the schedule, which affected the pace. And then you had these girls shooting on location, mostly in real places with people around them who weren't actors. We put them in an environment they weren't used to being in. Obviously, very quickly people found out about that. Sometimes there were more paparazzi than crew members. It can get weird very quickly. It was a whole set of problems I had never dealt with.

Nevertheless, it's not like you sold out and made a conventional narrative feature. Where did the concept for "Spring Breakers" come from?

Early on, I had wanted to make a film in this style, and had been trying to develop in other ways -- through short films and advertisements -- this idea of microscenes. The movie to me is closer to electronic music. My idea for the film is more music-based than cinema-based. Music now is mostly loop and sample-based. A lot of stuff I like is more tracey and physical. I was hoping to develop a film style with this movie that could mimic that in some way. That's where the liquid narrative comes from, this boozy-jazzy thing.

It's an incredible soundtrack that combines compositions by Cliff Martinez and Skrillex, but sometimes you can't tell which is which.

That was the idea. I love them both and wanted to take a certain element of what each does best and have them merge. I wanted the music to have a physical presence.

READ MORE: TIFF Capsule Review: 'Spring Breakers'

There are also a number of big pop songs. How on earth did you get the rights to Britney Spears music?

The movie was always meant to work like a violent, beautiful pop ballad, something very polished that disappears into the night. Everyone was really cool about it. I've gotten to a point in my life that's pretty cool where musicians are accepting and wanting to be part of what I do.

Even more impressive is the cast. What did it take to cast these young women, who are best known in teen-oriented fare, in a movie so subversive?

When I was thinking about the cast, I was thinking about who could play these parts, and was wondering who the girls are in this generation that best represent a certain ideology. There was something intriguing about the idea of using girls primarily known from a Disney-type reality. Immediately, instinctively, I said it would be great if Selena Gomez would do this. It's pretty crazy that they were all pretty receptive to it.

Why do you think they were receptive?

A lot of them knew my films, which always surprises me. I got an email that Selena was going to hop on a plane and come to my living room in Nashville to audition, and that her mom was coming with her, and that she would be there the next morning. It was pretty crazy. Her mom is younger than I am and she had grown up watching my films and said she had been a fan of them.

This article is related to: Toronto International Film Festival, Harmony Korine, Spring Breakers






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More