If you know Miranda July only for her first feature, 2005's widely praised indie hit "Me and You and Everyone We Know," you'd be forgiven for thinking she'd dropped off the face of the Earth since then. But as her loyal followers know, July is a busy lady.
Already an acclaimed performance artist and writer, July garnered a whole new fan base when she tried her hand at feature filmmaking and hit big with "Me and You..." Quirky, heartfelt and delicately handled, the film signaled a huge talent behind the camera as well as in front of it.
It's taken her six years to follow it up with "The Future," a notably darker tale that finds July exploring how a couple in their mid-thirties react when faced with the reality that their futures won't unfold as originally envisioned.
Were you surprised by the runaway success of "Me and You and Everyone We Know"? The film did great business at the box office for an indie film from a first-time filmmaker.
I was, in the sense that I didn’t have any image in my mind of what that success would be like. At the same time there's this sort of naive confidence that I had. I was like, "Everyone should see this movie! They’re going to love it!" I hadn’t yet had a bad review, so I wasn’t afraid of that. I was really confident.
In retrospect, I'm kind of surprised. But no, at the time I was like, "Why wouldn’t they like it?"
What have you been up to in the years following your debut?
After I finished the first movie, I finished a book of short stories I was working on. I got that published, and then I started working on a performance which I did here in New York at The Kitchen. That performance eventually evolved into this new movie. In the meantime, I was also invited to be in the Venice Benniale, and I made 11 sculptures for that. I also wrote a non-fiction book that comes out in the fall.
What was "The Future" born out of?
Sort of the point I was at in relationships. Between the two movies, I both broke up with someone, and was broken up with. In the simplest sense, I kind of felt very acutely what that moment was like... that kind of moment where you realize that future you were imagining isn’t going to happen.
The character you play in the film tries to become a viral sensation on the web by posting a personal dance video. What are some of your favorite viral vids?
Videos that I’ve liked that millions of others have liked as well include that one where the boy’s on drugs after the dentist, where he’s like, "Is this real? Is this going to go on forever?"
I like all the animal ones too. [Like] the two kitties meowing to each other [July meows back and forth]. I have friends who are always sending me one. I don’t find them myself.
July isn’t your real surname. You were born Miranda Jennifer Grossinger. How did July come to be?
My best friend in high school and I had a fanzine, and in the fanzine she wrote a story about two girls named Ida and July. I was July, and I kept it. For the first play that I wrote [in high school], I put on the poster, "A new play by Miranda July." And then I just kept it from then on.
I’m a very self-authoring person. I thought it was appropriate to come up with my own name. I don’t know why it stuck other that I just kept using it [laughs].