I’ve updated the gallery with screencaps of Michelle in Meek’s Cutoff. I also included DVD Art, DVD Menus, and a behind the scenes “Making Of” feature.
I’ve added new scans to the gallery from Michelle’s recent cover stories in Filmmaker Magazine (Winter 2011) and Hobo Magazine (Summer 2011). Both of these interviews focus on Meek’s Cutoff. Thanks to Alice for the scans.
Michelle is interviewed by Vendela Vida for a May 2011 cover story in Interview magazine. She talks about Meek’s Cutoff, Blue Valentine, and more. The magazine hit newsstands in New York and L.A. yesterday and will be available nationwide on May 3. Thanks to Kelly and Laron for sending me the info and some photos. I will have scans up soon!
VIDA: Let’s talk a little bit about Meek’s Cutoff, which is the second film you’ve done with director Kelly Reichardt—the first being Wendy and Lucy. I was wondering what it was like to work on more than one film with the same director. Do you feel because you’ve spent so much time together at this point that you have kind of a shorthand when working together?
WILLIAMS: You know the safety you feel when a man asks you to marry him?
VIDA: Mm-hmm . . .
WILLIAMS: It felt like she doesn’t just want to date me. She wants to marry me.
VIDA: Did you know from the beginning that you’d be doing two films with her?
WILLIAMS: No, I had no idea. One day she came over to our house in Brooklyn with a manila envelope, and said she had something special to give me. So we walked upstairs and sat on my bed, and she handed me the first draft of Meek’s. It really is one of the top five favorite moments of my life—it’s right up there. Because I wasn’t expecting it. And I wanted it. I hope to make movies with her for a long time to come. So I guess at this point, knowing Kelly has been like an education in film. Not that she’s ever tried to teach me, but just sort of by osmosis, and being her friend, and understanding what she likes, and having her reference movies, and then going and finding them myself, I feel at this point I know how to fill her frame. I know what she wants. I know what she’s into. I know what her taste is. There are limitations when you work with Kelly. There’s a very specific style that she’s after. But in those confines you can actually find so much freedom because of the specificity.
You worked with director Kelly Reichardt on Wendy And Lucy and now you’ve reunited for Meek’s Cutoff. You must admire her work?
Absolutely. And I’m just so glad that she thought I had more to give and wasn’t bored of me! I do worry about that – sometimes you feel a bit like used goods at the end of filming, like you’ve spent yourself with a director. I’m glad Kelly had faith in me, that she thought I could put everything I have into a movie and regenerate; offer her something different.
You take on some difficult parts – your next movie will see you play Marilyn Monroe. Do you ever get nervous after committing to a part?
Before I work I always have a crisis of faith and I start to deteriorate mentally and physically. Then the job starts and everything’s OK.
Are you difficult to be around then?
Mostly I’m worst with myself. Sometimes I keep it to myself if I feel like I don’t know the people around me well enough. It doesn’t make me mean or anything. It’s just like my own mind is under siege.
Thanks to Lauren for sending me this link.
Congratulations on this great recent run of yours. On the flipside, I wonder how you’re holding up on the neverending press tour.
Yeah, Blue Valentine did come pretty close to Meek’s. There was some span of time in there, but it seems like it’s been erased to be back in the chair. But what did you say? About a good run I was having?
Don’t you think?
Well, all of the sudden, I know what’s coming next. Zoom. [She raises her left hand and makes a swift, downward roller-coaster motion.]
You have that kind of attitude about it?
I do, I do.
I think because I started acting when I was so young, and for years I auditioned without getting a single job. Then I worked pretty consistently for a year, and then I got Dawson’s Creek. And I was on Dawson’s Creek for two years before I got a movie. So I feel like that’s pretty ingrained for me: the understanding that it’s going to come and go, and that I’m going to fall in and out of good times. I don’t know, it feels like a natural cycle to me. It’s like that point on the roller coaster. You know? It has to go somewhere.
So do you consider yourself a cynic or a realist?
It feels like a realistic point of view, though maybe it’s the skeptic in me trying to stay alive. I don’t think so, though. I don’t think of myself as a glass-half-empty kind of person.
On Monday night, Michelle attended a screening of Meek’s Cutoff in New York. She wore a Chanel dress and Ferragamo heels. Inside, she posed for photos with director Kelly Reichardt and co-star Zoe Kazan. I’ve added photos from the event to the gallery.
Here is the first poster for Meek’s Cutoff. The movie will be released in the US on April 8 and in the UK on April 15.
x Meek’s Cutoff: Posters
How did Kelly approach you with Meek’s Cutoff?
The story came fully formed. She and Jon [Raymond] worked on it and then she brought it to me. I come late in the game. She had been teasing me for a while; she sent me a postcard from Oregon and it’s a picture of the salt flats. On the back she just wrote, “Meet me here.” I have it taped to my wall next to my bed.
Was it difficult to get into the Emily character after the intensity of the Cindy character in Blue Valentine?
It did take me a while to shake Cindy. I wasn’t able to take the wedding ring off that I wear in the movie until two weeks after we stopped shooting; I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I think I must have had only a month in between jobs because I had a whole comedown process for Cindy and then I had a whole prep period for Emily.
What did you do to prepare for Emily?
It was a lot of familiarizing myself with the journals that the women wrote during their time on the trail. Luckily, I like doing this kind of stuff. A great portion of my life takes place in the country, so things that I needed to learn for Emily are things that I in my real life are trying to learn. [laughs] Self-sufficiency, getting by without a man to help, and a lot of my progression was also physical — learning how to bake bread so it didn’t look clumsy, shooting, loading and firing a gun, target practice. I like this Emily Dickinson quote, “I’ll walk where my own nature would be leading.” I like that for the Emily character very much.
Read the full interview at Filmmaker Magazine