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‘Precious’ Author Geoffrey Fletcher Talks Eccentric Girl-Assassin Debut ‘Violet & Daisy,’ Starring Ronan and Bledel

'Precious' Author Geoffrey Fletcher Talks Eccentric Girl-Assassin Debut 'Violet & Daisy,' Starring Ronan and Bledel

“Precious: Based on the Novel PUSH by Sapphire” was Geoffrey
Fletcher’s first professionally produced script. “The irony,” he said back in
2009, “is that I feel like I’m a veteran at the same time.” After all, he was
directing homemade, stop-motion thrillers — starring his toys — when he was
14. As a psych major at Harvard, he made noirs and docs. And as a graduate film
student at NYU, he made “Magic Markers,” which caught the attention of both
John Singleton and “Precious” director Lee Daniels, who asked him to adapt the
Sapphire book. The result was an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, the
first won by an African-American.

“Violet &
Daisy,” which opens Friday, is Fletcher’s big-screen directorial debut, the
story of teenage girl assassins (Saoirse Ronan, Alexis Bledel) and their run-in
with James Gandolfini. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it shows
Fletcher’s twin fascinations with grit and fantasy —  it was he, not Sapphire, who created the
blonde-white-girl hallucinations that Precious has in that film. And it was
Fletcher who expanded Lenny Kravitz’s nurse character, who in the book was
mentioned only in passing. “I thought it would be a great opportunity to bring
in a male character that was positive,” Fletcher said, acknowledging that there
weren’t many.

“Violet & Daisy” he said this week, “sprang from my love
of two great genres. It blends and bends crime and coming-of-age while
examining friendship, love, girl power, materialism, celebrity fixation, regret
and redemption.”

He said a gifted
former film student — he teaches at Columbia and NYU — saw an advance
screening of “Violet & Daisy” and later asked “if I were afraid while
taking so many chances, thematically and stylistically. I said that I think a
degree of fear is healthy but it is important to be driven by desire and
curiosity above all.”

An adjunct
professor at Columbia University and New York University, Fletcher possesses an
uncompromising approach to movies. The “Precious” script was a perilous thing;
“Violet & Daisy” is not the work of someone looking to game the system.
He’s a black man who, when given the opportunity to produce a feature with
well-known names, made an eccentric risky film. In this world, that makes him
rather special.

“Violet & Daisy” hits theaters on June 7.

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