IntervIew todd Haynes
Carol reunites Cate Blanchett with director Todd Haynes
before the mad stampede, so that worked out really well. It’s somewhat surprising that it’s only your second time in Competition, after you were here with velvet Goldmine in 1998. Yes, and my second feature Safe was in Directors’ Fortnight in 1995. velvet Goldmine is still discussed as one of those legendary Cannes parties. I like to hear that that’s still true after so many years! We all, of course, like to think of it that way. I realised even being in Directors’ Fortnight with Safe that Cannes is a lot of work for directors, and because Velvet Goldmine was a hard movie to get made for the budget, I just decided for myself and for the actors to try to have a good time. And we did. We really did.
The look of love
Carol is one of this year’s most anticipated entries in Cannes’ Competition. Todd Haynes talks to Matt Mueller about being back on the Croisette
eventeen years after he last played in Competition with his glam-rock celebration Velvet Goldmine, Todd Haynes returns to the Croisette with Carol, an adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith novel The Price Of Salt, about the illicit affair between an aspiring photojournalist (Rooney Mara) and an older, unhappily married woman (Cate Blanchett). Blanchett was already attached when Haynes came on board, the stars aligning after a separate project was put on hold and producer Liz Karlsen of Number 9 Films asked him to read Phyllis Nagy’s script. Karlsen produced the film with Stephen Woolley, former Film4 head Tessa Ross and Haynes’ longtime collaborator Christine Vachon. He spoke with Screen about being back in Cannes, working with Blanchett again and the challenges and opportunities facing independent film-makers. Carol was rumoured to be one of first titles selected for Competition. did you have a feeling you would be coming to Cannes? Well, it’s the first time in many years I’ve had something ready for Cannes well in advance. At least Thierry [Frémaux] got to see it
30 Screen International at Cannes May 16, 2015
do you think you’ll be able to enjoy yourself this year? I’m trying to get my head ready for it. Since I don’t have a film every year, and I certainly don’t have a film every year at Cannes, it’s definitely a hyped experience. But it’ll be so nice to share the time with Cate and Rooney. Of course their presence will be so important and they’ll look outstanding on the red carpet. Also, Gus Van Sant and I are the only two Americans this year. Gus and I go way back; we both live in Portland, Oregon. We’re definitely a funny regional pair. It’s funny that the fates picked us out to be in Cannes this year. How did Carol come into your orbit? I first heard about it through [costume designer] Sandy Powell. There’s always a lack of films about women and particularly period films about women that are circulating and she said, “Well, there’s a frock film that I’m excited about that Liz Karlsen is producing.” I’ve known Liz forever but we’d never made a film together. Sandy said that Cate was attached so immediately my ears pricked up. I was like, “Damn, that sounds great, I want in on that.” so what happened then? It wasn’t until the middle of the following year when I heard they were actually looking for a director. I’d been working on a script that got postponed around an actor’s availability and all of a sudden my fall was open and Liz asked Christine if I’d be interested in reading Phyllis’s draft, which I know had its own life and history, and over the years they were trying to get it going. I was immediately taken with it as subject matter, as historical setting and place, and I thought the book was fascinating. what themes stood out for you? It stands out as the most autobiographical of Highsmith’s novels and one she published under a pseudonym through most of her »