Aspen Film Academy Screenings: A Q&A with ‘Jackie’ producer Juan de Dios Larrain
The Aspen Times
If You Go …
What: ‘Jackie’ at Academy Screenings
Where: Paepcke Auditorium
When: Friday, Dec. 23, 8:15 p.m.
How much: $20/general admission; $15/Aspen Film members
Tickets: Wheeler Opera House box office; www.aspenshowtix.com
Pablo and Juan de Dios Larrain have emerged, over the past decade, as something like Chile’s answer to the Coen brothers.
The filmmaking brothers — Pablo directing, Juan de Dios producing — have made artful films that grapple with Chilean politics and history. “Tony Manero,” “Post Mortem,” “No” and “The Club” all earned international acclaim. “No” won the Art Cinema Award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012 and was nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film
But 2016 has been a breakthrough for the Larrain brothers in the U.S. Along with the meta-fictional biopic “Neruda,” about the Nobel Prize-winning poet, politician and Chilean icon Pablo Neruda, the pair has tackled the life of First Lady Jackie Kennedy in “Jackie.” It’s their first English language project.
Natalie Portman stars as the First Lady in the film, which follows her through the days after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. It’s already won Portman a Critic’s Choice Award and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress, and made her a favorite for the Academy Award. The film plays tonight at Aspen Film’s Academy Screenings in Paepcke Auditorium.
Aspen Times arts editor Andrew Travers recently spoke with Juan de Dios Larrain about “Jackie” and the Larrain brothers’ first foray into American filmmaking.
Travers: Congratulations on “Neruda” and “Jackie.” It’s a big year for you and Pablo.
Larrain: Yeah, what a journey? It’s been amazing. All of this work and praise in America — it’s very new for us. It’s been very special.
Travers: Both films are coming out at the same time, but you worked on “Neruda” for eight years. Did that prepare you to make “Jackie” in some way?
Larrain: Yes, absolutely. Exactly how is impossible to say. “Neruda” was a big production for us — before “Jackie,” it was the biggest we’ve ever done.
Travers: Darren Aronofsky brought you guys on board to make “Jackie.” What interested you about telling this iconic American story?
Larrain: The fact that you have to explore in someone’s mind. Jackie Kennedy is among the most known people of the last century, yet at the same time is an unknown person in terms of her private life. So we had a lot of freedom, but at the same time we had to be careful and respectful of her family. Writing lines for a person who actually lived — it was hard. During the editing everything came together. A lot of ideas Pablo introduced when we were shooting, and when we were editing those ideas started to make sense — some of them, not all of them. It’s a movie that was written as one movie, then shot as a new movie, then edited as a new-new movie.
Travers: How do you and Pablo work together? Are your duties separate and distinctly defined, or do you both work on all aspects of a film?
Larrain: Officially, Pablo does the creative process and I do the production process but and the roads are very crossed. I give opinions on every singe idea, when I believe I have something interesting to say. Sometimes you bring up stupid ideas, but if you think it’s the right thing to say you have to bring it up. And the thing is that sometimes a stupid idea, with new input, becomes a good idea. So you’ve got to be free and enjoy the process and read all the versions of the scripts, the notes, watch the dailies and you’re part of the process. You may not be driving the car but you’re in the car.
Travers: Any idea what you want to do next?
Larrain: This is an intense period. We need some fresh air. We need to go back home, see our kids and then start thinking about something new.
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