You probably know that my name
is Emma and that I am an actress.
One of the distinct advantages of
beginning my career at such a young
age was being exposed to a number
of extremely talented individuals and
unique situations – Noah was no
so thank you Darren for letting me be
part of your story.
In addition to providing content
that directly relates to Noah and my
experiences working on that film, I’ve
decided to include some interviews
with people whose work has inspired
me over the last ten years. I want to
thank them for being so open, for
The tale of Noah’s ark is one of the
most iconic in religious history. Darren sharing their thoughts, their work and
Aronofsky managed to create a film
that is not only epic in scale, budget
and talent but stays true to what he is And finally thank you to Wonderland
magazine and to YOU, its readership.
known for: creativity, originality, and
I don’t often get the chance to do
personal intimate stories. Darren’s
work, including Noah is truly different this. What started as an idea to help
promote Noah turned into an amazing
and will no doubt be controversial. I
hope I will always receive the chance exploration that I hope you will enjoy
as much as I did.
to be part of films that I believe in –
Luke Windsor (I couldn’t
have done this without you)
Guillermo del Toro
Liliana Greenfield Sanders
Huw, Jack, Jack, Ali and
everyone at Wonderland.
Bloom of the Wallflower
Bloom of the
Photographer KERRY HALLIHAN
Fashion GRACE COBB
Words DEREK BLASBERG
DIESEL LEATHER TRIBUTE collection
available exclusively at Selfridges.
Wonderland ⋅ Spring 2014
My mother is the first person to say I always wanted a little
brother or sister. I was the youngest in my entire family, and
I always felt like it was a disservice to humanity that there
wasn’t someone after me onto whom I could dispel my pearls
of wisdom. So, when Emma Watson – then a smiley, sweet,
super smart teenager – and I became buddies, I felt like my
childhood prayers had been answered. There was only one
striking difference: Emma, wise beyond her years, already
knew more than I did about just about everything and didn’t
need any such advice. Emma is one of those rare breeds of
people who have an intuition, a good head on their shoulders,
a quick judgment. I can’t be certain that, as her adopted
big bro, she’s learned any of that from me, but I will say
she’s taught me a thing or two. She is concise, put together,
organised, forthright and reliable. (Which are not the sorts
of adjectives that apply to most child actors.) Back when I’d
visit her on the Harry Potter sets, her dressing areas would be
tidy(ish) and her well worn and bookmarked books would be
stacked everywhere. She navigated the pressures of filming
the world’s most successful cinema franchise with elegance
and grace, and she didn’t forget to do the little things, like
send funny postcards from vacations and fruit baskets at
the holidays. After Potter, I watched her grow into a beautiful
young woman who is navigating a career that’s entirely her
own. It’s been an interesting transition: As she herself says,
she felt she was an adult even when she was in the body a
little girl waving a magic wand. Now, it’s as though she has
caught up with herself. In the film Perks of Being a Wallflower,
she charmingly captured the end of an American innocence. In
the upcoming Noah, she tackles the role of a biblical daughterin-law in an epic adventure. Behold: Emma, a thoroughly
Where are you right now and what are you doing?
Right now I’m on holiday. I’m stood on the balcony of my hotel
room and I’m scratching my feet because I’ve been eaten alive by
mosquitos. I look like I have a disease. I’m told I have sweet blood.
Well, I’m freezing in New York, so you won’t get much mosquito
sympathy from me.
Well, I miss New York. I loved living there.
You were in New York during Hurricane Sandy. How surreal
It was surreal for a couple of reasons. It delayed the end of our
shooting for a few weeks, so we got the irony of filming an epic
biblical movie about a flood, and then a storm comes and floods
much of New York. It even damaged the ark, which was what set us
back. The other reason that it was surreal was because you and I
were on the Upper East Side, which was completely unfazed by the
storm. We had high speed Internet and our phones. All the shops
were open and, even weirder, people were shopping in them. The
Carlyle Hotel was packed with people getting drinks. I remember
calling you and asking, ‘Isn’t there something we can do I feel like
such a waste of space?’ And you took me on a meal delivery with
Citymeals on Wheels. That was amazing that we could do that. Do
you remember Pearl?
Beaded dress by EMPORIO
ARMANI, diamond necklace by
HARRY WINSTON and gold
band by RUTH TOMLINSON.
How could I forget Pearl?
She was the spritely 90-yearold woman who was listening
to Elvis Prestley records when
we knocked on her door and
delivered her food. Pearl was
Were you ever scared during
I remember not taking it very
seriously, and then my dad
called and said I should fill the
bath with water. And I said,
‘Why would I do that?’ He said
to put on the news and then I
realized it was going to be a
serious thing in some areas.
When I showed up at Brown
they warned me that it was
going to get cold, and I said, ‘
I’m from England. I know what
cold is.’ But I soon learned that,
no, I didn’t know what cold is.
My first semester at Brown [in
Providence, Rhode Island],
when it got into the negative
temperatures, I just didn’t want
to leave my dorm room. I didn’t
want to go anywhere. I’d only
go out to get supplies. The cold
makes me miserable!
Speaking of Brown, I’m very
proud that you are going
to be an official Ivy League
Yes! I’m going to graduate in
May, which I can’t believe. I
can’t. I just can’t! Very exciting.
So, tell me: What do you plan
on doing with that major?
Tough question… I’ve been
very fulfilled by my studies.
English has helped me think in
an analytical way. It’s helped
me see the world from new
perspectives. Diving into
these stories and characters
has given richness to my own
life. And now, when I read
scripts or look at stories, I have
these references for a larger
understanding of humanity. I’m
sure it will make my job as an
actress more interesting.
I visited you on the Harry
Potter set a few times, and
it was like a little family and
everyone knew each other.
It was. I miss the people too.
I miss the familiarity.
And to go from that to a new
place, a new school, with new
friends – must not have been
I really wanted a new
experience. I loved not knowing
anyone. It felt very exciting,
and I felt like I was striking
out on my own in a very real,
very new way. But there’s this
thing called the Sophomore
Slump, which is a phenomenon
that is apparently known and
recognized, though I had
never heard of it. It caught
me by surprise. For the first
year at university, everything
is new and exciting. You don’t
realize that you don’t have
your support structure, your
home comforts, and all those
Cat print coat and embellished
dress both by MIU MIU.
Bloom of the Wallflower
touchstones that help keep
you on track. Then, after the
first year, when the adrenaline
wears off, you find yourself in
a slump. That’s what happened
to me by the end of my third
term. I felt very unsettled and
My mother always told me
that in struggles we find
She’s right. Now I really know
how to take care of myself, how
to be alone, how to deal with
stress. If I hadn’t been through
that time, I wouldn’t have got
there. I never knew I had limits.
You make good friends and
you make bad friends, and you
have to figure it all out. You
realize you can’t do everything.
I really did think I could do it
all – commute back to the UK
for Potter filming and press,
then go to Brown for finals, and
keep up with my friends and
family. You can’t do by the way.
You do have to take breaks.
It’s how I became interested
in meditation and yoga. I
developed bedtime rituals.
You’re going to laugh, but now
every night before I go to bed
I make a hot water bottle. It’s a
ritual that makes me feel like I’m
taking care of myself, and that’s
Learning how to be alone is a
good lesson, and one I don’t
think a lot of actresses learn.
I realized that. When you’re on
a film set you’re watched and
you’re never alone and there
are all these demands on your
time. Everyone knows where
you are at every moment of the
day. Then, I went to Brown and
suddenly I was all alone. At first
I hated it. Now, I’m happy to be
by myself. I can be calm and
productive and content, alone
in my apartment.
Now, be honest: Have you
ever wanted to go off the
rails? Like, get drunk and get
Ha, I love tattoos. But I love
them on other people. In fact,
I have a Pinterest account and
a whole board of tattoos that
I like – but I would never want
one for myself. I don’t think I
could pull it off. My own selfimage would not allow it.
But you’re not as puritanical
as that, Emma.
I feel like I’ve been given a lot
of credit where it isn’t due that
I don’t like to party. The truth is
that I’m genuinely a shy, socially
awkward, introverted person.
At a big party, I’m like Bambie
in the headlights. It’s too much
stimulation for me, which is why
I end up going to the bathroom!
I need time outs! You’ve seen
me at parties, Derek. I get
anxious. I’m terrible at small talk
and I have a ridiculously short
That, I have noticed. Is part of
that because you’ve become
this big public figure?
Probably. I feel a pressure
when I’m meeting new people
because I’m aware of their
expectations. That makes
socializing difficult. Which isn’t
to say that when I’m in a small
group and around my friends,
I don’t love to dance and be
extroverted. I am just extremely
self-conscious in public.
Purple embelished bustier dress
by DSQUARED2 and feather
headpiece by LOUIS VUITTON.
On that note, I’d like to
formally apologize for being
so shocked when you cut off
all your hair.
Why? I loved that you were
one of the first people to see
it. I loved your reaction. You
were utterly shocked. It was an
appropriate reaction for a big
You caught me off guard. It
was so unexpected.
It wasn’t unexpected to me.
I had been crafting it in my mind
for years. So, when the time
came, I went ahead and did it.
Have you ever thought of the
psychology behind it? Like,
did you do it because you
were done with Harry Potter
and you wanted to craft
yourself a new image? Like
Jennifer Lawrence and The
I think Jennifer Lawrence
needed to cut hers off.
But I see the parallel you’re
trying to make. Maybe Miley
Cyrus is a better example?
My mother always had really
short hair, always had a pixie.
So for me, it wasn’t as crazy
as it was to you. To be honest,
I felt more myself with that
haircut. I felt bold, and it felt
empowering because it was my
choice. It felt sexy too. Maybe
it was the bare neck, but for
some reason I felt super,
So, one day you’ll cut it
Absolutely. I miss it so much.
The minute I get pregnant, the
first thing I’m going to do is cut
my hair off because I know I
won’t be working for a time. If
I wasn’t an actress, I’d keep it
that way. I could wash it in the
sink and shake it out like a dog.
It’s so low maintenance!!!!
Wonderland ⋅ Spring 2014
Let’s continue discussing
appearances. Has fashion
been any sort of fulfillment
I love fashion as a thing. And I
very much still follow it and find
it interesting and when I come
across something really great
I get excited and I’m inspired.
But there was a moment when
I took a step away from fashion.
I was once sat next to Gwen
Stefani at some fashion
event, and she told me she
always often feels like she’s
in a Saturday Night Live skit
at those things.
I find it slightly surreal too. I can
remember my first Paris fashion
week, and the insanity and
hysteria that went along with it.
Just to get into a fashion show?
It’s more intense than a movie
premiere. Sometimes people
ask me why I don’t go to more
shows, but to be honest I’d
rather watch it on the internet.
Fashion is this massive, huge
industry, which I like to dip
my toes into. But it’s not my
That’s true. Film is. Do you
remember the day that you
and me went to see the
Francis Bacon retrospective
at the Tate, and I told you
that I could see you being a
producer or director one day?
And you looked at me like
I had ten heads.
Yes! People say that to me a lot
now. Maybe I will one day.
Are you still looking for
something else you enjoy
Do you remember that time I
called you up and asked if you
knew anyone who needed an
intern? And you almost died
Hair Vi at management.
Makeup Dotti at Streeters using
la Prairie. Nail Technician Zarra
Celik at CLM Hair & Make Up
using Chanel S 2014 and Body
Excellence Hand Cream. Set
Design Gillian O’Brien.
Gareth Horton, Robert Wiley
and Matthew Lawes. Fashion
Assistance Lizy Curtis and
Francesca Turner. Production
Samantha Jourdan and Sylvia
Farago. Digital Operator Jonathan
Stokes. Thanks Flash Film
Studios, MacCulloch and Wallis
and Sharna Osborne.
Yes. You asked if I knew
anyone who wanted me to
be a personal assistant for
I was serious! I am interested
in everything!!! This year, I’m
turning 24. A lot of my friends
are really worried about turning
24, but I like that I’m getting
older. In a way, I started out
like this old lady, and now I
feel like my age is catching up
with me. And I’m excited by all
these new things for me to do.
I feel like I have so much more
to accomplish as an actress.
I’d love to try theater and that’s
a whole other thing. But when
I finish my degree, I will have a
lot more time to pursue other
passions, and I want to figure
out what those will be. I love
having something completely
unrelated to the film industry.
Black silk high-waisted pants
and black lace bra (both worn
throughout) both by DOLCE &
GABBANA and sheer lilac top by
I want to find something that
will let me use my brain in
another way. I like connecting
people who aren’t part of that
I’ve seen your paintings,
I love painting. So maybe I
hone in on that and do more art
classes? Or maybe something
Well, I know you’re great
Then, there you go. I can be a
full time actress and a personal
part-time yoga teacher?
Ha! Well. We’ll see.
Wonderland’s cover star and guest
editor, actress, red carpet Adonis and
friend to some of Hollywood’s most
revered and groundbreaking talent,
Emma Watson spent much of last year
covered in biblical mud and sea spray.
“The most gruelling part of [filming
Darren Aronofsky’s fantasy epic Noah,
out in cinemas in March] I can’t really
talk about,” she tells me from a studio
in Dalston, London. She’s sitting next
to co-star Douglas Booth, who plays
Shem, son of Noah (or as atheist
Aronofsky saw it, Russell Crowe),
and love interest of Watson’s Ila, the
patriarch’s adopted daughter.
Photographer CHRISTIAN OITA
Fashion MATTHEW JOSEPHS
Words JACK MILLS
Black lace dress by DOLCE & GABBANA.
For a number of reasons, the pair’s coming together is a significant
turning point in the 23 year-old’s adult career – one far removed
from the less intense and grub-splattered grounds of Hogwarts,
the setting for seven sequential record shredding films in the Harry
Potter saga. It was there where Watson spent most of her pre-andmid adolescence playing Harry Potter’s cutely bookish best friend,
Since meeting Booth on the set of Burberry’s autumn/
winter 2009 campaign, she’s played a couture-obsessed criminelle
in Sofia Coppia’s The Bling Ring, Logan Lerman’s endearing
collegiate lover in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, has co-kick
started Fair Trade fashion brand People Tree and is executive
producing and lead starring in in-development fantasy trilogy
The Queen of the Tearling (which re-unites the star with Potter
producer, David Heyman). And all the while maintaining H-town’s
most faultless of Twitter accounts (we checked and checked again
for existential Tuesday afternoon hangover tweets).
No, the Paris born, Oxford raised Watson is a picture
of hard work and focus. In interview, we forget tabloid-y topics –
her polarising backless dress at The Golden Globes, dull, New
Boyfriend conjecture, her stud-struck first encounter with Booth,
(she spilled to VMAN how “offensively attractive” she thinks he
is) – and focus in on Noah’s pound-shedding, vertebrae splaying
Booth is just as wide-eyed and obsessive about his
moda, and the pair spent most of the conversation dewily lost
in their admiration for Aronofsky and his grandiose ambition.
Booth impressed at just 17 as a true-to-life Boy George in 2010’s
excellent biopic, Worried About the Boy and this year stars
alongside Channing Tatum in the Wachowski Brothers’ newest
fantasy thriller, Jupiter Ascending - amongst other high exposure
Dusted down and fresh from a day of
asymmetric poses and bijou headwear for their cover
shoot, the pair got real with me on all things OCD,
Myra Hindley and Book of Genesis-style dystopia.
White dress, necklace and earrings
GIVENCHY BY RICCARDO TISCI.
Ring emma’s own.
Wonderland: Tell me about
filming in the ark – and for
so long. You weren’t chilling
in a west London green
screen with freshly blended
gingerbread lattes just off
camera – the director built it
and sent you all to Iceland.
Kind of torturous, no?
Douglas: I think one of the
obvious ones was the weather;
we actually started filming in
the summer in New York. It was
so hot that Ray Winston [who
plays Tubal-cain, Noah’s arch
enemy] at one point, who
wore a beard and heavy
makeup up, nearly fell down a
flight of stairs.
Emma: His makeup was
literally melting off his face.
Then we decided to shoot
the soaking wet scenes. We
literally went through all the
W: Well, that’s weirdly
D: The whole film felt
atmospheric and also being on
location in Iceland felt like we
were on another planet. We
were very cut off and secluded
and away from the world so it
made everything more intense.
We simply had to focus, as
there was nothing else to
distract us. I was impressed
by the lack of green screen
involved in Noah - we tried
to make the film as real as
E: Darren really hates special
effects. He tried to do as much
as he physically could without
using green screen. The special
effects guy was like a magician.
If he could turn leaves from
brown to green on camera
without using CGI, he would.
W: How much in the way
training did you have to do
E: Because of the storm, Doug
and I ended up shooting most
of our scenes between the
hours of 4am and 7am – and
at that time I never function
well. Because the film has a
Darren didn’t want anyone
drinking from plastic water
bottles on the set, either. So
that made things slightly harder.
Everything we used had to be
recycled or recyclable. Having
no water bottles on set at five
in the morning - when you’re
exhausted and delirious –
wasn’t ideal. I was so tired one
morning I picked up a mug
from my trailer and drank some
stagnant water that had been
there for the duration – so three
months. I was so ill. I came
in the next day and was like
Black silk jacket and trousers both
by PRADA, shirt by T.M LEWIN
and velvet ribbon stylist’s own.
Emma wears black velvet coat by MIU
MIU, white shirt and skirt both by RYAN
LO and beret stylist’s own.
Emma wears black lace dress by
DOLCE & GABBANA and tiara
from BENTLEY & SKINNER.
haven’t even seen this film.
Darren talks a lot about his
films being a bit like a ride - like
a rollercoaster. He explained,
in an interview I just did with
him, that: “If people are going
to pay a sum of money to come
and see my movie, I want it
to be an incredible, terrifying,
overwhelming experience from
beginning to end.” I think it’s
much easier to do that when
there’s a level of mystique or
nervous energy about a film.
I think Doug and I feel it’s
important that we protect it.
“Darren, I don’t think I can do this, I’m really sick.” He was like, “Use
it for the scene.” And I turned around to the bus and was like, “Is he
joking? He’s joking right?” and there was deadly silence.
W: You’ve been friends since 2009. How did it feel being cast
together in such a high budget big screener?
D: Well you [Emma] probably had insider knowledge of casting
because you’re friends with Darren.
E: No I really didn’t, I had nothing to do with it.
W: When you first met as models, did you talk about films that
you had done, actors you mutually loved, or directors you
wanted to work with in the future?
E: Oddly, we have the same favourite restaurant in London, and I
remember asking him out for dinner and both of us dreaming about
what kind of films we wanted to make down the line - not thinking
we’d film together only three years later. Weirdly still, Doug bought
me a first edition signed copy of the album Just Kids by Patti Smith.
Patti ended up working with Doug and I and Darren in Noah - she
wrote a lullaby, which is going to be used in the film. She was very
present and around on the set, too.
W: Emma, tell me about your hair in the film. Are you wearing
E: Dreadlocks. I essentially had a bob at the time. I had a chestnut
brown bob, which was sort of the opposite of ideal in that situation.
So she put in these hair extensions and we just couldn’t hide the
fact that my hair was so short. She [her hairdresser] suggested
matting it all together. I mean they didn’t have baths or showers or
anything like that on set, so that worked out really well for everyone.
W: You and Aronofsky have been friends for years. Where and
when did you meet? Did he help turn you into the staunch
environmentalist you are now?
E: He was at the trailer premier for Black Swan and I was at the
BAFTAs accepting an award for Harry Potter, and so we were both
backstage at the same time and that was that, really. But I was
aware of his work, and that was definitely one of the things that
drew me to the project and to the script. It’s cool to be working on
a movie that tells a story that is thought-provoking in a realist way.
W: Darren has said that he wanted to tell a heavily embellished
version of the biblical story – he is, after all, an irreligionist…
D: For me, I didn’t necessarily sign up to make an environmental
movie, I just signed up to work with Darren Aronofsky. I’m such a
E: Darren wrote the script with Ari Emanuel, his writing partner.
They did a huge amount of research into various versions,
scriptures, writings and different tellings of the story - from King
James’s Bible to other editions. The main problem is that, in the
bible, the story of Noah’s Ark covers about half a page. He made a
three hour movie from three paragraphs’ worth of storytelling.
D: But everything he did take from it was deadly accurate. The
measurements for the ark were
exactly the same as it was in
the bible - the exact shape and
dimensions. Darren is one of
the best filmmakers out there,
and it was down to his bizarre
imagination and creativity to
bring a story like that to life.
E: To me, Noah as a story
is very much “doves and
rainbows” - it’s a little cheesy in
an hilarious kind of way. Mixing
that with someone like Darren
Aronofsky - who is the lord of
darkness and angst - makes for
a really interesting dialogue.
W: Aronofsky has made a
point to not let on much
about the film, its contents,
or its narrative arc (no pun
intended). I remember
reading an article in The
Guardian about it – the
writer was clearly interpreting
the plot from the film’s
slightly opaque two-and-ahalf-minutes long trailer. Did
he mention the importance of
secrecy to you?
E: Let’s put it this way – we
Emma, tell me about The
Queen of the Tearling. When
did you first read Erika
David Heyman sent it to me
last summer. I had kind of said
I would never do a franchise
again, so I was desperate to
hate it. Unfortunately, I didn’t
sleep for about a week because
I couldn’t put the bloody thing
down. It would be fair to say
I became obsessed with the
role and the book. Now I am
executive producing it. Ha!
W: What’s next in the ongoing
Booth and Watson saga? Are
you this generation’s Starsky
E: Richard III and Queen Anne
would be cool…
D: That would be different.
E: Maybe Bonnie and Clyde?
Douglas wears shirt, trousers and knitted
top all by ALEXANDER MCQUEEN.
Emma wears black velvet coat by
MIU MIU, white shirt and skirt both
by RYAN LO and beret stylist’s own.
Director of Noah, screenwriter and film producer
Graduated from Harvard where he studied social sciences. Oscar-nominated
director of Black Swan, The Wrestler, The Fountain, Requiem for a Dream and Pi.
Fearless auteur. On-set beard grower.
So, you were involved in writing
the script for Noah. You haven’t
been with all of your films, but
this one, and The Fountain and
Requiem, you wrote those.
How does that process start for
you? I imagine it requires a very
different set of skills than those
you usually use for directing.
It’s a completely different job. You
know it is much more of a lonely job.
Directing is really a collaborative
job. And I think everything in the
directing process, pretty much
apart from storyboarding and shot
listing is collaborative. And you
know writing is really pretty lonely.
Luckily I had Ari Handel to work with
and we bounce a lot of ideas off
The whole process started, when
I was in seventh grade and I was
thirteen, I met Mrs. Fried who you
might remember from set. And
she was this great English teacher
who told us to write something on
peace and I ended up writing a
poem about Noah. Noah was very
much a patron saint for me. There
emerged an idea that maybe I could
be a writer or a storyteller and then
when I finished Pi, I started talking,
thinking seriously about, is there
a way to somehow turn the Noah
story, even though it is such a small
story in the Bible, into a two hour
And then a few years went by and
Ari and I decided to give it a shot
and see if we could set it up and
start to write it. How we normally
do it is we just spend a lot of
time walking around and thinking
and talking about it, about ideas.
We do a tremendous amount of
research, which on this one was
even more so because we wanted
to read everything there was about
the Genesis story and all different
types of commentary from the last
few thousand years about it to try
to breathe a 21st century sensibility
into it and make it work for modern
Interviews with the Cast and Crew
by EMMA WATSON
Have you worked with Ari on any
of your other writing projects?
I worked with Ari on the story of The
Fountain. We spent a lot of time
thinking about that but this is the
first one we wrote together.
Is The Fountain a companion
piece to Noah?
No, I don’t think they’re really
related. They’re very different. I think
The Fountain fits exactly where I
was and the scale of Noah, the
complexity of it, the ensemble nature
of all the different characters really
make it a very different project. You
know, The Fountain was really about
one guy in different areas of reality.
absolutely obsessed with The
Fountain. He watches it every
few weeks. So I asked him, what
should I ask Darren? And his
question was that you’ve used
religious referencing as a key
storytelling device, and it’s a very
personal question, so completely
you can choose to answer it or
not, but what is your personal
connection to religion and its
use in carving out a moral or
meaningful sense in your life?
I think a lot of these stories that
come out from religion, people
have been telling them thousands
of years and they have been having
an impact on people for thousands
of years because they are incredibly
well crafted stories that have just
lasted and survived the test of time. I
think because they are such ancient
stories for us, there is something
about them that is connected to our
condition on this planet and that’s
the reason people keep telling them
over and over again.
For me, the Noah story, there
were a lot of things that were very
interesting. There is a real idea
about family and re-starting and I
think for anyone that is becoming
a father, which is something I was
doing when I was starting to write it,
it’s a very interesting idea because
there is a lot of fear that when you
become a father and I think I was
able to think about Noah, because
he was not only becoming the new
father for the whole of civilisation
but he was he was also literally
becoming a grandfather in the story
so a lot of those ideas connected to
Basically it is the fourth story in
the bible. There is Creation, then
Adam and Eve and Original Sin.
Then Cain and Abel the first murder.
That happens and then basically it
jumps down, and the next story 10
generations later the world is so
wicked that the creator decides to
destroy the world and only Noah
and his family survive.
That was just interesting, it goes
from perfect creation to the original
sin to being over with Noah and
it just made me think. It really
connects to what is happening
now on the planet, when we’re
sort of witnessing man’s complete
domination of the planet and we’re
in a very similar place where the
environment is changing pretty
quickly and pretty radically. 100
years ago, the seas were filled
with fish and now it’s a pretty dire
situation. Noah was instructed to go
out and save Creation. The two by
two is such an interesting important
part of the story that it would be
interesting to see if there was a
way to connect that to what was
So, in some senses, the
environmental aspects to the film
could be perceived as political.
Have you thought about how you
might answer questions about
whether the film is really speaking
to that? Is that something you
want to talk about, or would you
rather let the film speak for itself?
I think that in the story of Noah there
is an undeniable environmental
message. His job is to save the
animals; he builds an arc to save the
animals and his family.
I wanted to ask about your
effects. I was so interested in
Well it was the first time I’ve ever
dealt with effects on this scale.
We have a tremendous number
of special effects. The Watchers
(the legendary Nephilim) and the
actors interacting with them was
complicated. We didn’t have any
animals on set and we had to create
them digitally. And all the miracles
of the story, which are many, the
waters of the heaven and the waters
of the earth, we had to think of a way
to portray that.
So Noah certainly has the biggest
budget you have ever worked
with and is probably the first film
you have ever made that isn’t
going to a film festival. How have
you found that process and do
you think you’ll work on this scale
again, or do you think you’ll be
avoiding it for a while?
You never know what is going
to connect with people. You can
do something small, like The
Blair Witch and it connects with
everyone. You do something big
and it may or may not connect. For
me, it is just about the stories and
what they take to get made. Taking
on something like Noah’s Ark you
know from the start it had to be epic
in scale with epic actors and epic
effects. That was always clear, if
you’re going to do Noah, it’s got to
I obviously have to ask you
about Patti [Smith] and how and
why you wanted her to write the
lullaby for the movie?
Well I think it happened when
I was on the jury [at the Venice
Film Festival]. About a year before
we started the movie, Patti was
there and we had been friends for
a little bit and we watched a few
movies together. Then one night
we were walking around Venice,
it was late at night and the streets
were abandoned and we were just
getting lost and I was telling her
that there was this major plot point
in the film about a lullaby in the
movie. Patti told me how she has
been writing lullabies for years and
that she studied them and she has
made songs out of them and she
told me how much she would like to
Do you like rollercoaster rides?
You always talk about your films
being like rides.
I grew up right near Coney Island
and one of the most famous
rollercoasters in the world, the
Cyclone is there, which I’m surprised
I didn’t take you on, I usually take
most of my actors but we were in
Iceland in the summer. Next time
you come to New York I’ll take
you on it. But it’s this old, wooden
rollercoaster from 1929 that’s still
standing and eight people have
died on it in its history and for a guy
to have grown up in South Brooklyn
it’s legendary. Because of it I kind
of became a rollercoaster fanatic.
Whenever I was in a town that had
one of those great amusement
parks that is the first thing I would
do. My parents are really big
rollercoaster riders too. We’re not
into the spinning rides, you know,
the ones that make you vomit, we’re
really into the adrenaline rides.
Director of Noah, screenwriter and film producer
Costume Designer on Noah
Michael costumed the films Party Monster, the final installment of Twilight, Sucker
Punch, and most recently American Hustle.
That answers my question then,
why you made that analogy.
I always talk about the Cyclone
because its structure has a great
narrative. I think the ride lasts a
minute and a half but it takes you
through all these different emotions
and different types of thrills and it
was definitely an inspiration always
when I make films just to keep
In our conversations together,
we have spoken a lot about the
meaning of happiness and I’m
just wondering what that means
to you just at this specific moment
We have? We’ve spent time talking
Oh, ok, good, well that makes me
happy. Talking about happiness
makes me happy.
It obviously had a profound
impact on you [laughs].
I mean, I don’t know, I’m a pretty
optimistic guy even though I’m
pretty pessimistic about the state
of the world. I think I like to have a
good time and I’m happy when I’m
deep in my work and I find myself
happy when I’m with my friends,
when I’m with my son, and when
I’m with my girl. I find myself happy
when I’m drawing and doing art. I
Of course I enjoy filmmaking but
filmmaking has a lot of pressures.
Mostly I enjoy working with actors
on set, that’s always the most fun.
It’s between action and cut when
we’re actually doing our work
together, that’s the most exciting
time and I think that’s the thing
that brings us all back, that gets us
through the hours of sitting in the
make-up chair and all the studying
and all the rejection and all that stuff,
is that moment between action and
cut, when it’s game time it’s really a
lot of fun.
Your parents are really a
presence in the making of the
movie. They’re awesome.
I really can’t keep them away.
What’s the best piece of advice
they’ve ever given you?
They say, their basic attitude in life
when it came to work was always
“Don’t work too hard” and getting
permission from your parents not to
work too hard I think is an important
lesson. It’s interesting, in some ways
the less hard I’ve worked, allowing
the stress and pressure out of my
life and having the confidence to
sort of relax into it I think has made
me a better filmmaker.
That makes perfect sense. Your
films consistently feature very
obsessive and driven individuals,
you know, almost to the point
of self-destruction. And I’m
just interested in, how do you
relate to your heroines. Do you
see yourself in your heroines or
I think when it is at a script level, it is a
sketch for an actor to take and figure
out how to create it for themselves
and hopefully you communicate
when you’re writing something in a
screen play, the general direction of
where you want the character to go
and how to get there.
So it’s probably something I can
relate to but I think it’s important
to allow the actor to make those
so it is often that the character
more connected to the actor than it
does to me in the end. Sometimes
you can see the director in every
character but you know, my biggest
success was to bring Natalie alive
as a ballerina and Micky alive as
a wrestler, two totally different
characters with similar stories but
through their own emotions and
Why did you cast Russell as
Noah? What was it about him
as a man and as an actor as we
have known him that you thought
would make him interesting to
audiences as Noah?
Well, if you really think about it,
it’s a really fucking hard role to
undertake, it’s scary and it’s hard
to make convincing that you are a
Biblical character of that scale, and
there are just very few people who
can do that. The list was always very
short of who we thought could do
that, and I’ve always thought Russell
was a talented actor. It was just how
we would work together, how our
personalities would mesh and after I
met him a couple of times it seemed
like it was going to be fine.
Darren and I wanted to create a unique look for the film, one that combined
lots of different influences, from ancient history to cutting edge modern
couture. The idea was to create a world that reverberated with lots of
associations, but was not specific to one time or one place. So as well as
researching the clothes from biblical times, I was inspired by contemporary
fashion designers such as Rick Owens, Raf Simons and Helmut Lang, by
African and Middle Eastern traditional clothes, by video game characters
and by contemporary artists such as Anselm Kiefer and El Anatsui.
I think for me the challenge was to get the balance right - I wanted to create
memorable, striking costumes, but at the same time I had to make sure that
they were 100% believable, that they had a reason for looking the way they
did, that they didn’t distract the audience, but gave them insights into the
details of the characters’ lives and personalities. 3
I try to be like a good parent, and not have a favorite! But I’m really proud of
the costume I created for you - there was a talented knitter in the costume
department who did many samples until we found the right look. We
created an interesting technique where we dropped a stitch and it created
a wonderful loopy distressed texture.
There are so many amazing memories from this project - almost being
blown off the side of a mountain in Iceland in gale-force winds, dressing
400 soggy extras under rain towers in Long Island on my birthday,
unpacking a box of incredible fabrics that we had commissioned from
Morocco that were woven together with plastic straws, bottle tops and
electrical tape. I think my favorite sight was coming back to the costume
trailer late one night to find my entire crew hand sewing the Noah vests
together - each vest required about 50 hours of hand finishing, and it made
my heart soar to see my crew so invested in the look of the film. pg.167
Cinematographer on Noah
Cinematographer on Noah
Oscar-nominated for his work on Black Swan. Has also collaborated with Joel
Schumacher, Spike Lee, and Jon Favreau. Has worked on music videos for Jay-Z,
Tracy Chapman, Moby and Justin Timberlake.
(i)How did this come about?
Yes. The track was Gimme One Reason. (ii)Did you keep your cool?!!
(please excuse my massive fan girl moment)
I was fortunate at the time to be working with a director named Julie Dash
who was awarded the video. Obviously I was a massive fan of her first
record so I was more than excited to get the gig. Truth be told I WAS
nervous. I was in my 20’s and had only been a DP for a couple of years.
The allegory. This is me and I do not want to speak for Darren but
the film is ultimately an indictment of man for our misuse of the planet. Hopefully the film finds the right audience and its statement on
environmentalism is heard.
i) What kind of visual metaphors did you use?
A great deal of inspiration comes from conversations I have with Darren
about palette and how they’re articulated in Production Design and the
colour of light. It’s really the first meeting of imagination and practicality for
me. For instance, having a predetermined light source like fire will dictate
the creative choice in colour.
ii)What kind of lighting did you want?
I wanted to convey a naturalism in the quality of the light but also had the
intention of stylising it through a relationship with shadow. (iii)Did any other artists or
movies inspire you?
what most stood out to you?
I realized that we were making the greatest road movie ever told. It was
not until the ark was being built did we actually revisit spaces. This was
comforting in that it afforded a great deal of freedom visually because I
wasn’t bound by matching the light.
(v)What kind of prep did you do?
I spent about 14 weeks of prep which is typical when working with Darren. As you can tell he is a meticulous craftsman. I wish I could say that it was all spent creatively but the honest truth is it’s
discussion after discussion about logistics and compromise. I’d rather get
on with it.
That’s an interesting thing to think about and a difficult thing to articulate. It’s all I know how to do because I’ve been in love with the craft of
cinematography for 25 years. Although I serve as the visual articulator of
words I find the creation of atmosphere in a film the most rewarding. I wish
that every film I photograph could be spoken of as art in some circles but
sadly I know this is NOT always possible. Cinematography is a strange
craft in that there is a sense of authorship but no ownership.
I usually arrive at every film with a great deal of reference in many forms…
films, photography, painting, sculpture, music, etc…. Somehow I did not
find anything particularly useful as I thought about Noah. I fell back on
some influences that I’ve collected over the years. Rembrandt, Caravaggio,
Jon J Muth, Bill Henson, Alec Soth, Andrew Wyath.
(iv)When you deconstructed the film,
The most inspiring thing to me was the light in Iceland. It inspired many
scenes to have a visual tone and feel that was far better than I imagined
them to be in prep.
MIKE AND DOUG STARN
Their major work ‘Big Bambú’ formed the scaffolding for Noah’s Ark. I got to
speak to them on Lake Oscawana, on the outskirts of New York, last summer.
Author of Just Kids, William Blake enthusiast, co-wrote Because the Night with
Bruce Springsteen, poet, musician, visual artist, singer, genius, legend, icon.
Songwriter on Noah
What is your relationship like with
Although I don’t see Darren very
often I feel I can count him as a
friend. He is easy to talk to, honest
and thoughtful. We are both workers,
preoccupied in our tasks. I can trust
that time and distance does not alter
Why do you think he is an important
How did you first become involved
I think it mainly came from one of
the assistant art directors. Erica is
a friend of a friend and she had our
contact info. I think they had designed
a bamboo scaffold and they didn’t
know how they were actually gonna
build it so they contacted our studio.
We were away somewhere and once
we saw the plans we thought, ‘this is
kind of dull, rigid and not organic and
not about people who are in a hurry
and not just trying to do something
and make something happen.’ So we
asked Mark Friedberg if he wanted
us to do it and he said yes. Mark has
known our work for a long time, we’re
around the same age, and I guess it
just worked out perfectly.
So how do the bamboo structures
which are in the film differ from,
for example, the one you put up at
the Metropolitan Museum of Art?
What we did for Noah is all pathway
and platform so no sort of dense
chaos. We did make a functioning
scaffold. Cinematically we were
thinking about the characters in the
story and how they were going to be
able to use it.
It looked amazing. It looked like
nothing else. I think that was
Darren’s biggest challenge. For
example, those rock monsters, the
Watchers. Originally he went to a
special effects company and they
produced something that looked
like everything else he’s seen. So
again, he had to outsource and go
to an artist with an original design.
How did you first come up with
the idea of the Big Bambú Project
before it got stolen by Darren for
Our work has always dealt with an
idea of interconnection and how
nothing stays the same. It’s always
growing and changing. It’s part of
our philosophy for life and a while
ago it just occurred to us that this
philosophy could be a physical
object that you could be within and
inhabit, that you could make the
structure that dealt with that same
principle and idea and then we got
to thinking about which material we
could use. And bamboo is flexible,
cheap and just the fact that each
pole has its own character. It’s about
how things grow and change. Things
come together randomly; life isn’t
planned, as much as you do plan.
We all swim through this chaos every
day, you’re working with moments
and everyone else’s trajectory and
that affects yours, it gives you a
medium in which to live your life.
You must get asked to be part of
all sorts of weird and wonderful
projects – what made you say yes
Well, he is a great film maker. Getting the chance to do something
different and out of the art world
is fascinating. Movies are a place
where fantasy becomes something
so engrossing. I love movies so it
was great to have Bambú be part of
a movie. We wouldn’t have said yes
to just anyone.
What kind of movies do you like?
We love Harry Potter. My daughter
is now 19 going on 20 and was the
perfect age for your movies. It was
one of the films that my kids really
loved that I really loved too.
That’s so great! It’s funny because
my dad doesn’t really like films
at all but he read those books to
me. So if I had been part of any
other children’s movie he would
have had zero interest but the fact
that it was those books meant
we were able to have this special
Anything else you want to add?
I don’t know. The Bible is such a
weird book that has done so much
damage and so much good in the
world. But the story of Noah’s ark
is the cheesiest craziest story ever.
What is he going to do with it? I
don’t know. When I first heard it I
was really surprised but knowing him
it will be something amazing.
I felt the same way! The rainbow
and the dove and everything… but
I think people are in for a shock it
gets pretty dark and bloody. . . pg.172
Darren has vision. Noah is a
visionary film. A commentary on the
complexities of being human and
what we have done to our planet. He
has had the courage to use Biblical
material to make a modern statement.
We need our artists to step up and
counsel as well as enlighten us.
Noah is such a film.
What inspiration did you draw on
for Ila’s lullaby?
I read the script and had a strong
sense of the meaning of the song
to Noah. His father sang it to him,
a song of the creator, the ultimate
father. I imagined Russell Crowe
as Noah singing it. I imagined you.
The words had to be a comfort to
him as a boy and to you as a child.
You had lost your father and Noah
chose to sing you a song. A song
that promises that the Father is with
When Darren called and told
me I had been cast as Ila I had
just arrived in New York two
hours before. After having been
searching for an apartment for
over six months the moment I
hung up the phone with Darren I
walked straight into an unknown
building, which said it had rooms
for rent. I was immediately taken
to apartment ‘11a’ which is where
I lived for the duration of the
shoot. It was and still is my dream
home. Two doors opened and they
both spelt ‘11a’. Similarly after a
particularly grueling few days I
was faced with a big scene with
Antony Hopkins. I was nervous.
I set my desktop background
on my laptop as you. To give me
inspiration in the make-up trailer.
As I walked out of the bus you
were the first thing I saw standing
there, looking for catering. I had
no idea you would be in Iceland.
In short, I believe in signs or a
certain poetry/magic that relates
to the workings of the universe. I
think it is why I am so drawn to your
writing and your world view. You
see poetry in everything. Every
thing or moment has significance.
And that is really beautiful to
me. Of course the way writing is
interpreted is so subjective but..
Does any of what I have said have
any resonance with you? If it does
do you know when or why or how
the world speaks to you in this
way? Has there ever been a time
when you have felt it has stopped?
I like the James Joyce line in Pomes
Penyeach. The signs that mock
me as I go. I live with these signs.
Sometimes they are everywhere and
validate my every move. Sometimes
they are cruel. But I embrace them
nevertheless. I believe each of us
is his own master, but nature is
also a master. There are patterns
everywhere - in our palm and in a
The other reason you inspire me
is for your strength. You have
the conviction of a prophet and
yet modesty and “relatability”!
When you doubt yourself is there
someone or something that gives
you the strength to believe in your
words, artistic path, and purpose?
A reminder that keeps you on
Being an artist sends one back and
forth across the emotional poles. I
guess the simplest way to say it is
this: I am an artist; that is what I
do. I have ecstatic moments and
barren ones. Like a ship Captain
negotiating all kinds of weather and
states of the sea. Through good and
bad weather he is still the Captain. If
one is blessed with a gift, no one can
take it away. In barren times we must
believe. Sometimes it is necessary
to put aside our work. Walk by the
sea. Help another. Run through the
forest. Sleep beneath the stars.
Then go back to the work, with new
air in our lungs, new ideas.
You don’t shy away from the darkness
in the world but when I have watched
you on stage or met you in person
there is almost a ‘youthfulness’… a
giggly, girlishness to you. (I hope
you don’t mind me making this
observation) What helps you keep in
touch with or gives you the courage
to be both sides of yourself?
I contain all sides of myself, all ages.
The eleven-year old girl who walked
with her dog. The girl who kicked a
hole in her Fender Twin amplifier in
1978. The mother. The widow. The
beach bum. I don’t leave any of them
behind when I am on stage. Then I
feel more ready to negotiate any
Has becoming/being a mother
changed your relationship to your
I was always a tomboy. I didn’t
like having to be conscious of my
prospective womanhood. When I had
children I loved them. I still felt I was
an artist with a somewhat rebellious
heart, but I gained something else
that was very special. Empathy. An
oneness with every mother. A sense
that every child was my child as well.
You have such a specific sense
of style. What is your definition of
femininity? How does it relate to
masculinity? How do you find a
way to feel good being YOU.
I don’t have any definition. I don’t
really think about things in a divided
way. I am aware I possess both
masculine and feminine rhythms.
I don’t analyze which is which. I’m
grateful to be alive and to have an
imagination and possess good
health. As long as I can do my work
and move about freely I am happy.
I love to see new actors and
actresses. They give me great hope,
as I love the movies so much. Certain
films I watch again and again, just
to see their work. Saoirse Ronan in
Hanna. Mia Wasikowska in Alice in
Wonderland. Andrea Riseborough
and Sam Riley in Brighton Rock.
Casey Affleck in The Assassination
of Jesse James. The only thing that
scares me, in any field, would be a
lack of imagination.
Who would you really like to
collaborate with that you have yet to?
What great dreams have you yet to
I would love to collaborate with my
daughter Jesse. I think if I am meant
to collaborate with anyone it will
My great dream is to write a detective
story. I am working on one but it will
take a while. I would have loved to
have played a detective. I don’t see
that happening but that would be a
dream job. A detective in a remote
dreary town by the sea with an
equally dreary church, a dusty library
and a pub filled with suspicious
The song “Rock ‘n’ Roll Nigger”
Would you write that song today?
How do you feel about it now in
comparison to when you wrote
it? Does meaning—of words,
of songs—change along with
historical/temporal context? On
a related note, why is it important
to be profane, to push boundaries,
to do the unexpected and the
perhaps unsavory? Rock ‘n’ Roll Nigger was a declaration
of existence. I had the great hope
and hubris to think I could redefine
the word, give it a new fearless
connotation. I wrote it with a sense
of abandon and still access that
feeling of optimistic rage when I sing
it. I can’t say whether it’s important
to push boundaries. It came naturally
to me, that’s all. When I sing it I can
feel my young self, kicking through
a Fender Twin amplifier, turning the
tables at a press conference, pulling
the strings off an electric guitar. Then
scrambling off the stage and going
back to the tour bus and reading
contemporary music? What do
you think? What scares you?
Or what other sorts of artists—
painters, whatever—inspire you
Previous work includes Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler, The Fountain
and Black Swan. Performs with the Sonus Quartet.
Mark has been production designer on, amongst others, Wes Anderson’s The
Life Aquatic and The Darjeeling Limited, Ang Lee’s The Ice Storm, Jim Jarmusch’s
Coffee and Cigarettes, and Todd Haynes’ Far from Heaven and Mildred Pierce.
Composer on Noah
elements into play. You can feel the
presence of another character even
if they’re not on the screen. Really
it’s a lot of experimentation once
you’ve got the thematic ideas. Then
you can say we’ll juxtapose things
against one another and then see
how that helps with the story and
I really wanted to ask you about
inspiration and how it comes
to you. How does the music
manifest itself usually? Do you
hear it in your head? Do you just
suddenly get an idea?
Hey, How are you? What are you
out in LA doing?
Yeah, tell me about it. I mean the
film is nearly two and a half hours
long and there is about two hours
of score in it, so it’s pretty complex.
There are so many subtexts and
characters. Tubal-cain is an overall
presence, along with the destruction
of the world. So audiences might be
focusing on some other elements
of the story but you can always feel
this sort of evil, or this horror of man,
that is always in the background.
So once I’ve written everything,
every character has a different
theme and different locations have
different pieces of music. Once
that’s done I go back and sort of
My overall plan for my music in any
film is that even if you don’t have
the dialogue or even if you’re not
watching the film but you’re hearing
the music you’d still know what was
going on story-wise; you’d still be
being pulled through it.
It’s a huge tapestry, and we’re going
back over it to find out which bits
of music work well and where. You
can start off with an intellectual
approach, so you go bad guys on
screen with bad guy music and then
good guys and good guy music, but
then when you start moving things
around you can really bring other
There really isn’t any set way. I would
describe it as a process of me
getting out of my own way. It’s a very
subliminal thing. I don’t know where
it is. At the risk of namedropping, I
met with David Bowie once, as he
was going to work on ‘The Fountain’
but it didn’t come to pass. He said
his wife told him: “Your job entails
a lot of looking out the window,
doesn’t it?” That’s kind of what it is.
For me, it’s almost like meditative,
I try and get a rhythm of the film.
That’s the first thing I look for, the
pacing and what the overall groove
of the film is. Then I just keep playing
and writing. The first two things you
do will be shit then and then you
do something and say, “OK, that’s
interesting” and then I keep going
until I find something I know really
sticks to the picture.
Has the connection ever escaped
you, because I definitely have this
as an actress all the time, I get
panicky around the idea that there
will be a moment where I need to
feel great joy or great sorrow and
I just worry that I’ll just go numb
or I’ll just feel blocked and I won’t
be able to feel anything. Does
that ever happen?
All the time [both laugh]. I’m
fortunate because I can move
around the film and I can go, ok, I’m
not feeling that today and I’ll go off
and do something else. Sometimes
that difficult part can really be
informed by other things around it.
If I’m not feeling something I just try
to move on. I’m a firm believer that
nothing is ever wasted.
I’m interested; to write some types
of music, do you feel a certain
amount of pain? Do you feel like
it’s cathartic? When I have to go
Set Designer on Noah
through a really difficult scene, I
can’t go and have a laugh or chat
with someone in the middle of it.
I’m just not that type of actress.
I’m just interested in what kind of
space you have to be in to really
write something that…
I think undoubtedly your experiences
in life can be channeled or exploited,
but I don’t know if you necessarily
had to have been through these
things. I don’t know that writing
has ever really been cathartic to be
I play live with a nine piece band as
well as doing my film work and that’s
sometimes cathartic, the volume
and the emotion when you’re
playing some of those pieces.
Writing is much more of a craft than
an art and you ultimately get a little
bit desensitized to it.
interconnecting needs are vast. It’s
been a little difficult to get my head
around it all. Most films have a sort
of forty-five minutes to an hours’
worth of music, and Noah has twice
that. A piece I first came up with
was for a piece we’ve just called
“Apocalypse”. It now plays when the
rains come, and I sent it to Darren
and this was early on and he played
it really loud and his son Henry was
listening to it and he ran across the
room screaming “It’s so dramatic,
it’s so dramatic”.
How old is Henry? Seven?
Something like that yeah.
really excited I think is a good
I’m a collaborator at heart. I am inspired by the power creative people can
generate by combining their reserves. I was a fine artist who studied at
Brown (where you are at school!). I accept the unpredictable elements of
filmmaking. Sometimes I have opted to do movies for all the right reasons
and they have turned out terribly. And then sometimes the questionable
ones turn out to be brilliant. My allegiance is to directors, who even with
the most unsure of scripts can make something beautiful. Filmmaking is
a bit like a symphony. The director points his baton and all the different
departments try to create a sense of harmony.
(Laughs) I’ll definitely take that.
What is it that keeps you going?
Well I don’t know because I’m
always thinking about quitting
But Darren won’t let you!
Let’s see if we’re still speaking at
the end of this one.
Right, so I’m going to be really
self-interested for a minute.
When you were coming up with
Ila’s [Emma’s character in Noah]
theme, what did that end up
It’s not so much about Ila, it’s more
about what Ila represents to me.
Obviously there’s the connection
between her and Shem (Douglas
Booth), also with Ham (Logan
Lerman) as well. You don’t want
to get into this horny teenager
area, you know? But at the same
time there is a real passion. To
me she represents the good of
the world. She became about this
representation of goodness really,
but there’s also pain given her
I can’t wait! Is there a part of the
score that you’re most pleased
with that you came up with in
I am right in the midst of it at
the moment. It’s been a very
difficult score because there is
so much music and because the
The legendary Nephilim. according to Genesis 6:4, they were the
“Offspring of the sons of God” and the “Daughters of men”. Numbers
13:33 said they were giants inhabiting Canaan.
Why do they have to look like football players? Why do they even have to
have a human anatomy? We ended up using ‘sticks’ as inspiration. Artist
Sam Messer became the de facto designer of The Watchers.
Early on Darren was unhappy with all the images coming back from the
Hollywood creature designers. I reached out to Sam who is just about
the most talented person that I know and also the most true. He does
what he does and does not try to impress. Darren responded to his work
immediately and he became a key player in the Watcher design. He is one
of my closest friends and he is a great artist.
We wanted the ark to creak and breathe. We wanted there to be a sense
that it may or may not hold together. We wanted the ark to be a clash of
art and industry. Survival and family. A dark, brooding, ominous coffin.
There had to be a sense that they were trying to build something as big as
possible as fast as possible. The straw on the outside of ark looks like it
has been thrown to give it a sense of urgency.
I used Anselm as inspiration because I like the mix of brutality and beauty
in his work. Anselm works with materials that are industrial and put together
with haste and emotion. He works with industrial materials in a fine art
setting. It’s poetry and nightmare. pg.175
He has worked on Darren Aronofsky’s latest four films and is also president of Darren’s
production company, Protozoa Pictures. He also has a PhD in Neuroscience.
‘Charlie’ in the The Perks of Being a Wallfower. Starred in 3:10 to Yuma with
Russell Crowe (protagonist in Noah). About to star with Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf,
Jon Bernthal, Michael Peña, Jason Isaacs, Scott Eastwood and Alicia von
Rittberg in Fury. Intends on directing one day soon. Hates mosquitos.
Producer, co-writer on Noah
Actor, ‘Ham’ in Noah
You’ve worked on almost all of
Darren’s films as a producer.
Can you remember the first time
you met? What were your first
I’ve known Darren since before
either of us had anything to do with
movies. We met in our sophomore
year in college. To me he was just
a tall skinny red-headed kid from
Brooklyn with a big mouth and an
If you had to tell me in a
sentence… Why is Noah an
important film? Why is a Biblical
story still relevant to a modern
cinema going audience?
The Noah story, and flood narratives
in general, have resonated with
human beings around the world
for centuries. Why should modern
audiences be any different? There’s
something about the purifying and
destructive properties of water,
something about a world ending
and being restarted, that has a lot
power for people.
Why is the story important to a
religious audience and why is
the story important to a secular
These two questions are a tricky
pair. I wouldn’t presume to say
the movie is important to anyone.
I also don’t love feeding the divide
between those who self-identify
as religious and non-religious. It’s
unfortunate that ideas and issues
get polarised across that divide.
For instance, we’ve seen a lot of
self-identified religious audiences
react negatively to the idea that
there might be an “environmental”
theme in our telling of the Noah
story. Somewhere along the way
the notion of environmental became
viewed as anti-religious. So I’d love
it if our film was a reminder of how
central the idea of good stewardship
over all creation is in the Bible.
On the flip side, it’s amazing to
see how many self-identified nonreligious people are put off by the
very idea of a film that derives from
the Bible and immediately attack
the logic of whether Noah could
ever build a boat big enough to fit
all the animals, or where the water
of the flood could ever go, or what
have you, as a way of evaluating
whether the story is worth telling.
I’d love it if our film was a reminder
that these stories tap into strong
and powerful human concerns.
That you don’t have to be a believer
to find value and entertainment in
Biblical stories. They’re some of
our greatest tales. It’s a shame that
we can all embrace The Clash of
The Titans and Thor but hold back
from doing the same for the Bible
because of a religious divide.
How does Noah compare to
Darren’s other films?
It’s obviously much bigger in scope
than anything else we’ve done.
More visual effects and bigger sets.
But if you put that aside it shares
a lot with the other films. Like the
others, it recasts a familiar genre in
a new way. Except in this case the
genre is Biblical Epic.
How do you feel about your and
Darren’s work being referred to
If that means that people feel
strongly about it, positively and
negatively, that they don’t always
agree and they want to talk about
why, then I’d like nothing better.
Were there any texts other than
‘Noah’ itself that you found useful
or inspiring whilst you were
What was the most surreal
moment for you working on
But yes, we read a lot. I’m a reader
and so whenever I’m thinking or
struggling with ideas I root around
in source material. So I read the
Dead Sea scrolls, St. Augustine,
all kinds of biblical exegesis and
commentaries. I was particularly
interested in what Jewish mysticism,
myth and commentaries had to say
about some of the more obscure
parts of the story – who the
Watchers were, how the Ark was
built, the garments Adam and Eve
were given when they left Eden, the
life of Methuselah… I hunted down
as many clues and stories about
those things as I could find.
There were many great moments.
Seeing Mark Friedberg’s Ark in the
middle of a field in Oyster Bay, Long
Island for the first time and walking
up to the top was a pretty mindblowing moment.
The most surreal moment might
have been in Iceland when we were
shooting a scene from the New
World. It was a green mountainside
where the Ark was meant to have
come to rest. In the valley below
we’d set up the beginnings of a
few huts that Noah’s family were
The sky was full of
grey clouds and an old Icelandic
crew-member turned and said,
enough, 10 minutes later, out of
nowhere, the clouds blew off and a
perfect 180 degree rainbow leaped
from one side of the valley to the
other framing the spot where the Ark
had landed and family was starting
again. That was pretty moving.
I sneakily stole a peak at one
of the books you were reading
during Noah that was on your
chair. I think it was a philosophical
text - to do with good and evil.
Oh that worked? I usually just held
it up to block the view of me playing
I remember walking through the interior of the ark and being amazed by
the scale and detail of the production. I had never seen anything like it.
The ark was ginormous and the production designers created all of the
hibernating mammals, birds, insects and spiders and placed them all
around the different levels of the set... there were so many beautifully
detailed creatures. It was incredible and definitely the most surreal
moment making this film. 2
Collaborating with Darren and observing his process is a privilege. He is
hands down one of the greatest and most inspiring filmmakers out there.
I’m proud to have worked with him. We were also very interested in
trying to look at Noah as a human.
Once you start to look there are
many plays, novels and stories
taking a glance at early Genesis
that were inspirational. Kierkegaard
has a great examination of Abraham
walking up the mountain to sacrifice
Isaac. And Elie Wiesel delves
deeply into the character of Noah.
Then there are books that don’t have
anything to do with this story on the
surface. Something I read early on
that inspired me a lot as a character
study was Cloudsplitter, which is a
tremendous novel by Russell Banks.
Noah is an important story because it reminds us that we have to respect
the environment and the animals we share this planet with... or else! !
Writer, magazine editor, actress and singer
In her current incarnation Tavi is Editor-in-Chief of Rookie Magazine, the online
publication for teenage girls with a huge and obsessive international readership.
As you can tell from this interview I think she is pretty great. She agreed to talk to
me about feminism, fashion and Beyoncé.
Photographer BEN RAYNER
Fashion LAUREN BLANE
Words EMMA WATSON
Hair and Makeup Lisa Trunda at
Ford Artists using DIOR.
All clothing by MIU MIU SS14.
added one that said like, “making
male journalists butts’ hurt” or
That’s brilliant. Which brings
me to one of the questions that
I sent you, you said being an
editor and an actress are not too
dissimilar and I’m curious about
I definitely approach them
differently but I think at the root of
both is empathy. With acting you
go into it trying to find a point which
you can relate to an experience,
that may or may not be like your
own, and then with editing a lot of
it is about saying this might not be
something that relates to my life
directly but someone else could
benefit from it.
You’re still in Chicago right?
Where it is freezing right now…
Yes I saw! You are in the middle
of a polar storm or something?!
Yeah it’s negative 10 Fahrenheit.
That is crazy, that is so cold. So,
where are we at? You graduate
this summer and you go to
university in the fall, is that right?
I’m actually taking a gap year
before I go to college. I think the
attitude here is very ‘go go go’.
Everyone goes straight to college,
even if you don’t really know what
you want to do, so I just thought it
was important to take some time
I have so many friends coming
out of college who, even now,
after their three or four year
process, don’t have any idea of
what they really want to do.
Absolutely and I’ve never heard
people regret taking a gap year,
I’ve only heard people regret not
taking one. It just makes so much
sense, like it is in England, it should
be standard for people to take that
time out and realise what they are
going to spend all this money and
So have you decided where you
are going to go to college?
I applied to Barnard and NYU. I
want to be in New York but I don’t
know where I’ll get in or where I’ll
choose or whatever yet so I’ve just
sent my applications. Trying not to
stress out, there is nothing more I
can do at this point.
So, what are you up to at the
At the moment there is no school
but yesterday, we had a piece
go up on Rookie where one of
our writers, she’s 19 and she is
studying journalism, wrote this
piece about how frustrating it
can be when male journalists,
especially in music, discount a
young woman’s opinion - you know,
all those attitudes that girls who
like indie music are posers, or that
pop music meant for girls is vapid
on account of its demographic. So
now, some of the writers we called
out are responding, and it’s very
It’s great that you are able to
stand back far enough from
it and find those kinds of
comments amusing. Is she
having trouble doing that or is
she taking it all in her stride?
I think she has taken it in her stride,
she has made it an event, like you
know on Facebook on your timeline
you can make like a life event, she
That’s really interesting. I
watched yesterday the talk
that you gave most recently in
Sydney and you said that it was
important to kill your idols. That’s
interesting. Is that how you
find acting – being able to put
yourself and your own original
work out there in the world
because you realised you had a
place amongst the people you
It’s definitely challenging. We
talked about imposter syndrome
when I interviewed you, and
there are real shades of that in
writing and journalism. So many
of the actors in “Enough Said” are
people I really admire so that was
intimidating too. But I had to remind
myself that even though I’ve been
really lucky, I also work really hard.
I auditioned for the part and I got it,
and I started Rookie myself. Girls
are taught not to take up space and
it holds a lot of us back, so I am all
for conquering imposter syndrome.
It was interesting because when
I was doing my research on you,
I thought, “Gah! I would love to
see Tavi as a young woman, as
an editor of Vogue one day! ”,
like a Diana Vreeland, and then
actually I wonder whether, for
you, Rookie is a space where
you have all this freedom and I
would hate to see you having to
conform in any way?
I have thought about that where I’m
like, do I want to, not exactly use
Rookie as a stepping stone, but
is the goal to get to that position
where these ideas can be more
widespread? But I am just too
accustomed to my way of doing
things and my creative control and
First of all, I have a better
understanding of how journalism
should look in a daily website than
a monthly print magazine but I
also, I’m just too used to what we
have. We have the best of both
worlds, I love that we can do a
book once a year but also think
that for the sake of our community
it is really important to be this
online accessible publication and
I don’t think that I would ever want
to be, I mean not that anyone is
knocking on my door right now, but
I don’t think I’d ever want to head a
magazine that has this legacy that
goes back for so many decades. I’d
maybe rather be a friend with that
editor-in-chief and send them links
I completely understand.
I don’t actually want to be that
I really hope you don’t mind
me saying this, and I say it as
a compliment, but there is this
really very interesting almost
Benjamin Button-esque thing
going on with you in that when
you were younger you portrayed
this much older person and
then I was looking at pictures of
you recently and you look really
young and fresh and it’s really
interesting to me that you have
kind of done things the other
way round; you have gone back
to front. I know it’s so difficult to
look at yourself from outside but
I was wondering if you had any
insight into yourself on that?
I love how you say that and I think
that is so interesting and I definitely
think that is the case. There is that
Bob Dylan lyric which is, “I was so
much older then, I’m younger than
that now” and I think that when I
was younger I felt like I had a lot
to prove. I felt like I had to really
challenge beauty standards and I
had to show that teenage girls are
really smart and only talk about
music and fashion and whatever
in an intellectual context and since
then it’s been different for me. I
have nothing to prove and I want
to write about pop music, not
prestigious fashion shows, and I
think I have just become more open
minded in terms of my style. I love
that you look at it in that way, for me
it would be so much more tragic if
I had kept my more eccentric style
of dressing up just because it had
gotten me so much attention a few
years ago, because it’s genuinely
not my impulse when I get dressed
now in the morning or when I get
dressed for something when I will
be photographed, it is genuinely
not my impulse to do what I did
before. I’m glad I had that time in
my life and it made me extremely
happy but it’s just not…I have my
energy in so many other places
right now that I don’t really use
fashion as an outlet in the way I
used to. I remember when I was a
freshman, at the end of the school
year I wrote a post about feeling
like, maybe I do want to wear
make-up and feel pretty and feel
girly and that doesn’t have to be
so evil and that doesn’t have to be
detrimental to my other issues as
a writer and as a person who is
interested in other things. I love that
you look at it that way and thank
you because it’s frustrating to see
it simply dismissed as selling out or
something like that.
It shows self-assurance, it shows
a kind of nakedness. It looks as if
you have come to a place where
you just feel very ok with yourself
in a much simpler way.
For a long time I utilized fashion
to be reflective of myself, so that
who I was on the outside would
match who I was on the inside. I
still believe it’s a powerful tool, but
not one that I need anymore. When
I gave my talk at the Opera House
I just wanted people to focus on
what was inside, I wanted to wear
something simple, I wanted to put
my ideas out there and not feel like
I was delivering them as some kind
of eccentric. I think what you said
is a really great way of putting it. I
mean I knew I felt these inclinations
now but I hadn’t thought about it
in that way, when I get dressed
now for an event or whatever I just
genuinely feel like keeping it simple
and whatever I’m comfortable in
and I feel less of a need to make
a statement or whatever and draw
attention to myself.
So one last question, it’s a
big one and I’m quite nervous
to bring it up because I still
haven’t really formulated my own
ideas about it but [both laugh]
Beyoncé’s new album.
I don’t know whether you have
spoken to anyone about it,
but my friend and I sat and
we watched all the videos
back-to-back and I was really
conflicted. I so admire her
confidence to put her music
out in that way, in amidst all
these very sensationalist
MTV performances, I was so
psyched about that. On the one
hand she is putting herself in
a category of a feminist, this
very strong woman - and she
has that beautiful speech by
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in
one of her songs - but then the
camera, it felt very male, such a
male voyeuristic experience of
her and I just wondered if you
had thoughts about that?
That is very interesting and I have
definitely been thinking about this
since the album came out. I don’t
always buy that “it’s empowering”
argument when it comes down to
a female pop star being explicitly
sexual. For me, it takes a lot of
convincing. But I actually found this
album very inspiring and feminist
and, overused as this word is,
empowering. The first thing is that
she released it as an album all at
once. They are not singles, so you
have to consider them as one big
self-portrait. There are lots of songs
about sex, but also songs about
being a mother, and being her own
person. And I don’t think there’s
tension between these different
parts of her life - instead, they seem
to inform one another, you know?
I also think seeing these images of
her help to change the standard
of what we think of as beautiful
or sexually desirable, and she
expands it to include someone like
herself, a woman of colour. Girls
who feel underrepresented now
feel less so. She definitely shows
off for her husband a lot in the
videos, she definitely performs for
him, but again, it’s so much her
choice. It also shifts the male part
of it from a male audience to her
husband, and I’m happy that she
shows off her marriage in a world
full of stereotypes about what
monogamous relationships look like
The album is not perfect and
Beyoncé is not perfect but I think
it is very generous of her to let us
watch her relationship to feminism
evolve publicly. I know I’m getting
into the nitty gritty here! It’s just
been on my mind so much.
I would say two things. One is
that in her position, and for a
lot of young musicians, actors
or people in our industry, it’s as
though you get a memo: don’t
be seen with your boyfriend or
your wife or your child because
you still want your audience
to believe or male fans of
Beyoncé to believe that they
could possess her; that in some
alternate universe they could
be with her. So by publically
exposing her marriage, that she
is in a committed relationship,
that she has a child, is probably
really against that kind of memo
and she does make it clear that
she is performing for him. And
the fact she wasn’t doing it for
a label, she was doing it for
herself and the control that she
has directing it and putting it
out there, I agree is making her
sexuality empowering because it
is her choice.
The second is that I would
say you do get sense of, “I
can be a feminist, I can be an
intellectual, I can be all these
other things, but I can also be
ok with my femininity and being
pretty and with all these things
that I thought might negate my
message or negate what I am
about”. That really is the most
interesting thing about the
album. It is so inclusive and puts
feminism and femininity and
female empowerment on such a
Absolutely. I hadn’t thought about
the celebrity part of it either - that
so many pop stars sell us a fantasy
of getting to be with them, and by
featuring her husband in her music,
Beyoncé doesn’t let anyone feel
like they own her. I think she also
makes it as known as much as she
can without putting it in her music
that her dad was her manager,
she fired him, she started her own
company, and she calls the shots.
When I watch this album I feel
like she is truly displaying her own
sense of agency and it is hard to
look at a lot of other pop stars right
now and say the same. I don’t mean
for that to sound condescending,
and I’m obviously not one to
argue that young women have no
self-awareness or autonomy, but it
makes a difference that Beyoncé is
the head of her own empire. And,
because I’m such a fan of hers, I
was also able to compare it to old
Destiny’s Child videos and just be
blown away by how much more
self-possessed she seems now.
Anyways, I am so glad you asked
me about this because I want to
be Beyoncé’s scholar and just talk
about her all the time.
Moving on, and this sounds like
a really silly question on the
back of quite a complicated one,
but… dealing with a bad day or a
bad situation, do you have a go
to thing? For me, it is going to
sound really old womanish but
I like a hot water bottle and Joni
Mitchell. I was just wondering
what your comforting equivalent
is. Do you have a cat, do you
knit…. what do you do?
Joni Mitchell is a big one. I think
you do just have to listen to Joni
Mitchell and all this sad music and
really wallow in it, after that I don’t
have to look back. I just try to make
sure I don’t let things linger and I
really try and face them and not just
face them but think about them too
and then I move on. At the time [me
and my boyfriend] broke up, even
though we got back together, I was
listening a lot to Joanna Newsom, I
listened to Taylor Swift and Stevie
Nicks, a little Beyoncé, but also at
the time I had to go to my friends’
wedding and I was travelling for
Rookie stuff so it was really good
for me to be reminded of other
things in my life. I think it would
have been harder if I was just at
home by myself.
Throwing yourself into work
is always a great comforting
And I ended up being able to use
it in my talk. You don’t have to turn
bad experiences into art and put
that pressure on yourself, but that
experience did spark the idea of
the talk for me. I couldn’t make or
write anything good, so I talked
about what you do when you can’t
turn your experiences into art.
You have been doing what you
are doing for so long, and you
have to be incredibly mature
for your age and I know this
is a really annoying question
to answer but do you have an
opinion on what expedited that?
The environment you grew up in?
Your parents? Or was that just a
I think being a writer makes me very
aware, even to a point of paranoia,
about how I speak and how I
express myself. It’s weird because
there are some people who grow
up giving interviews and everything
and you can really tell in that. For
some reason I was watching all
these old interviews with Lindsay
Lohan and she sounds like a young
adult, but she doesn’t sound
necessarily self-possessed. So
I’ve always told myself to let myself
sound like a kid, that’s how I’m
feeling, but also to make sure that
there is maybe substance behind
what I say and I’m not just trying
to sound fancy. I think all of this
happening from a young age, and
my spending a lot of time reading
other interviews, my brain has just
been shifted to be extra cautious.
Reading, always a good answer.
Thank you so much Tavi.
Author and Philanthropist
Jo Rowling wrote Harry Potter, the best-selling book series in history, yet she still manages to be funny,
kind, warm and real. She spends masses of her time supporting charities such as Comic Relief, Multiple
Sclerosis Research through the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic and her own children’s
charity Lumos... More recently she wrote novels The Casual Vacancy and The Cuckoo’s Calling (a crime
novel under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith).
I wanted to ask you about
writing for Warner Bros for
Warner Bros. came to me ages
ago and said they wanted to
do something with Fantastic
Beasts. I could see the potential
in it. I knew something about Newt
[Scamander, the fictional author of
Fantastic Beasts] having written a
little something for Comic Relief.
I had imagined a little bit of back
story for him…
So when Warner Bros. came to
me and said they wanted to make
a film out of the book I had this
simultaneous feeling of “it has a lot
of potential,” and another feeling
of slight panic that “I know some
things about Newt and I don’t want
you to ruin that for me!” because I
knew who he was. So then I went
away and sort of dwelt on what I
knew about Newt, not intending
to write a script but just trying to
collect my thoughts so that I could
at least give them the backstory I’d
imagined, so that their vision was
true to what I knew.
Then I really did have one of those
moments that always make you
phenomenally excited as a writer;
but also that you know is going
to end up being a ton of work. I
thought, “Oh my God, a whole
plot’s just descended on me!” But
I wanted to do it as I was really
excited about it. I wasn’t really
thinking about writing the script
myself, I thought, you know, I’ll give
them this plot and then – fatally - I
sat down and thought “I just wonder
what it would look like…” and wrote
a rough draft in twelve days!
It wasn’t a great draft but it did show
the shape of how it might look. So
that is how it all started.
Wow, Warner Bros must have
been so excited.
I think they were kind of stunned.
I didn’t tell them I had written it in
twelve days. I’ve never written a
script. It truly wasn’t that I thought
I’d be good at it, I just wanted to get
the outline of the story down, and
that’s obviously given me a lot to
work with going forward.
Do you ever worry when you
have a great idea, when a piece
of inspiration strikes you, that
you won’t ever get it down
Yes definitely, although I do work on
the convenient premise that if it is
worth keeping you will remember
it. I don’t think I have ever lost or
forgotten anything that was really
Does inspiration ever strike you
at really inconvenient moments?
Like when you are driving the car
or you are taking the children to
school and you just think, “not
Harry Potter musical. I didn’t really
see Harry as a musical so we said
no to all of that, but Sonia came
along with a very thoughtful, very
interesting idea. I’m quite excited
Will Hermione be in it?!
Well Emma if you are offering to
play Hermione… [both laugh] I tell
you what I really want. I want you
and Dan and Rupert in really heavy
make-up in the background of a
scene in Fantastic Beasts, and I’ll
join you and we’ll sit in a bar room
having a laugh for an afternoon.
Do you not think that would
That sounds like the most fun I
can imagine having!
That is why I don’t drive, I swear to
God. I cannot drive. People look at
me and think, ‘how can you be a
woman of forty-eight and not drive
a car?’ But I know myself and I
know how detached I am from my
And we can mess around as extras
in the background.
My husband has taken to warning
me from three rooms away that
he is getting closer, so that I don’t
scream. It’s ridiculous because
obviously I do know that I live with
my husband, but that’s how jumpy
I am. He’s gotten used to the fact
that I’m a long way away in my head
and that I get disconcerted when
someone sneaks up on me.
But that tendency does have its
advantages because I’m able to
concentrate to a degree where I
can totally shut everyone out, write it
down or really commit it to memory,
and then, you know, I’ve got it in the
bank. I do think my apprenticeship
writing the first three Harry Potters
when I was a single mother and
didn’t have a lot of support meant
that I learned to be very efficient at
using the time that I have.
You also announced that you’re
going to collaborate on a theatre
Yes, that was a really interesting
idea that Sonia Friedman came up
with. I’ve been so resistant for a long
time about theatre productions.
Quite a few people wanted to do a
And then we can see if anyone can
spot us. I personally would like to
be in drag, just to make sure no one
can spot me at all.
There are so many things that
you could say you have achieved,
what is the most meaningful
to you? What is your greatest
Of what I’ve written, Deathly
Hallows was a phenomenally
emotional experience and my
favourite of the Potter series by a
mile. It wasn’t just about the writing,
it was wrapping up a story that had
taken me through seventeen years
of my life and had meant as much as
any literary creation can mean to any
writer. I mean, not just because it
transformed my life materially, which
of course it did, but that comes a
poor fourth or fifth compared to the
other things that Harry Potter did
But, I hope that the best is still to
come. Nothing will ever top Potter
in terms of popularity, I’ve accepted
that, but on my death bed I may look
back on one of my least popular
books and it may well turn out to be
the one I was proudest of, because
different things matter to the writer.
I thought we should discuss
I’m sure you’ve
heard this a million times but now
that you have written the books,
do you have a new perspective on
how you relate to Hermione and
the relationship you have with her
or had with her?
I know that Hermione is incredibly
recognisable to a lot of readers and
yet you don’t see a lot of Hermiones
in film or on TV except to be laughed
at. I mean that the intense, clever, in
some ways not terribly self-aware,
girl is rarely the heroine and I really
wanted her to be the heroine. She
is part of me, although she is not
wholly me. I think that is how I might
have appeared to people when I
was younger, but that is not really
how I was inside.
What I will say is that I wrote the
Hermione/Ron relationship as
a form of wish fulfillment. That’s
how it was conceived, really. For
reasons that have very little to do
with literature and far more to do
with me clinging to the plot as I first
imagined it, Hermione with Ron.
I know, I’m sorry, I can hear the
rage and fury it might cause some
fans, but if I’m absolutely honest,
distance has given me perspective
on that. It was a choice I made
for very personal reasons, not for
reasons of credibility. Am I breaking
people’s hearts by saying this? I
I don’t know. I think there are fans
out there who know that too and
who wonder whether Ron would
have really been able to make
And vice versa.
It was a young relationship. I think
the attraction itself is plausible but
the combative side of it… I’m not
sure you could have got over that in
an adult relationship, there was too
much fundamental incompatibility. I
can’t believe we are saying all of this
- this is Potter heresy!
I know, it is heresy.
In some ways Hermione and Harry
are a better fit and I’ll tell you
something very strange. When
I wrote Hallows, I felt this quite
strongly when I had Hermione
and Harry together in the tent! I
hadn’t told [Steve] Kloves that and
when he wrote the script he felt
exactly the same thing at exactly the
I love Hermione.
I love her too.
Oh, maybe she and Ron will be
alright with a bit of counseling,
you know. I wonder what happens
at wizard marriage counseling?
They’ll probably be fine. He needs
to works on his self-esteem issues
and she needs to work on being a
little less critical.
That is just so interesting because
when I was doing the scene I said
to David [Heyman]: “This isn’t in
the book, she didn’t write this”.
I’m not sure I am comfortable
insinuating something however
subtle it is!
I think it makes sense to me that
Ron would make friends with the
most famous wizard in the school
because I think life presents to
you over and over again your
biggest and most painful fear until you conquer it. It just keeps
Yes, but David and Steve - they felt
what I felt when writing it.
That is so strange.
And actually I liked that scene in
the film, because it was articulating
something I hadn’t said but I had
felt. I really liked it and I thought that
it was right. I think you do feel the
ghost of what could have been in
That is so true, it has happened
in my own life. The issue keeps
coming up because you are drawn
to it and you are putting yourself in
front of it all the time. At a certain
point you have to choose what to do
about it and sometimes conquering
it is choosing to say: I don’t want
that anymore, I’m going to stop
walking up to you because there
is nothing there for me. But yes,
you’re so right, that’s very insightful!
Ron’s used to playing second fiddle.
I think that’s a comfortable role for
him, but at a certain point he has to
be his own man, doesn’t he?
It’s a really haunting scene. It is
funny because it really divided
people. Some people loved
that scene and some people
Yes, some people utterly hated it.
But that is true of so many really
good scenes in books and films;
they evoke that strong positive/
negative feeling. I was fine with it,
I liked it.
I remember really loving shooting
those scenes that don’t have any
dialogue, where you are just kind
of trying to express a moment in
time and a feeling without saying
anything. It was just Dan and
I spontaneously sort of trying
to convey an idea and it was
And you got it perfectly, you got
perfectly the sort of mixture of
awkwardness and genuine emotion,
because it teeters on the edge of
“what are we doing? Oh come on
let’s do it anyway”, which I thought
was just right for that time.
I think it was just the sense that
in the moment they needed to be
together and be kids and raise
each others morale.
That is just it, you are so right.
All this says something very
Yes and until he does it is
unresolved. It is unfinished
presented this to him enough
times until he had to make a
choice and become the man that
powerful about the character of
Hermione as well. Hermione was
the one that stuck with Harry all the
way through that last installment,
that very last part of the adventure.
It wasn’t Ron, which also says
something very powerful about
Ron. He was injured in a way, in his
self-esteem, from the start of the
series. He always knew he came
second to fourth best, and then he
had to make friends with the hero of
it all and that’s a hell of a position
to be in, eternally overshadowed.
So Ron had to act out in that way at
But Hermione’s always there for
Harry. I remember you sent me a
note after you read Hallows and
before you starting shooting, and
said something about that, because
it was Hermione’s journey as much
as Harry’s at the end.
I completely agree and the fact
that they were true equals and
the fact that she really said
goodbye to her family makes it
her sacrifice too.
Yes, her sacrifice was massive,
completely. A very calculated act
of bravery. That is not an ‘in the
moment’ act of bravery where
emotion carries you through, that is
a deliberate choice.
Just like her creator, she has a real
weakness for a funny man. These
uptight girls, they do like them funny.
They do like them funny, they
need them funny.
It’s such a relief from being so
intense yourself - you need someone
who takes life, or appears to take
life, a little more light heartedly.
Definitely so important.
Thank you so much for doing this.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt - Actor, director, screenwriter, producer and editor
Lincoln, Looper, The Dark Knight Rises, 50/50, Inception, (500) Days of Summer. Joe keeps
choosing interesting movies and playing great roles all whilst running HitRecord, an online
collaborative production company. I love that he sings and dances every chance he gets.
What gave you the idea for
HitRecord? Do you like that
it helps connect you with
the world outside of the
traditional film industry?
It’s true, I don’t give myself much
time off. And, even when I’m
not working I’m always making
things — songs, voices in my
I started saying this little turn
of phrase, “to hit record” (like,
are we recording?) in my early
twenties. The red circle REC
button became this personal
symbol for me to self-motivate,
make things, push the button.
production company that it’s
become? I really can’t take
credit for having that idea all by
myself. It was more of an organic
evolution within a feedback loop
between me and the community
that gradually formed around
the HitRecord.org website my
brother and I set up.
You’ve described yourself as
a feminist. Why do you think it
is an important issue?
To me, the term feminism just
means that nobody needs to be
boxed into any kind of identity
based on their gender, male or
Is there anyone you think
eloquently on the topic
Do you ever struggle watching
your younger self on camera?
You’ve taken HitRecord to TV.
So cool. What is the best thing
for you personally about being
involved with HitRecord?
Everybody gets a bit freaked out
at the sight of their own face or
the sound of their own voice. I
was no exception. However,
just through sheer repetition,
spending tons of time recording
little things, pointing the camera
at myself, and watching it back, I
think I’ve gotten used to it.
Everything about HitRecord
On TV is very personal to
me, largely because of its
origins. And as grateful as I
am to be able to work within
the established entertainment
industry, I’m equally excited to
get to collaborate with artists
from all over the world, who don’t
necessarily have an established
career in Hollywood, but who
are just as talented as plenty of
the people who do.
Who or what taught you the
most about acting?
Had you always wanted to
take it to TV?
producing partner, and I wrote
down our goals for HitRecord
back in 2009, “TV show” was
the one that rounded out the
list. Since our start we’ve been
able to accomplish most of the
goals we set — we’ve put out
books, gone on tour, screened
work at festivals. And now we
get to make a TV show. Seems
like it’s time to set new goals!
What is your favourite film role
to date? The one you are most
Oh, I couldn’t pick one! But
how about a lesser-seen
movie called Hesher. I play
a diabolical Mary Poppins of
sorts, if Mary Poppins smoked a
lot of cigarettes and listened to
Which directors are you still
dying to work with?
I only ever had one acting
teacher. His name was Kevin
McDermott, and I took classes
with him when I was quite young,
starting when I was eight, and he
and I have kept in touch over the
years. One of the many things
I remember he emphasized
was “commitment”. You have
to commit all the way to what
you’re doing. If you’re hesitant
or uncertain, all is lost.
There’s so many. I know you just
worked with Aronofsky, and he’s
one of my favorites that I’d really
love to work with. What do you do when you
aren’t working (although it
sounds like you work a lot...)?
Musician, activist, actor, band member of ‘Sons of an Illustrious Father’
We met making The Perks of Being a Wallflower. He might have scared the life
out of you in We Need To Talk About Kevin’. He has one frost bitten toe from his
escapades in the Arctic for Greenpeace.
“My life was altered by the trip to
the Arctic in a number of ways.
There are small things, like a bit
of frostbite in the tips of my digits that ache a little when chilled
or my redefinition of “cold” as
a relative concept. But the real
changes were in my perception
of our relationship as a species
to the planet. You see, a big
part of my trip to the Arctic was
concerned with trying to learn
as much about our changing
climate and the Arctic’s key role
in this. I talked to Columbia scientists, environmental activists
and indigenous residents of the
What I discovered is that the
process by which humans are
releasing carbon into the atmosphere and heating it (98% scientific consensus worldwide is now
that climate change is, in fact,
anthropogenic or man-made) is
moving at an alarmingly speedy
rate. The melting in the Northern Arctic offers us a troubling
physical representation of this
warming in that since the beginning of satellite records in 1979,
somewhere around 3/4 of the
originally visible sea ice is gone.
The truth is that climate change
is moving faster than any scientists predicted it would, and
it now seems that we may have
only a matter of decades to seriously mitigate our rates of fossil
fuel combustion before we are
on an irreversible road to an inhospitable planet, like all the other planets in our known universe,
incapable of sustaining life.
In terms of small changes people
can do to affect climate change...
Well, all the things we’ve heard
about how we as individuals can
halt climate change (shop locally, travel with mass transport,
recycle and compost our waste
etc.) are all good and important
things to do. However, at the
end of the day, a large percentage of our carbon output is not
personal, or even municipal. It
is industrial. Corporations are
responsible for the massive
outputs of carbon as they are
Much, it seems, is timeless.
Hearts keep falling in love and
getting broken, that does not
seem to change at all. I like period pieces. It’s a bit like building
a time machine. I’m looking forward to traveling to other times.
Hopefully I can visit the future
soon, or perhaps the 70’s to improve my roller disco skills.
The first role of clothing in my life
is to warm and comfort and cover my body. The magic of clothes
these days is that, of course, by
putting clothes on your body
at all, you are already involving
yourself in the artwork of fashion.
Oscar Wilde said that it’s an “art
form so ugly we have to change
it every three months or so” and
I strongly identify with that sentiment in my fashion choices.
Often I think I am fleeing the
ugliness of the innate vanity and
the conformity of it, towards the
beauty and absurdity of it. Lots
of fake fur and bright color and
pajamas. simultaneously responsible for
the maintenance of a fossil fuelreliant energy economy (for a
reference of what I’m referring
to, check out the documentary,
“Who Killed the Electric Car?”).
Corporations are doing this because their obligations are to
their shareholders, and their responsibility to do everything they
can to raise profits every quarter.
The only way that they can make
the change to cleaner energy is
if government creates a taxation
system where cleaner energy is
more profitable. Now, how do we
convince governments internationally to see the light? That’s
where we come in. We need a
global movement to rally public
demand for this governmental
action. Composting and recycling and shopping locally are
critical as well, though, don’t get
I play Leon Dupuis in Madame
Bovary, the third failed romance
of Madame Bovary. Leon is that
boy who starts an affair with a
married woman and then runs
when, months and months into
the affair, the woman talks about
leaving her husband. Essentially
he is a boy with a surplus of romantic vision, but some shortfall
in terms of follow through.
What was my favourite Perks
memory? I’m sure you could
understand why this question is
difficult to answer. We had so
many magical and formative experiences but I think ultimately,
it was talking to all the audience
members, especially younger
folks, who identified so strongly
with the film and found watching
it to be a positive life experience.
There’s something that continues to be so rewarding and confirming about that.
We had so many magical and fun
and mischevious times but I’d
have to say that when I was having such a hard time and you
took such good care of me and
kept me healthy and let me rest
in your better-smelling room. It
often seems the harder times are
even more critical in the formation of a friendship. pg.187
I first heard Royals on the radio in San Francisco last summer and almost had to stop the car.
Lorde’s lyrics have been providing biting social commentary on the pop scene ever since. Gutsy,
clever, original, and in control… I am really excited she exists.
Hi lady, where are you right now?
I’m in my recording studio.
What are you working on?
I don’t have any specific projects,
I’m just kind of getting into it. It is
just good to be in the studio I feel.
So I was being a crazy stalker
today and I was reading as much
as I could about you which I know
I know… No it’s really cool
because the only thing I knew
about you was your music, I know
your song lyrics by heart, but
other than that I don’t know much
about you. I saw that you kind of
got into music because you love
poetry and that is how I got into
acting because I won a poetry
How does that take you into acting?
Well I guess it didn’t other than
that I did these poetry recitals
and then I was on the debate
team, so those were my kind of
experiences of performing. And
then my drama teacher kind
of convinced me that I should
try acting, and then purely by
coincidence I got the part in
Harry Potter and … the rest is
history. But anyway, back to you,
I wondered if you remember the
first poem you ever memorised
or if you have a favourite poem
purely for a nostalgic reason or if
you have a poem that you love?
To tell you the truth I would say that
short fiction is more my place. Like
I’m really into poetry and I’ve always
written it but my mum is a poet and
I kind of feel like you stay away from
the stuff your parents do, you know?
So short fiction, what have you
read recently that you loved?
Oh, I am trying to think of one
specific story... The first Raymond
Carver, which is called ‘Tell The
Women We’re Going’ and it’s just
really spooky. It’s not really Raymond
Carver’s best story but what he is
good at is making something really
intense and really emotional without
anything really happening. That was
the first story I read where I was like,
woah, short fiction is the coolest
I love the androgyny, by the way of
‘Lorde’, I think it is a great name. I
know you’re fascinated by royalty.
Have you ever read Tatler, that
English magazine about English
aristocracy? If you are into that
stuff it’s royal aristocracy mecca
so if you ever come to England
it’s definitely worth checking out.
Is it current aristocracy?
Yes and every six months or so
they put Princess Diana on the
cover or Grace Kelly, you know,
they are repeated quite a lot.
I think I need a subscription, this
I thought when I read it, ‘Ah if she
doesn’t she should’.
You seem like you have really
been at the helm of all of your
enterprises so far. It doesn’t
seem like you were manufactured
or that you had received media
training or anything like that. How
much was pre-conceived in terms
of not just your look but your
whole ethos? Or were you just
there and that was it?
The artists that I relate to, you can
tell their public persona is just an
extension of who they actually are. I
think that is the most authentic way
to do it and it just works out. If I’m
making this shit up everyone is just
going to know.
I try to be as true to myself as
possible. Everything I wear is a
slightly more high-end version
of something I already own or
something I would have cut out of
a magazine five years ago. I think
the good thing about having your
finger in every pie, which I do with
my music, is that I’m involved on the
marketing end and on the creative
end. I pretty much do everything and
it doesn’t feel like it is coming from
a huge record company hopefully.
Is there anything that you have
said that got interpreted in a way
that was really…
Yes. This is honestly like eight
or nine months ago, when I had
5,000 twitter followers, when I just
spoke about pop culture in a really
frank, uncensored way because
it interested me. I said something
about pop stars having this
unattainability that I didn’t think was
right and I mentioned Taylor Swift’s
I don’t regret much that I have said
but that was one where afterwards
I was like, of all the people why
would you mention Taylor Swift?!
There is so much about her which
is awesome. I totally approached
that one wrong and I apologised for
it on my Tumblr and made sure that
people read that because I felt so
To a certain extent she knows after
the marketing and manufacturing
and styling she comes across as
unattainable. I mean I know that I
do and I get very frustrated by it…
I don’t know whether you do, I don’t
know about that
I try not to but by the time I’ve had
a stylist, I’ve had hair, I’ve had
make up, amazing lighting, I’m
wearing the most beautiful dress
you have ever seen in your life,
of course I look like … you know.
And I get really sad because
people tweet stuff to me like ‘I
just want to die because I don’t
look like Emma Watson’, and you
just feel like screaming noo! It’s
all a construction, you know?
It’s the worst thing and I get that all
the time. I try and break the barrier
a bit by looking normal. It is a weird
thing for sure.
What is your one item that you put
on and you just feel yourself?
When I wear black I’m in my zone.
I’m safe in it. A label I like to wear a
lot is Acne.
I love Acne, such a good choice.
And their spring/summer stuff is
mental so I wear Acne a lot when I
can afford to, it’s just a nice power
thing. I feel very powerful in their
Yeah. Did you see the Comme
des Garçons spring/summer
Don’t even talk to me about Comme
des Garçons. It’s my favourite.
It is so good, so good. That
collection really blew me away.
I sometimes wish I was a
performer so I could wear all
these crazy dresses.
You could just rock it.
Just rock up to the Golden Globes
in a crazy black number… I’ll
consider it, I’ll definitely consider
Your fame is still a relatively new
thing for you to be dealing with
and I’m interested, does it stress
you out that people who are close
to you become involved in a way
that you wish they didn’t? How do
you feel about it?
That is always a concern for me
because, and you’ll know this, I’ve
put myself out there so I expect it,
I can take it. But my little sister she
shouldn’t have to deal with that.
I mean, it’s not bad, my family has
been ok but people are just too
curious these days. They love to
know everything. In some ways I
wish I could just take it all and have
no one else affected by it...
Did you have an instagram
account before your album came
out for example?
No. I made tumblr, twitter and
instagram for the music. Having
not had much experience with that
kind of interaction, you don’t know
about crazy people who hate you.
It’s definitely good to get off twitter
for a while.
Definitely. Did you see Jimmy
Kimmel, where celebrities read
horrible tweets that have been
said about them?
I love them. It puts it into
perspective, it is so funny and in
a really sick and twisted way you
have to try and laugh because
otherwise you’ll cry.
People are so weird. Often it’s like,
“oh, you know I want to get a rise out
of Emma Watson, if she blocks me
she has noticed me”.
That’s an interesting mentality,
a horrible mentality. The fact that
you can bully someone and there
be no accountability whatsoever,
that there be no way of tracing or
tracking, and all at the click of a
button, I think it is just going to make
It makes young people have to be
You’re just in the studio right now
but are you taking a break, are you
going on tour, what are you up to at
I’m on tour for most of this year
which will be fun. I’ve never toured
for extended periods so it will be fun
to take the music to people. I think
my mum and my sister, who is 19,
are going to alternate being with
me. My sister, she is super smart,
she is on an exchange in Germany
with university right now. She is a
really big Harry Potter fan, she said
“IF anyone from Harry Potter ever
tweets you or gets in contact with
you, I will do your laundry for a week
- you just have to talk to them!”
That is so crazy! OK. Tour
Food… Do you have marmite in
We do, we are big marmite people
Ah amazing, so do you like
I do, I’m a big marmite fan.
Great, that’s good news. Have
you ever had marmite and apple
I am telling you this is something
you really need to experience. It
is so good. A little piece of sliced
apple with a tiny bit of marmite on
it is life changing.
I am going to try this, you are insane.
Really, really, really good.
Anyhow, what is the song you
are most proud of from your last
The song I am most proud of is a
song called Ribs, which is about
ageing and transitioning into adult
responsibilities. I was just starting
to take music seriously and I was
missing out on seeing my friends
and stuff. It was a crazy thing but I
like that song because sonically we
made it warm and comforting. It was
an issue that was freaking me out a
bit at the time, so when I listen to
that song I can feel comforted by
what I am listening to, which is cool.
Do you find it difficult to be ‘young
and carefree’ when you are under
so much pressure to ‘perform’ in
every sense of the word? How
old were you when you were
I was thirteen when I signed on for
development, where you can leave if
you don’t want to do it. Then a proper
record company signed me last year
when I was sixteen. I think youth
comes through in different ways! I
definitely try to be me all the time
and you can see that when I perform
or in my interviews. Sometimes I feel
like I should act grown-up because
people are watching, like when your
parents have friends over for dinner
Is there anything other than
music you would like to try?
YES! I want to direct and I want
to get into photography and
cinematography from a technical
side. I want to make clothes. I want
to run my own record label. I want to
start a magazine!
Do you direct your own music
Yes! I write the treatments and run
casting and write endless notes. I’m
a super visual person, so it’s fun for
Wow. How do you stop people
trying to tell you that you are too
young to be doing things like
I just don’t listen. You couldn’t say
dumber stuff to ambitious young
comfortable or felt okay with
‘taking up space’? Sorry for the
No, it’s good! I actually felt very
uncomfortable with it for a long
time. But basically the past year has
made me a confident person.
That’s good. I’m glad you have
that. My parents always treated
me like an adult.
Yup mine too! Which is such a cool
way to treat young people. I try and
do it when I meet people younger
than me as well. I remember always
loving teachers who gave me adult
books to read, too.
Do your parents help you with
I come from a Croatian/Irish family,
so everyone else is super loud.
They’ve always encouraged doing
drama and speech contests and
that stuff so yes, they definitely
support me when I feel low about
something I’ve read.
Me too. I think kids are often
smarter than adults anyway.
YES. They are creative because
they aren’t limited, which, to me, is
a kind of magic.
What TV shows do you watch?
Well my favourite is The Sopranos.
I love Boardwalk Empire and Mad
Men too. But also Tim and Eric and
this web show called Nathan For
You, and my bandmates want me to
watch The Office with them.
English or American?
English. I’m told it’s the best.
I presented at the Golden Globes
this year and met Tina Fey. Have
you read Tina Fey’s book Bossy
No! But I really want to.
The book is amazing, I’ll send it to
you as a thank you for doing this.
Oh!! Amazing, I would love that.
She has a great chapter about
how stupid and ridiculous photo
I need to read that.
Nobody has ever expressed the
true awfulness of photoshoots so
perfectly. Have you gotten used
to them yet?
I kind of have. I have like one face
I do. And I can’t smile and people
always ask me to smile in them. So
I’ve made it my thing, the fierce face.
Do they ever ask you to ‘smile
I’m so bad at it.
Big smiles! I loved you in The Bling
Ring by the way. I thought that was a
crazy thing for you! I mean crazy as
in how you embodied Nicki and her
Thank you. It was so freeing. I left
myself behind completely. I want
to do more parts like that. You’ve
been so generous. Thank you
Lady. Good luck with it all.
Screenwriter, producer, director
Previous work includes Somewhere, Marie Antoinette, Lost in Translation and The
Virgin Suicides. Sofia had the imagination to write and then offer me the most
complex and challenging female role I have played to date, as Nicki in The Bling
Ring. I am grateful to her for seeing me outside of the box. I am also just happy I
got to watch her from afar for six weeks. Understated yet incredible.
“My Vogue Italia cover I remember
being a very 90’s fashion moment
at Industria I think. Steven (Meisel)
was nice and saw me in a way I
didn’t think of myself.
I wouldn’t bring back my clothing
line Milkfed. That was a fun project
when I was in my early 20’s trying
to figure out what I wanted to do,
but it was such a different time and
it made sense then.
I wouldn’t do a TV series. I’m more
interested in the idea of a mini
series... but a TV series could be
fun, but I don’t have any plans to.
I’m a bit out of it with new bands,
but I like Sleigh Bells and what
Julian Casablancas does and
Phoenix of course... I like a song by
Tennis called Mean Streets. I love
the song Vienna by Ultravox, which
I listened to a lot in the car when
we were shooting The Bling Ring
in LA. My favourites are Roxy Music
and Elvis Costello.”
I love the south of Italy, my family
has a place that’s a small hotel in
Basilicata, and I love the Amalfi
Coast... I also love Marrakech,
which feels exotic.
Jonah came into public consciousness as Seth in Superbad and has since proved
himself to be one of the most talented and versatile actors of his class. Oscar-nominated
for Moneyball and The Wolf of Wall Street… he is still humble. And really funny.
“Flirting With Disaster and Three
Kings are two of my favourite films,
so to have the first director I ever
worked for be David O. Russell
was intimidating to say the least.
Thinking back I was so clueless
about everything. I had only been
in plays and had no idea whether
the camera was on me or not.
My character in The Wolf Of Wall
Street, ‘Diamond’ Donnie Azoff,
is someone who values money
and wealth over all else. He has
no impulse control. No morality. A
hard person to feel any love for, but
at times, very entertaining. Wonderland
Martin Scorsese is my favorite
filmmaker of all time. It was an
actual dream to even meet him, let
alone work with him for six months.
It was beyond dream-like and I miss
it every day. I would say my creative taste would
be a collision of Scorsese and The
Simpsons. When I got to hear my
voice and see myself in Springfield
I felt like I was 8 years old again.
I have so many nostalgic, safe and
warm feelings from The Simpsons.
It was beautiful to get to talk to
Graduated from the Royal College of Art with an MA in Womenswear.
Christopher has received acclaim for his ‘remade ethos’ and collections that celebrate a
particularly British way of seeing things. We met in New York at a British fashion party Anna
Wintour threw in 2010. He embodies British fashion with a conscience. Here he discusses
recycling, repurposing and a wedding dress made from a parachute.
So each season you design an
animal alongside the collection
and so far you’ve had a hare, a
fox and a squirrel join the ranks.
Was there any reason behind
them? What do they symbolise
Well we make them every season
from our offcuts in the studio and
so on the one hand they represent
the brand in general, in terms of
its environmental attitude and
recycling, but then also they’re
a little bit of fun, which is really
important. I guess they reinforce
the quirky Britishness of the brand
which we always want to be central
to what we do. It’s also our tenth
animal this season and we’ve
branched out a little bit to a polar
bear which is quite fun. What’s
really great is being able to develop
the animal concept into the main
collection, and now animal bags
in particular are some of our best
sellers. They’re done from organic
re-dyed leather, everything made
in England, so it’s really about
underpinning the message of the
Your work is known for being
recycled, is that something that
has always been a part of your
life, or is that something that has
I’m quite open about the fact that it
sort of developed as a really happy
accident and in fact the reason
that I started reusing particular
military fabrics was more from
a love of functionality and the
original garments and the fabrics
that they’re made from. What
fascinated me particularly when
I was at university was that you
couldn’t buy for example a 50 or
60-year-old wool on a roll but yet
there were thousands, and I mean
tens of thousands, of these jackets
that had never been worn, still
beautifully wrapped in wax paper.
Something really resonated with
me, maybe it’s the archaeologist
in me and all of that history; it just
seemed like quite a natural step to
say, ‘why don’t we reuse these?’ I
guess maybe it’s also an inherited
make and mend attitude. I’ve got an
amazing photo of my grandmother
21st 1941 outside a church in a
wedding dress and it’s made out
of parachutes, so I think this may
be something quite wonderfully
ingrained in me.
Would you argue that luxury
goods are more sustainable
than high street garments? Do
in something that they know is
going to be quite special, you’re
not going to see it in every shop
window throughout the world, so it
gives me a lot of confidence I have
With so many companies taking
on a sort of ethos as a marketing
gimmick, is it better to take on a
you think that this is helping to
It’s sort of funny because I
sight Savile Row traditions as
being an amazing example of a
completely sustainable design and
development process. If you buy a
piece from Savile Row, generally
speaking, you know that the fabric
is made in England, and all of the
workmanship is done by local
craftsman and local production, but
then also you have to be very honest
that it’s a very expensive product
as well. But in terms of localisation
there’s something really interesting
there as a sort of general idea
about provenance being really
important to sustainability, and
maybe it’s a reaction to fast fashion
and high street brands, we want a
bit more connection. I’ve noticed
it particularly with Menswear, and
with Womenswear to be fair, but
people are more prepared to invest
quietly conscientious approach?
I mean for me it’s about making
the right choice. It’s very
straightforward. I think as a young
designer, hopefully I’m still young,
you have a sort of obligation to
what you’re producing, and where,
and ultimately what from as well.
And if throughout that process
you’re doing or making the right
choices then it just makes good
sense. The other thing is being
super straightforward, why would
you not do it? Why would you
not want to design sustainably?
I’ve been really proud obviously
since my company has grown,
the brands I’ve been able to
collaborate and consult with have
come to me because of that quite
Do you think it’s easier for
companies and brands to do
that because they’re starting
now when there’s so much
education about the importance
of sustainability, and when they
have greater control over their
product versus a huge company?
A smaller start up has more agility
within it, but then the opportunity
for say the giant sportswear
brands, if they reduced their use
of resources by say 5% then the
impact would be phenomenal. And
so my interest as well is that while
my own company is growing, and
I’m very proud about that, the more
that I’m collaborating and working
with big brands, the sort of analogy
I’ve used before is – being one
of the sucker fish on the side of a
shark the opportunity to clean the
shark and steer it as you’re doing
it, is brilliant.
What do you think it would be
that makes these larger brands
and companies think more
seriously about sustainability?
The good news is that I think a lot
of them already are and it’s not just
because they’re trying to tick the
right box because, undeniably, raw
materials are running out, forcing us
into ways of making better choices,
and even if you look at things from a
business level, if companies can be
ahead of the game, and all of them
working in a sustainable manner
they know that long term, that’s
going to be a benefit for them. So
I kind of hope, well I’ve seen it, and
I believe it that there are a lot of
big companies out there already
making fundamental changes to
the way that they operate.
I’ve just done a film called Noah,
which is about God’s decision
to flood the world because
he doesn’t see human beings
changing their ways and it’s too
late. I wonder if you think these
companies will pull themselves
round or make these changes
That I don’t know of course, but
it’s very much a make or break
point I think. I worked at NIKE for
their summit at Portland for 2020
over the summer, where I was able
GUILLERMO DEL TORO
Director, screenwriter, producer, and novelist
King of all things magical, monstrous, horrifying, beastly and poetic. An amazing
mind, heart and talent. I wanted to include some of the sketches from his new
book, Cabinet of Curiosities, which gives just a small insight into the preparation
he does before he starts his films.
to meet with a lot of the biggest
companies in the world, and was
able to talk to them - chemical
companies and manufacturers –
all in one room, and actually just
genuinely talk about how they’re
going to make significant changes
by 2020. You have to forcefully
believe that these people aren’t
there to waste their time.
Do you think that consumers can
pressurise companies, or is it
down to the media? If they see
companies that are sustainable
and are doing well, and see that
there is a demand for that it also
Sure. It does, but my view in
the most respectful way, with
consumers in general, you have to
offer them a product that they want.
Change has to be design-led and
it’s really important to ultimately
offer a product that the consumer
wants. They may be buying that
product without realising that it’s
recycled or made using completely
sustainable means, but then to
get that product home and to read
all about it, that’s kind of where
the future sort of has to be. That
balance of design and value and
fabric choice, but it’s not about
having a mission and preaching it
on a soap box. It’s about genuinely
putting the research in and creating
a product that has value to people.
I would love to be able to only
wear clothes that I knew were
sustainable, where I knew
that no one was harmed in the
process of something I am
wearing being made, that I could
always wear and feel good about
where it came from, but sadly
there aren’t really enough brands
for me to be able to do that. It’s
still too niche at this moment in
time, but my dream would be to
be do a press junket for film and
say, ‘ok here are thirteen brands
who have signed on and do have
sustainable manifestos and
ethical credentials and I wont
wear ones that don’t.’
Again, when I think back, even
when I was studying first at
Middlesex and then at the Royal
College, not that sustainability
didn’t exist or anything like that,
but there wasn’t that much in
sort of the academic circles at
that point. Now there are whole
modules on sustainability so you’ve
got hundreds of students coming
out every year that have been
specifically trained in something
that ten years ago wasn’t there. It
takes time of course to get done
and needs a lot of reassurance, and
those big brands now have places
for those people, where again ten
years ago they really didn’t.
In an ideal world, who is your
dream client? Who would
you love to see wearing your
Well I think the reality is that we’re
edging ever closer, and when I look
at it, I’m super proud. We deal with
over 70 stockists in the world, and
we deal with the best you know,
Barney’s with Colette, and I’m so
proud that that customer is going
in there that is looking for quality,
provenance and something very
special they’re not going to see
everywhere. So for me it’s not
about that celebrity which you’d
expect. It is about real people who
are actually investing, and I use that
word on purpose, as part of genuine
desire to do things differently and
I hope step-by-step we’re kind
of getting there. It’s amazing.
Sometimes I meet customers who
genuinely know everything about
the brand and the fabrics, and
every collection we’ve ever done;
they kind of know more than I do
myself. It’s kind of incredible and
can be really inspiring, because it
might be an email from someone
in Stockholm or Japan who has
really taken the time to describe
what they like about the brand or
why they support it, it’s quite a
special thing. While I was at Art
College it certainly wasn’t what I
was expecting, it really motivates
you to push harder.
In terms of the type of client
you’re seeing wear your clothes,
are they are relatively active and
outdoorsy? Would you quite like
the brand not to be limited to
Well the brilliant thing is, I mean our
Womenswear, the demographic
goes from early twenties to seventy
year old women who buy our
parkas, who are really looking for
something understated and very
wearable but a little bit different.
Something that’s comfortable but
is obviously going to make them
Which movie of yours do you have
the most affection for and why? score for Avalon, Elephant Man and
a few others
In many ways The Devil’s Backbone
and, strangely enough, Pacific
Rim. In both instances I felt I was
doing exactly what I set to do when
I took the leap - when I went into
They represent my
two sides: the eternal kid and the
When did your
what is going on
currently? Do you listen to any particular
music when you write/create?
Film music, most of the time. I
make a playlist for each project. For
example, I wrote Pan’s Labyrinth
listening, mostly, to Arvo Part's
Spiegel Im Spiegel mixed with the
Do you see
in the world
The monsters I love are the patron
saints of imperfections. However,
we are surrounded by another type
of monsters; monsters that look
good - that are well-tailored, that
have white, shiny smiles. They lie
to us and tell us to trust them and
tell us that everything is going to
be all right. I find that loving the
darker side of things makes you
less susceptible to being fooled
by these incandescent liars. Truth
lies in imperfection. Perfection is
an illusion created to dominate our
You have a museum as part of
your home in LA cataloguing all
sorts of weird and wonderful
things. When did it become
necessary to have a separate
space for these things and why
do you like collecting?
The only virtue that unifies my life,
my house or my movies is that I
have an overwhelming passion
to arrange and create beautiful
things out of genres or objects
that people despise. I choose
to tell stories utilising ideas or
genres that are inherently flawed or
frowned upon. I don't tackle "big"
genres, "A" genres. I tackle what I
love. In the same manner I collect
what piques my interest and I may
end up enshrining a $3 dollar toy
next to an original Arthur Rackham
watercolor or a rubber "oily juggler"
next to an Edward Gorey. In my
family home, these things were out
of context and I decide to create my
own environment - a place where
I could live and breathe and be
myself. The house grew and grew
and is now 11,000 square feet or so.
And, to this day, it’s the place I am
the happiest at.
Writer, director, actor, mogul
Singer-songwriter, rapper, record producer, fashion designer, composer and drummer.
Lena makes me proud to be a 21st century female. That’s probably all I need to say. If
you haven’t watched Girls or read her Twitter… I highly recommend it.
The king of collaboration my friend Irial and I fell in love with him when we were thirteen. He
is currently scoring The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and singing my favourite song, Happy.
If you weren’t playing Hannah
in Girls yourself, who would
you cast as your dream
person to play her?
Such a good question: Alison
Pill, Greta Gerwig, Lupita
today I thought: “Well, I get
that instinct” but I think it’s so
important, if you have strong
beliefs, not to be bullied by the
media. It’s no different than a
mob of angry townspeople in
the 1500’s - it’s just terrifyingly
impersonal, because it’s the
Internet. To inappropriately
Could you live anywhere other
than New York?
My favorite cities besides my
own are Havana and Stockholm.
Both beautiful, unique, full of
gorgeous people, with universal
Who do you call when you feel
unsure of yourself?
My father. He’s my harshest critic
but also my fiercest supporter
and he makes me laugh, which
is the best medicine. Also he
wears a ski hat indoors like a
Favourite on-set snack?
Melons and yoghurt all mixed
together. NO ONE gets it.
Which member of the Muppets
do you most identify with?
Who or what makes you feel
Definitely Animal. Animal all the
A shower, Springtime, my
boyfriend, a good night’s sleep,
reading for a full afternoon and
oddly enough, a stomach virus.
As seen in the New Yorker, you
were raised almost entirely on
take-out. What’s your current
go to for home fine dining?
What book is most meaningful
I order from the same Israeli
health food restaurant every
night (salad, turkey burger,
gluten free pasta if I feel
crazy) and the same diner
every morning (English muffin,
because I am not truly gluten
free, with scrambled eggs,
avocado and turkey bacon.) I am
basically 100 years old.
So so many, but my best book
friend is definitely Eloise, the
little girl who lives at the Plaza.
Uber! I abuse Uber. Close
second is the New York
Times app. I used to read my
horoscope every day but I quit.
Have you thought of making a
We were just discussing this!
Yes, but only if we shoot it when
we’re 77 or older.
Do you feel the need to
censor yourself after your
experiences with the media
over the last few years? Or has
it made you more determined
to speak your mind and
You know, I certainly have those
moments. When Shia LaBeouf
announced he was retiring
of the bad reviews and pulled
back, but I still got bad reviews!
So now I’m back to my old ways
and I like it a whooole lot more.
appropriate a phrase: “We can’t
let the terrorists win”. I’ve also
realized the only time criticism
truly hurts me is when I feel
I was wrong, or that I shared
a half-baked idea or piece of
work. If you’re confident in your
beliefs and your art, that’s a kind
How do you find the
experience of dress fittings
and red carpets? Have your
thoughts on fashion changed
over the last few years?
I’ve definitely evolved. At first, I
had no idea anyone was even
looking! I dressed to have fun,
purely. Then I became scared
What has been the biggest
challenge co-composing ‘The
Amazing Spider Man 2’ and what
has been your favourite part of
Honestly, it’s been amazing to work
alongside Hans (Zimmer) as I see
him as a mentor. I learn from him
when I am around his genius.
Worst skateboarding injury?
What did you think of the
controversy surrounding Blurred
I was thankful for those who
understood our intent and hopeful
for those who couldn’t see it. Either
way I am appreciative.
Do you remember when we met?
Of course I do, we actually had
dinner with the Newhouses at
Cipriani. I knew you were different
and had so much to do. I was right,
Is there anyone music/fashion/
design-wise that you are really
into at the moment that isn’t
getting the recognition he/she
Maxine Ashley is special.
This issue is a women power
issue. Would you consider
yourself a feminist?
wanted to end our species they
could just stop saying yes. Yes, I
What has been your favourite
T.I. Well…also Usher, Ed Sheeran,
Busta, Major Lazer, Frank Ocean…
all good stuff. I feel so fortunate.
Is there anyone you haven’t
worked with that you would like
Prince and Eminem.
How do you stay grounded and
humble when you are juggling
so much and working at such a
Well, Aries, I know where it all
comes from and we are all cocreators/vessels. The awareness
of such a fact is most humbling for
Who or what helps keep you
Remembering what it felt like just
wanting a chance every time a
new one comes along. And also,
keeping God/Universe first.
Favourite Aries trait?
Controlling that inner.
We all come from the decision
of a woman to have us. If women