Rob and Dan very different kind of actors. They’re very, very different kind of people in the film, so it was fantastic. They were so different naturally. For Rob to play a photographer is quite interesting because he’s being chased by photographers all the time. Rob is of course a film star, but he likes to be seen as an actor, so he works very hard to be an actor and be valued as an actor. And in the film he plays this photographer who wants to be seen as a great photographer. So I think there’s a parallel there that’s helpful.
He’s made a lot of interesting acting choices, “Cosmopolis”…
...Yeah, “The Rover.” I hear that “Map to the Stars” is a really great film. I am looking forward to seeing it.
I was hoping to see “Life” announced as part of the TIFF 2014 lineup.
Yeah, I was hoping that too, but we are too far from finishing, because we finished [shooting] in late October.
Will we see it at on the fall festival circuit anywhere?
I reckon it will be 2015.
craveonline Life wasn’t part of the TIFF announcement this morning, is there potential for a 2014 release?
No, that’ll be 2015. We haven’t locked picture yet. We still have two more months of sound and [potential] pick-up shoots.
In your background in photography, you’ve photographed numerous icons. Your first film, Control, was a portrait of the iconic Ian Curtis (singer for Joy Division), who died very young. I guess now we’ve confirmed that next year, you have a film that involves James Dean (to be played by Dane DeHaan) in Life. Who also died very young. Is it more difficult to capture an iconic photograph of an individual in life, or to tell their story in death?
I’m flattered that people think my pictures are iconic. That’s not what I set out to be. A lot of people that I worked with in the 70s and 80s were not very well known people, but they became [well known] later. So I’ve not deliberately sought icons. As far as making films for Ian Curtis and James Dean, that is, of course, is very deliberate. Ian Curtis was someone that I knew and I moved to England to make it because I wanted to make it. It was a personal project. And, also, I thought there was a good love story there (between Sam Riley and Samantha Morton).
With Life it’s first and foremost a story about a photographer, Dennis Stock (Robert Pattinson), who profiled James Dean (DeHaan). So it’s the story of a photographer and their subject. As a photographer that story interested me: studying the power balance between a photographer and their subject. You know, who influences who? The James Dean portion of the story wasn’t my interest. In fact I’d turned down a straight James Dean project once before.
WSJ Like some of his recent films, it’s a very different movie for Pattinson.
The screentime is easily divided between Dane DeHaan and Rob, and they’re very different actors. Rob, I think he’s working to be seen as a proper actor and not as a movie star. He takes a lot of challenging roles, and tries to work with directors that are a bit away from the mainstream. The fact that he maybe wants to prove himself as an actor was very good for the role of Dennis Stock, who wants to prove himself as being a great photographer. Also, for Rob to be on the other end of the camera was quite interesting.
Did you give Pattinson advice on being a photographer?
I got a camera to him quite a few months before we started shooting. An old Leica so he could put film in it and get comfortable with it.