Interview with Amber Benson
Dec 7, 2003, Offenbach
5. The Technicalities of Being Inspired
1. Magic, Multitasking and Motivation
2. Movies, television and the family
3. Being in control
4. "Chance", Sex and Power
6. Reading, Collaborating, Watching & Listening
The rhythm of the film is very elaborate at first it keeps you on your toes, you dont know what to expect. I thought to myself: is this a comedy, is it trying to scare me? The moment it fell into place was the scene in the car: someone forces their feelings on you and its claustrophobic, a frontal attack on the viewer, and you just have to laugh at that. Not in a mean way, not in a "these are idiots" sense, but: Oh yeah, I know that, when youre stuck in the elevator with someone, emotionally speaking.
And you just cant. Get. Out. Its really quite funny though, because when I originally wrote it, I first of all did not write it for me to be in. I wrote it kind of thinking of other people because, you know, shes so alien to how I go about my life. I m nothing like her. I m much more Simon. Simon is me. Like with all the counting Im an obsessive counter, the ceiling dots, it makes me feel connected and nice and safe to count. The countdown thing, while he waits in front of the micro-wave oven: I get bored, so it gives me something to do. And Im constantly going: uh, do I smell funny? All the little quirks of Simon. Hes me. James is me. He really did a nice job there being me. I felt: Thats me, yeah.
And that got inserted even: The swapping of identities
Mmh-hm, uh-huh. It was kind of weird, wasnt it, how that worked out. I originally worked it into the script as kind of a darker moment. We just sort of did it everything was in the script. But on the whole set, there was an air of: were just going to try different things. Evrybody tried things. I wanted very much to stick to the script, because I love dialogue. To me, it is the most important thing in a film.
Talking is the real action to relate to, not shootouts or how many car chases does the average person get into?
I ve never been in a car chase, so thats not my experience. Well, it was really intended to be a dark comedy. It was supposed to be very dark, and then when we started filming for some reason I casted all these people theyre not edgy and dark, theyre very real and kind of the characters took over. It became something completely we started watching the dailies and people were laughing and I m like: hmmm. It was supposed to be funny, but not laugh-out-loud-funny, I was really shocked. You know, when you get someone like Christine Estabrook who went to Yale and comes from a very absurdist school of theatre when you get someone like that involved, the woman is a comedic genius, and then she crawled under the couch. It was her thing. It was not in the script. People do that kind of thing: you hide, whenever somethings so overwhelming, you try to get away. You go into your cup of coffee.
What happens on the set in that moment, when someone improvises like that?
We all thought we would die. People were hitting themselves: dont laugh, dont laugh now. And then when it was over, we were all hysterical, because here is this woman, this adult woman crawling into the couch. And then to go from that to the scene where she is crying and upset she watched it in the rough cut and she said: Oh no, it slows the whole thing down, I shouldnt have been so emotional, and Im like: what are you talking about, its the moment we really connect with Chance and see what shes all about. That moment and the one with the bugs at the end, those are the two real moments when we actually have a break from the funny and get a real moment. These amazing comedic people came in and took over, and it became what I never would have envisioned, this whole sort of slapsticky thing.
Into which the Shakespeare episode fits absolutely, it gorgeous. That was improvised as well, I read. Because Shakespeare has this aura of classicism, but...
Yeah, it was meant for lower classes, its all very farcical and you know, its highbrow now but it was for the penny droolers in the front row to begin with.
He was serialized.
Like "Buffy". Did you know that not only is there Dickens in "Buffy" but Buffy in Dickens? The name plays a political role.
Its in "Bleak House", a politicians name: the right honourable William Buffy, M.P.
I wouldnt be surprised. Joss is an avid reader. His whole house is full of books when I came there, it was: can I borrow that, please?
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