Since his controversial breakthrough with “Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story” — the suburban set pop-musical starring Barbie and Ken dolls — Todd Haynes has been breaking ground on new cinematic territory for nearly 30 years. The work that followed ‘Superstar,’ has been equally individual, and at most turns, a unique reimagining of events and scenarios that cut to the core of the subject matter.
But for all of his idiosyncratic filmmaking, Haynes has been one of the most consistent filmmakers of his generation. From the beginning his intentions and fascinations were clear, and more or less, he has been working the same themes over and again ever since: the suburban, the transgressional, the “women’s picture,” the pop star. Though for all the similarities that run through his films, each is diverse, unique, and powerful — and in most cases better than the last.
Recently Haynes sat down with Scott Foundas for an Amazon Studios’ Walker Dialogue. Joined by his long time producing partner Christine Vachon (the two met at Brown in the ‘80s), the 1-hour 44-minute talk features clips from Haynes oeuvre, discussion of his cinematic inspiration, the importance of costumes and set dressing as living elements of period narratives, and his recent masterpiece “Carol.” The talk roves through much of Haynes’ life, the moves that led him from picture to picture, and the relationships imperative to the making of each film. Almost most captivating in his discussion with Foundas is Haynes’ talk of craft, the way he steps into the shoes of the viewer, seeking to find the perfect balance between creator and audience, to inspire and then give room for the imagination to flourish.
Check out the absorbing chat with Haynes (and Vachon) below and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments.