French filmmaker Claire Denis achieved a new level of exposure last year with A24’s release of her daring and decidedly anti-sci-fi science-fiction film “High Life,” cementing her place as the jewel of Film Twitter and a coveted collaborator among mainstream artists and actors. That includes The Weeknd, aka Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, a cinephile and self-professed fan of her work, from her sensual military tale “Beau Travail” to cannibal romance “Trouble Every Day.”
His fandom, as revealed in a recent “quarantine edition” interview with Claire Denis in Vulture, has spawned a collaboration. While A24 announced earlier this year that Denis would re-team with the studio and “High Life” star Robert Pattinson, for “The Stars at Night,” a love story set during the Nicaraguan Revolution and co-starring Margaret Qualley, Denis said she was about to start shooting another project with The Weeknd in Los Angeles when quarantine orders hit.
“Last month, I was in LA preparing to shoot a film with The Weeknd, and then Air France called me and my director of photography and said, ‘You’d better take the last flight we’re sure of and go home,'” Denis told Vulture. “So I was back in Paris on March 20, and the confinement had already started. I don’t know what’s happening with that film project now. We were going to shoot in April. The Weeknd lives in LA, and as soon as we can, we’ll go back there and try to shoot, because we have done the pre-production, the location scouting, everything.”
The particulars of that project remain under wraps. Along with “The Stars at Night,” Denis is set to contribute a vignette to the upcoming “Rotterdam, I Love You,” the latest installment in the “Cities of Love” series that explores romance in different urban locations. Denis said she was set to start shooting “Stars at Night” at the end of the fall, but that’s been postponed.
Denis also said that, along with writing, she’s spent a lot of time in quarantine cooking. “I started making, once a week, my own hummus. I never thought I would, but it turned out great! Hummus makes me feel so good. But it takes a lot of time — two days. I never use canned chickpeas. I get them dry, and then I put them in water overnight, and then the next day I cook them a long time, and then I mash them with onion, garlic, some herbs, and tahini paste, with olive oil and a little bit of lemon juice. I think hummus is not good with bread; I eat it out of a bowl with a spoon, but I make a little pancake on the side,” she said.
Finally, Denis noted, “I hope this won’t last forever. I don’t want to die in my kitchen cooking hummus.” Read the full Vulture interview here.