Our theme on the site this month is Longing, and I think your films capture that feeling so well, and I have to ask a Virgin Suicides question because—
OK! I love that you brought that movie to a whole new audience! When I met Leslie Mann for this movie she said, “Oh, my daughter loves The Virgin Suicides,” and I thought, How does she even know about that? She wasn’t even born then! And it’s through you, so—
That movie didn’t have a big audience when it came out, so I’m happy that it lives on.
Oh my gosh—girls WORSHIP it. It’s like…it comes up so much when we meet our readers. When you read [Jeffrey Eugenides’s] book, what resonated with you? Because it’s a lot about feeling kind of locked up at home in the suburbs—that’s where [the main characters] the Lisbon sisters are. And I think your life must have been somewhat different. Were you just kind of fascinated by them? Or was there something that you related to about that feeling of being confined?
I can’t remember, it was so long ago! [Laughs] But I loved Eugenides’s writing, and I felt like I could be there with [the Lisbon sisters]. I really loved how the boys were looking at the girls and the girls had this kind of power and mystique over them. I think when you’re that age you’re kind of playing with that power and trying to understand it. I liked how the girls were playing with the boys’ confusion about them, and I was interested in how girls could get stuck in lives that were too small for them.
I know you make moodboards and little mood books when you’re getting started on a film. Are there any images or influences that come up repeatedly?
Oh, usually they’re pretty different. I think if you see them, you can see a connection, because it’s my sensibility, but they always have a different feeling. But whenever I look at them after I finish a movie, I’m always surprised that they look like the feeling of the movie. I’ll have to find the Virgin Suicides one for you. There’s a photographer called Bill Owens who did photos of ’70s suburbia that were references for The Virgin Suicides. Do you have that book?
It’s called Suburbia. There’s a picture of a girl and some kids at a high school dance with little tinfoil stars hanging over them, which was what I looked at for that [homecoming] scene. And then for this one, Claire [Julien], the blond girl in The Bling Ring, she has these pictures on her Facebook of her in a pink bikini with, like, lots of attitude. So that [moodboard] was stuff like that and shots of the night sky with the twinkly lights in the distance.
I read that you made zines as a teenager. What were they like, and what is it like looking back on them?
Oh, no—because you know I had a little clothing line with a friend? I helped with X-Girl and then I did my own little line. It was like T-shirts that we put graphics on. But it was back when there wasn’t anything really between generic Gap and fashion—there wasn’t anything with a personality that wasn’t expensive—so we thought it would be fun to design our own. But…oh, I think I have to go, Tavi, because I have an appointment.
That’s OK! Thank you so much!
Aw, thanks! I’m happy to do something with you, and thanks for all your support.
Of course! Thank you—our readers will be so excited!
Have a good summer! ♦