In Reality Jason, a quiet cameraman, dreams of directing his first horror movie. Bob Marshal, a wealthy producer, accepts to finance his movie on one condition: Jason has 48 hours to find the perfect scream in the history of film. During his search, Jason gradually gets lost in a nightmare.
Quentin Dupieux director and writer of Reality is also known for his other films, Rubber (2010), Wrong (2012) and Wrong Cops (2013).
Bijan Tehrani: How did you originally come up with the idea of this film, and what motivated you to make “Reality”?
Quentin Dupieux: It is always hard to describe, let’s say it is always the same journey when I start to write a script, I don’t really know what it is, I am just putting down some ideas and sometimes they suddenly make sense. This time I started with the producer scene where Jane is trying to sell a script, I just wrote this and then I wrote the rest of it, so this was the first idea, I think I was just trying to talk about myself in a way.
BT: This film has a very interesting sense of humor in it and it goes from one point to another and it is a very unexpected, in a way, did you have this in mind when writing the screenplay?
QD: That should be the case for every movie, when I am watching a movie, if I know what is going on then there is no point watching because it means that my brain is going faster than the movie, so I don’t see the point. To me every movie should be like this, every movie should be unexpected, every movie should be a surprise every movie should be an excitement like this, so I don’t even think about that, it is just the way movies should be to me.
BT: I was able to watch your film three separate times and every time I discover something new, how did you develop the screenplay for the film, did you do a lot of re-writes?
QD: Usually I write the script pretty fast and then we shoot it, this time, this one took longer, I had maybe four or five drafts, the first draft was very complex and was more complicated and was deeper, so I had to cut it down to something simpler, that was my first time doing this. The film I did before, the script was written in a month and then we shot it.
BT: How did you go about casting the film?
QD: I knew I wanted Alan Chabat for the lead and Alan Chabat is like a hero in France, he is a big deal in France, and I felt close to his vibe. I love Jon Heder for what he did in Napoleon Dynamite, so I asked production to contact him and we offered him the part; it is different for every actor, there are no rules.
BT: What was it like working with Jon?
QD: He was amazing because as I said, I am a Napoleon Dynamite fan, and it was sort of amazing as a fan to meet Napoleon and it was funny to see him working and as an actor. He has his own vibe and technique and it was interesting to see Jon as a character in my film, so it was exciting to work with him.
BT: How did you work with the actors, did you encourage rehearsals or improvisation?
QD: I don’t like rehearsals, because I like to keep the dialogue fresh and it is always different depending on the actor, they are all different. Alan Chabat, after two days of shooting, I knew I only needed to catch his eye to direct him, for someone like Elodie Bouchez, we had to find some different words to express some feelings, it is always different, sometimes you have to talk to the actor, sometimes you have to show them how to do it. I can play the scene myself and show them sometimes and sometimes you say nothing, my job as a filmmaker is to deal with everyone’s personality.
BT: How did you come up with the visual style of the film?
QD: My wife does art direction, so she took care of the look of the set and the locations and the costumes. The look of the film is just what the camera captured, it is almost exactly what I saw in the viewfinder, and there is almost no transformation on the visual.
BT: What do you think are the chances for the film finding success in the US screenings?
QD: Just like always I have no idea, you never get what you expect so I expect nothing.
BT: Can you please tell us about your future project?
QD: I have too many future projects, but they are all in the writing process right now.