Whit Stillman has been out of the spot light for a long time. He made a trio of excellent films in the ’90s — “Metropolitan” (1990), “Barcelona” (1994) and, perhaps the most well-known, “The Last Days of Disco” (1998). The three movies form a loose trilogy based in part on the writer/director’s life. At the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, MTV’s Josh Horowitz got to sit and chat with Stillman and dig into exactly why he’s been so absent this past decade, and whether it’s really his fault.
“Yes, absolutely,” he said. “I mean, there’s blame to go around. I turned in a script, I finished it and started showing it to people five years ago, and I thought… people would want to do it, they’d see how great it was.” As things often go in Hollywood however, Stillman quickly learned that a meaningful idea isn’t always seen as a good one.
“I picked a really, really hard topic,” he said by way of explanation. “A really hard subject, I suppose. Since then, I’ve finished two more scripts that I think the industry will embrace [more than they did the first]. So now I have these three things that I can make. So I’m not depressed right now; I think I was depressed when I didn’t have a script that I wanted to shoot.”
Three scripts, but which is next? Stillman didn’t say, but he seems most excited for that first one he wrote, the one that didn’t quite get off the ground. “I think the original one that didn’t get that good of a response, I’ll have to really do that myself with private investors in New York, sort of do it the ’Metropolitan’ way.”
He wouldn’t get into many specifics, but a few hints were dropped. “That’s the one I want set in Jamaica. It’s Jamaica, early ’60s. The title goes back and forth between ’Dancing Mood’ and ’In the Mood for Angels.'”
Are you familiar with Stillman’s work? Which is your favorite of his films? Are you excited that his prolonged absence as a filmmaker might soon be coming to an end?