Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What’s The Reality of Reality? An Interview with Quentin Dupieux and Élodie Bouchez on Reality

Quentin Dupieux and actress Élodie Bouchez
Behind the Media Center at AFI Fest at the Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood, I chatted with director Quentin Dupieux and actress Élodie Bouchez, on Quentin’s latest film Reality. Reality is a surreal nightmare filled with moments of strange humor about a cameraman given a chance to direct his own film.

I started off admiring Quentin’s hat with a letter B on it as he and Élodie spoke in French to one another. “I have no idea, maybe its Brooklyn… no, maybe it’s Boston. No, I just like it,” he said when I asked about it. He had been wearing it throughout the festival. Quentin just liking it without a deeper meaning might set the tone for the film Reality.

“I don’t have a message,” Quentin said. I had forgotten are previous interview from Rubber. There is no deeper meaning for these films. It’s for his enjoyment. “I’m just trying to entertain the crowd,” he added. Continuing, “On Rubber, people we’re telling me the film was a comment on Hollywood and it was making fun of film audiences. I was just making it for fun.”

Reality screened a nights before our interview to a crowd who very much enjoyed it and I was told by Quentin in the interview later, no one got up and left during it. At the LA premiere I was seated in front of someone with a story about how he almost didn’t get in. To get into AFI Fest you can either print your tickets at home or pick them up. Those are the only two options, no showing anything off on your phone. As the fan was about to give up after asking the box office to print his ticket he told how he spotted Quentin at the box office and told him he was going to miss out. Quentin simply took out a ticket and gave it to him.
“Nobody left,” I was corrected by Quentin and Élodie. I had heard nobody laughed, which I was going to disagree with.

When I asked about him caring about anybody leaving he brought up a film festival in France just for old people and families that gave free tickets out. “The seats were slamming every five minutes,” he said for his screening of Wrong. It scared him a bit people just leaving that screening.

Horror is a road many directors have gone down. Quentin has little ambition to take a ride. In Reality we see a horror film called “Waves” with televisions killing people through invisible waves, a joke on Rubber where a tire starts killing people. When I asked about doing horror, “No, because, my style is more about comedy and absurdum, so I think I’m not a good guy to direct a horror film.”

Scenes from “Waves” had blood spurting out of people’s ears and other orifices. Quentin, “I’d love to spend a month doing this, just killing people and finding some funny ways to… but then you need a script and then you need a story and suddenly it’s not funny anymore.”

“Shooting Waves took a day. It was just about killing people, okay, die! Explode! Blood! More blood! It was funny. I loved it,” Quentin. I asked, “Do you know how much blood you used?” “It was-it was amazing so… but it was gross and sticky,” Quentin.

I outright asked him if the film’s main character, Jason, whose attempting to be a director in the film was him. “I’m a little bit everywhere in that movie,” Quentin said. He explained the only part of him in Jason is the part when dealing with awful producers and trying to get funding for his weird ideas.

I told Élodie her character, Alice, who plays an angry psychologist in the film, was a bit mean to Jason, they seemed to be a couple. I asked if being angry at her lover a French sort of ideal, I added Quentin to the question. They laughed and Élodie said, “Yes.”

“It’s near Six Flags,” Élodie said when we talked about her dream sequence scene that took place in a forest. I asked if there was a cast photo of all of them on a roller coaster together. “It was my first day. It was my first shot, ‘It was tough, Quentin remarked after Élodie.

Élodie started to smile as she remembered working with Alain Chabat who played Jason in the film. “He’s just amazing, and-and, such a sweet actor,” she added. It was her first time working with him. Both her and Quentin almost sighed with love over him. They both told how he is very beloved in France. “I wish I could have been nicer to him, but you know that wasn’t the case,” Élodie sighed.

This first day was a tough shoot for Quentin, because at first it looked too much like a dream sequence to him, it looked like a commercial and he didn’t want that feeling. “Let’s say it’s a shitty version of a dream,” he said.

In another question I asked which of them had Élodie have the cutest little hide moment as she slowly backed down as Jason interrupted his own movie be played in a theater. Her character slowly sunk behind some seats. They couldn’t remember who came up with the idea.

“Very nice, very happy,” is what Élodie said of Quentin as a director. Clarifying with me that he’s not a joker or silly.

“So why LA?” I asked. “This movie, at some point, we wanted to shoot in the South of France. Cause’ to me it was supposed to be a French movie and be in French and stuff. But, we started to do some scouting and I was into vibe of shooting in France. I don’t know why. Also, it was super expensive to shoot in France. The same movie, with the same crew and the same amount of time, would be, like, twice the price in France.”

Quentin did know that the mental ward used in the film was the former Power Rangers Command Center. Seeing it in the film made it even more surreal for this interviewer. “It’s a crazy place, no one goes there anymore, it’s locked. It’s a dead place,” Quentin said.

Look out for the Producer’s house, Quentin says the Malibu home has never been on film before and it’s quite iconic to the movie.

“You want the real story?” Quentin geared up to tell me why Zog had such a strange car in the film. Zog, is a documentary director in the film. “Zog, was supposed to ride a helicopter. And so, a helicopter is expensive. We tried, but we had problems with Malibu. Apparently, it’s really tough to bring a helicopter into Malibu.” Adding, “We did some research just to give Zog something crazy.”

Why the name Zog? “I don’t know,” Quentin answered back. “It’s just a cool name. When I was writing the script, I just decided Zog,” Quentin said.

IFC Midnight has acquired Reality, recently at AFM.