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

indieWIRE INTERVIEW: Patrick Stettner, director of "The Night Listener"

By Indiewire | Indiewire August 2, 2006 at 8:25AM

New York-based director Patrick Stettner had quite a local welcome Tuesday night in Manhattan for the theatrical premiere of his latest film "The Night Listener" at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). His mystery thriller, starring an incredible cast lead by Robin Williams, Toni Collette and Rory Culkin centers on a radio show host (Williams) who begins a telephone relationship with a dying young fan (Culkin). Chaos ensues, however, when the host begins to question the identity of his caller and leads him into a head-on confrontation with his supposed guardian (Collette). This is the second directorial feature from Stettner, who won accolades for his first, "The Business of Strangers" in 2001, including a prize at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Stettner shared with iW his compulsion that lead him to moviemaking as well as his desire to see "foreign" films on less Ameri-centric terms. Miramax Films opens "The Night Listener" Friday, August 4 in limited release.
0

New York-based director Patrick Stettner had quite a local welcome Tuesday night in Manhattan for the theatrical premiere of his latest film "The Night Listener" at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). His mystery thriller, starring an incredible cast lead by Robin Williams, Toni Collette and Rory Culkin centers on a radio show host (Williams) who begins a telephone relationship with a dying young fan (Culkin). Chaos ensues, however, when the host begins to question the identity of his caller and leads him into a head-on confrontation with his supposed guardian (Collette). This is the second directorial feature from Stettner, who won accolades for his first, "The Business of Strangers" in 2001, including a prize at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Stettner shared with iW his compulsion that lead him to moviemaking as well as his desire to see "foreign" films on less Ameri-centric terms. Miramax Films opens "The Night Listener" Friday, August 4 in limited release.

...and where are you from originally?

I was born and raised on the Lower Eastside of Manhattan. I now live in Brooklyn.

Do you have a "day job?" Any former jobs you'd like to share?

When I'm not developing my own projects (i.e. making no money), I'm lucky enough to eke out a career writing screenplays for studios.

Former jobs? On break from college I spent a broke summer in Martha's Vineyard where I worked at an American Indian tourist trap. Basically, the tourist would eat those 'indigenous' cheese-dripped nachos, look for the bathroom, huff and wheeze down a very long hill where they would find me at the bottom, behind a table blocking the way, demanding a quarter for access. I wish I could say that summer I learned something about human nature, but I don't think I did.

Patrick Stettner at the SF360.com party at Sundance this year. Photo by Brian Brooks/indieWIRE

How did the filmmaker gig come about?

I've always been a compulsive movie fan. In junior high, I used to cut class to go to the revival theaters alone, which is kind of weird. So, I guess becoming a filmmaker was not only an obvious extension but a plausible way to justify an otherwise unwholesome obsession.

Did you go to film school?

Yes, Columbia University graduate film program.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced in either developing the project or making and securing distribution for "The Night Listener?"

Development of the script was a bit of a struggle. There were issues of balancing the motor of the thriller/genre elements and the exploration of the more delicate character issues, which at times felt like they were getting overwhelmed. It's a tricky part of this piece that we struggled with through out the making of the film.

And then of course, casting took longer than we expected, as always.

How did you finance the film?

Mainly Hart Sharp Entertainment who, during production, brought in IFC Films as a co-financier. Additionally, Fortissimo was the foreign sales agent. Then later, Miramax bought the film at Sundance for domestic distribution.

What is your definition of "independent film"?

It's hard to give a concise definition, because the term 'independent film' really tells me nothing about a film except maybe it wasn't made at a studio. I think it's important that we applaud and encourage alternative voices in cinema. We certainly need more of that, however more often than not, the expression serves as this unconscious codified (almost xenophobic) desire to further marginalize foreign films - meaning the unspoken subtitle to the term is 'American Independent Film', the consumer friendly, gentler alternative to the scarlet letter of 'foreign film'. I say let's celebrate great films regardless of where they were made, and who cares how much or how little the budget was.

What are some of your recent favorite films?

My list isn't very recent, but I really loved "Cache," "The New World," "The Beat That My Heart Skipped," "Kings and Queens," "United 93," "Holy Girl," "Grizzly Man," "Keane," and most recently from Sundance Kelly Reichardt's "Old Joy."

What are your interests outside of film?

You know, the best response I've ever heard for this kind of question was from an English scientist who wrote: "I find I am a keen flautist and I like to dingy sail."

How do you define success as a filmmaker, and what are your personal goals as a filmmaker?

Ultimately, to get to a place where you don't have to make any compromises, even with yourself. To continue to work with interesting, talented people. To continue to learn the craft of storytelling, then in a couple of years learn how to dismantle/free-up that structure. To try to make films that you hope will stand up over time.

This article is related to: Interviews






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