‘Ceremony’ Director Max Winkler Promises Softer Side Of Uma, Vampire Weekend Does Paul Simon

Before we get inundated with new movie teasers during the Super Bowl this weekend, I’d like to direct your attention toward a little gem of a trailer that debuted today for the upcoming movie “Ceremony.”

Written and directed by Max Winkler (son of Henry), the film follows Sam (Michael Angarano) on a quest to prevent a former flame (Uma Thurman) from marrying a famous documentary filmmaker (Lee Pace). The trailer is currently live at Apple, and MTV News recently caught up with Winkler to talk about the film, specifically the talented cast and musicians he enlisted to bring his story to life.

MTV News: I hear you’re friendly with the guys from Vampire Weekend? How did they come to be a part of the film?

Max Winkler: I’m friendly with Ezra [Koenig], the lead singer/songwriter. We’ve become friends through people and he’d watched a rough cut of the movie. I knew that I wanted different musicians to collaborate on the movie, it was a way I could get to work with a lot of musicians I admire. We already had the Fruit Bats scoring it, with Van Dyke Parks, which was really cool and I brought up Ezra, I wanted him to contribute some music to it.

In the rough cut [of the film] I had a version of Paul Simon’s “Papa Hobo,” and I brought it up to Ezra, maybe he’d want to do a cover of it. He did, he collaborated with Van Dyke Parks a legendary producer and arranger. Ezra recorded in Chicago in the middle of their tour and it ended up being one of my favorite parts of the movie. His voice sounds so great.

MTV: From what we see in the trailer, it looks like we’ll be seeing a more mischievous side of Lee Pace, which is awesome.

Winkler: Lee Pace is like a stone cold master. To me he is King Lear status. He went to Julliard and he can do almost anything. He can do anything. He delivered lines in a way that I never imagined and so much better than I envisioned them in my head, he was unbelievable. He brought a real human quality to this character who might be a bad guy in a different movie but you really feel for him because of what a great actor he is.

MTV: It also looks like we’ll be seeing a different side of Uma Thurman?

Winkler: Uma, for whatever reason, sort of gravitated to the character. A lot of people are used to seeing her with a Samurai sword and killing 5,000 ninjas at a time. The real Uma, I think this character is probably closer to her, stripped down and who she really is – this unbelievable delicate vulnerability that Uma has when you meet her and you get past the intimidation of standing in front of this 6-foot, beautiful Avatar-esque goddess woman. You get to know her and you realize she has a real delicate quality to her that is unbelievable. I felt like at a lot of points in the movie that she was being herself in the best way possible.

MTV: How do you describe or categorize this film? Because it doesn’t seem to be a straight comedy.

Winkler: I think this is a movie where if it’s successful in the way I want it to be, you can laugh and feel emotional and sad at the same time, that would be my goal. I think it’s a comedy, but I’m very influenced by movies of the ‘70s, like “Paper Moon” and “Annie Hall,” that can be comedies but also hit you emotionally. To me I always think the best kind of comedy comes from sadness, and that’s what we tried to capitalize on.

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