"What they said to us when we started this project was 'what we want is your voice... be as outrageous as you want to... don't hold back,'" Campion said. "I was like, 'what'?? It was a very different and provocative education."
"Top of the Lake" stars Elisabeth Moss, Peter Mullan, David Wenham and Campion's "Piano" actress Holly Hunter in a thriller about a detective tasked with uncovering hidden secrets in a tiny New Zealand town. Co-directed with Garth Davis, its Campion's follow-up to her acclaimed 2009 feature film "Bright Star." And she seemed relieved to switch mediums.
"I think quite clearly independent cinema is struggling," she said. "It's difficult to get people out to the cinemas. And there's not a lot of art house cinemas around, at least compared to when I started making films. They used to be about where you went to find out about life and have different voices talking to you in an intimate and interesting way. I don't think that's really happening now. People are trying to second guess what an audience wants. Occasionally maybe two or three films a year will be truly innovative. But most of them try and second guess the audience."
Campion had no such issues with the folks she collaborated with making "Top of the Lake."
Though this isn't all to say Campion has given up on cinema altogether...
"There's still people making amazing movies, don't get me wrong," she said. "I saw 'The Master,' 'Seven Psychopaths,' 'Killing Me Softly' recently and loved them... I think what people really love are stories and stories that are stretching us in some way. That are really thrilling to our lives still. It's not just business. The business comes after. But you know, when you've got people as extraordinary as say, Paul Thomas Anderson... They're so creative, they're so exciting. For me, that's what it's all about."