Magazine article Screen International

David Gordon Green, Prince Avalanche

Magazine article Screen International

David Gordon Green, Prince Avalanche

Article excerpt

David Gordon Green talks about seeing himself in his latest film Prince Avalanche, indie vs studio films and future projects.

Screen sat down with George Washington, Pineapple Express and Your Highness director David Gordon Green at the Sarajevo Film Festival to discuss Prince Avalanche, Green's adaptation of Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson's 2011 comedy-drama Either Way.

Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch star as two highway road workers who spend the summer of 1988 away from their city lives. The isolated landscape becomes a place of misadventure as the men find themselves at odds with each other and the women they left behind.

After premiering at Sundance, Prince Avalanche saw the versatile filmmaker scoop Berlin's Silver Bear for Best Director and proved a popular sales title for The Match Factory.

What attracted you to the source material?

I fell in love with the original. But I saw a different version and got excited about that different film. I identified with the characters, recognising some of myself in them.

You saw yourself in it?

I identified with both characters quite a bit but personalised the characters of the original even more, so you've got a guy who considers himself a man of the outdoors, angles himself as a 'wildernesss authority', more so than he is in reality.

The other is the young struggling punk wrapping his head around relationships and getting a girl pregnant. Both are struggling with male identity and their relationships with women. Both are applicable to me, to some extent, and the contradictions and conflicts I have in me today.

Did you enjoy working on a remake?

I'd never done a remake before, actually. I wrote quickly. The first draft was done in three days.

Remakes are a great idea. I'd love someone to do one of mine. Either George Washington or Your Highness. A western version of Your Highness, maybe.

I gather you asked the actors to keep the film quiet?

Because I didn't know what it was. I didn't want anyone else's feedback other than ours. I've known every one of the key crew on the movie since film school. I wanted it to be a cleansing process where we didn't have to deal with exec notes or financier's notes.

We were due to shoot in 18 days. We finished in 16 and came in under budget.

Did you have fun on the film?

Absolutely. It was a blast. It was just far enough outside Austin where I live that we all went out there and stayed in a local motel. We would go to bars in the evenings and eat burgers.

This is a more intimate film than some of your recent comedies. You started out making smaller, independent dramas and now you've made Prince Avalanche, Joe and I understand Manglehorn will be next. Why the return?

I don't know. I'm not sure that Manglehorn won't be a comedy, either. But Joe certainly isn't. I don't think about things like that. The only frustration on those more recent, bigger films is the time the whole process takes.

For Joe, I've known the book for a while. But with Prince Avalanche I just wanted to make it and not over-analyse it.

So you're not getting tired of broader comedies?

Yes and no. When you're making a studio comedy you have to be more conscious of the audience reaction to it. Compromise isn't the right word. All the films I've made have been my movies. No-one has ever said 'you can't put that in your movie', but recoupment is of course key for those films. …

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