NEW YORK — The sixth annual Tribeca Film Festival has welcomed a host of new filmmakers far better known for their work in front of the camera. From James Franco to Julia Stiles, it seems like young actors are developing a taste for directing more than ever.
Anna Paquin hasn’t made that giant leap just yet, but “Blue State,” which just premiered at Tribeca, does represent her first producing venture (she also co-stars). MTV News caught up with the “X-Men” star and the flick’s leading man, Breckin Meyer, as they talked up their new project and did everything they could to crack one another up.
Breckin Meyer: I wish you could see what we are doing. We’re in the ABC News Radio studio, and it’s kind of like we have our own little radio show. We’re talking into the microphones here.
MTV: I should spin some records or something. How are you guys doing?
Anna Paquin: A little delirious, but OK.
MTV: Who’s the best pitchman for “Blue State”?
Paquin: Well provided that you don’t call me banana … “Blue State” is the first film I’ve produced. It’s about a liberal from San Francisco who makes a drunken promise after campaigning for [John] Kerry that if Bush wins [the presidential election] he’ll move to Canada. So, when in fact Bush does win, he follows through on his promise and he’s looking for a traveling companion. And he meets this young girl who is pretty much in every way opposite to him. So he takes her with him on this trip, and it’s basically their adventure together.
MTV: Well summarized. So George W. probably won’t want to see this one at the White House?
Meyer: I think he’d actually like it. My character is not flawless.
Paquin: Plus extremism of any kind gets poked at.
MTV: Do you consider this a political film or just a story with a political backdrop?
Paquin: That’s really way more what it is. We weren’t really interested in making a message movie. We just wanted to tell this interesting story that happened to have this political backdrop. It’s really more about the relationships.
MTV: Were you guys as disappointed in 2004 as your writer/director was when Kerry lost?
Meyer: I don’t think anyone could have been as disappointed as Marshall [Lewy] was.
Paquin: There are 120 pages of a script that turned into a movie called “Blue State” that says nobody was [as] disappointed as Marshall.
MTV: Breckin, since Anna’s producing, do you consider her the boss?
Meyer: She is, without a doubt, the boss. Whether she produced the movie or not, she’s the boss.
Paquin: [She laughs.] I’m not even going to go there.
MTV: How did you get the part, Breckin?
Meyer: I had to go in and audition.
MTV: I’d imagine that’s strange for you, Anna, to audition another actor?
Paquin: It is weird. I get really intense anxiety from the entire audition process. I’ve been in the position of reading opposite people they were trying to cast around me, and even if you have the part, there’s still that part of you who thinks when they hear you say stuff out loud they’ll fire you. I just find auditions really nerve-racking in general, even if they’re not mine.
MTV: Anna, did you have any criteria when you were looking for a script to produce?
Paquin: I never really know what I’m looking for until I read it. Breckin’s being weird, by the way.
Meyer: I’m not doing anything!
Paquin: What was appealing to me was doing something lighter. I’ve done some very heavy, dark things and that’s really fun, but it’s also creatively satisfying to do work that’s a little more uplifting.
MTV: Anna, we saw a three-plus-hour cut of Kenneth Lonergan’s “Margaret,” which still has no release date. Have you seen this long cut?
Paquin: I have not seen that cut of the film. I haven’t seen that at all.
MTV: Do you have confidence that Kenny will find the right film in there?
Paquin: He’s brilliant. When it comes to someone like Kenny, his background is as a playwright, and I think that creative process involves a lot of sitting and fine-tuning for a very long time. This was a very long script and we shot all of it. I have absolute confidence and faith in what he’s doing. I’ll be very excited to see what ends up in the film. Breckin is making faces at me.
Meyer: It’s a very similar situation for me, because “Garfield 2″ clocked in at three-hours-20 when we first did it.
Paquin: [She laughs.] You mean “A Tail of Two Kitties”?
Meyer: There were a lot of unanswered questions, and I feel like the audience is still clamoring.
MTV: At what point were you told the subtitle was “A Tail of Two Kitties”?
Meyer: The problem was, Michael Mann was onboard, and halfway through production, Michael got replaced. That really threw us into a tailspin. No pun intended.
Paquin: Did you really just make a “Tail of Two Kitties” joke? Oh my God.
MTV: Breckin, what’s your upcoming “Ted’s MBA* (*Many Brief Affairs)” about?
Meyer: It’s a darker tale about a traveling salesman who gets involved in this seedy underworld. He gets kind of addicted to prostitutes. The same old story, boy meets girl, pays girl to have sex, girl leaves, another girl shows up, boy pays girl to have sex.
Paquin: What did you do for research, Breckin?
Meyer: There wasn’t a thing I wouldn’t do. I am really Method-y.
Paquin: So did you have sex with a lot of prostitutes?
Meyer: Define “prostitute.”
Paquin: Did you pay anybody?
Meyer: Define pay. I am almost done with my medication, and I should be healthy again soon.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Blue State.”
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