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by Nigel M Smith
April 18, 2012 12:00 PM
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Mary Harron On Why 'The Moth Diaries' is More Punk Than 'Twilight'

"The Moth Diaries" IFC Films
How has it been defending that aspect of the film on the press circuit?

I don't mind defending it, but the thing that I regret, is that I think if I had gotten it out earlier, people wouldn't have had any preconceptions. But I think people went in with a lot of preconceptions, sometimes hostility. It's like, "Oh, another one." But I say give it a chance.

Well for one thing, there's no fangs in the movie.

In a way the whole vampire thing is metaphorical. In the book it's totally vague. To be honest, it's more of a ghost story than anything.

You can't control the zeitgeist. You just have to put it out there.

The film reminded me in many ways of "Thirteen."

Certainly the friendship where one dominates the other is very, very common. Certainly something I see happening, even with my own daughters, is that you have to, at that age, cut yourself off from your family, and step outside of that unit that protects you and find something else; a new family. That's why people bond so intensely. The girls become these intense besties because they need a home. They also have hormonally crazy amount of emotions that they're just not ready to share with a boy. The boys are really just fantasy figures. Boys and girls to me really seem to be on separate planets at that age.

You're a filmmaker who doesn't like to repeat yourself. What do you think is the connecting thread that unites your work?

I have noticed that they all have isolated central charters; characters cut off from their society. I, of course, have children and a family, but I certainly did feel isolated growing up. I did have the experience when I was 12 of changing countries. I moved around a lot.

You're from Canada right?

"I also don't want to do something that's edgy again, just for the sake of it. It has to be interesting."

Yes, but even within that my dad was an actor so we moved around a lot. When I was 12 we moved from Canada to Europe, so at that adolescent stage I had to be in a whole new country, a whole new environment. I think that sense of isolation is definitely something I draw on. It definitely spoke to me in this as well.

And the madness. There's elements of madness in all of my films. Even in "Bettie Page" -- the film ends right before she has a meltdown. But I'm not interested in ever doing the same thing. I think I like -- which probably gets me into trouble sometimes -- things I don't really know how to do.

Things that scare you?

Yes, I like that. You must do the things that frighten you. Everyone wants me to do another "American Psycho," but you can't really recreate that. That was a really amazing book and project. Not that I wouldn't love to do another black comedy, but if that material isn't there, you can't do it. You can't fake it.

I also don't want to do something that's edgy again, just for the sake of it. It has to be interesting.

Was the backlash you experienced making that, something that deterred you from making something in that vein?

No, because it was probably my most successful film. The funny thing is after that you'd think I'd be sent a lot of interesting things, but I just got sent a lot of serial killer films. It's like, do you really think that's what that was?

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