Q: How did you meet Sean Penn? How was the idea for this work born?
I met Sean Penn on the evening of the closing of the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. That year he was the jury chairman and my movie “Il Divo” won the jury award. He really praised my movie. This was a big enough event to dream of making a movie with him. I didn’t expect it, but it was like a real American dream.
Q: Draw a portrait of a rock star who is mentally depressed and follow a former Nazi man. What is the basis for these two major themes?
As far as I think, movies are inevitable that every work always keeps track of what is unknown. And I think it’s important not to find an answer to a mystery, but to keep asking questions about the problem. One of the thoughts that has repeatedly emerged in me during the Genesis period of the movie “Where to Return” is that former Nazi criminals continue to live somewhere in the world. What is that secret and mysterious life? was. Now, the man is harmless and is one of the old men who in essence embodies good and leads a quiet life. However, the man’s past has been stamped with a terrible crime. That crime was exactly the eradication of an entire nation. That is the exact opposite image. In order to track people such as these former Nazis, one has to do a kind of hunting. And to do that hunting, you have to prepare a hunter. This is where another element of this work works. In other words, because my instinct always demands that irony be brought into the drama.
In order to put these things into practice, Umberto Contarello and I have eliminated the possibility of the existence of a former Nazi hunter and are completely in conflict with common sense when considering a detective role I gradually arrived at the image of human beings. In other words, I arrived at the image of a human being called lazy rock star. He is bored enough and is quite autistic in his world. But he now tries to find a former Nazi war criminal who may have died all over the country. A rare person who embarks on a ridiculous thing. The Holocaust is the background of tragedy during tragedy. The world of pop music (the world given the definition of being ridiculous and shallow) and the existence of the main character in that world are arranged as the exact opposite. For me it was a combination that was enough to create an interesting story, and I thought it was a more dangerous combination. Because I think the story has vitality only when there is a risk of failure. And of course I was hoping that it would not fail.
Q: Please tell us about the character Cheyenne. What kind of person is he?
Cheyenne is a childish person, but not a whimsical person. As a child, like many adults who once put an end and submerge it inside, he knows the trick to keeping only pure things. The pure thing is a sensitive thing and is a property that can only be seen in children. Because of a wound in my heart, I decided to quit the music world with a youthfulness. But that is one of the factors that he leads to an unfocused life. He is bored and thinly depressed, swinging like a pendulum in the two states. He’s like drifting. For this drifting man, only irony and lightness are the way to accept life. His attitude directly affects the way other people see him. Cheyenne is an honest being and an unconscious source of joy. In this work, when he speaks in a naïve way, unconsciously, “Life is full of beautiful things”, we almost believe what he says. That’s because it seems like a little boy is speaking, and in a deep sense, it reminds me again that the child is always right.
Q: What was Sean Penn’s response to this script?
When I sent the script to Sean Penn, I was very convinced that I would have to wait months to get the answer. Because there is a certain rumor and I don’t know how true it is, but Sean had heard a rumor that he would receive 40 screenplays a month. Immediately after sending the script, I started thinking about another idea. Because honestly, it was hard to imagine that an actor named Sean Penn, who just won the Academy Award in the United States, would appear in an independent movie that I was going to shoot. . However, in reality, 24 hours later, I found Sean leaving a message on his answering machine. Of course, immediately, this is a prank that someone did. My friend and producer, Nicola Giuliano, always loves jokes and is very good at imitation. But I was wrong. So that night I was able to talk to Sean over the phone. He said he liked the script very much. And then, Ironically told me that the only scene that Sean was worried about was the part that she had to dance. It was very easy for me to solve this problem. A month later, I went to meet Sean in San Francisco with the screenwriter and producer. Sean spent a wonderful night together, derailing many times. And how would you play if you played this role? He told me the idea. This just wiped out the doubts I usually have and gave me certainty. This means that great actors always understand much more about the characters than directors and screenwriters.
Q: Please tell us about Cheyenne’s overall looks.
In other words, about lipstick, makeup, hair style, full body black fashion.
The looks are inspired by Robert Smith and The Cure’s lead vocals. As a child, there were several concerts of The Cure and I saw Robert Smith on stage. Three years ago, I went to a concert again and I think he was already in his 50s, but it wasn’t different from when he was in his 20s. That was a shock in a positive way. Looking at his close-up behind the scenes, he simply understood how beautiful and delicate the contradictions that could exist in humans were. He had a literal meaning, and looked like he was in his youth when he was in his 50s. But there was nothing like sadness. It’s just these events that create emotions that can only be described as miracles or wonders in movies and in real life. In the very hot July of New York, I had a similar hard experience a few months later. That happened when Sean Penn first made up and dressed up.
Q: How did you depict the relationship between Jane and Cheyenne?
In terms of the relationship between the two, it can be said that the actual relationship between me and my wife was modeled a little and the idea was stolen from there. In other words, a relationship between a man who is only an ambiguous abstract being managed and supported by the loneliness of her and a woman who pushes her life without heart hurt or useless tragedy. Umberto Contarello and I made an effort to show a strong contrast between abstract and concrete in the background including irony. The playful side of the relationship between Sean Penn and Francis McDormand makes people laugh. It was a natural gift. It was really fortunate that Francis McDormand played the role of Jane. I wrote this letter to ask her to appear and get her consent. In other words, if she refuses this role, she simply intends to rewrite the entire script and change Cheyen into a single or widower. In fact, it was true. No actress other than her could be considered for that role.
Q: Mary plays an important role in Cheyenne’s life as part of Dublin?
Mary is a young friend and Cheyenne fan. Cheyenne suffered as much as possible to relieve Mary’s heartache and she suffered because Cheyenne suffered. But in the end, despite her youth, she alleviates Cheyenne’s pain somewhat. The relationship between the two is an interesting two-sided relationship. For this role, I selected Eve Housson, a promising young Irish actress and mature as an actor, despite his youth. Literally, I was really surprised that such a young girl was able to think completely adult. Her qualities are indispensable for the role she plays, and I think she will be a very important source of acting in her career as an actor.
Q: What kind of portrait did you create in the country of America?
It’s always dangerous to try to do something about something you don’t understand well. I traveled many times to the US, but my knowledge of the US is still a tourist. But I wonder if I can make this excuse. In other words, I’m traveling with the main character of the movie, Cheyenne, who has never returned to the United States for 30 years. We are both tourists and only humans with round-trip air tickets that have not decided when to return. The world of America cannot be grasped too much and will change quickly. That’s why I think we have to recognize America as a world that can only be described in an endless manner.
Q: Music is also an important part of this movie, how did you choose it?
I try to choose the music that my heart decides for the movie. There was nothing forced. Just like the past work, there was just a task of applying music rationally. Instead, I wanted to revive the incredible feelings and passions that I experienced as a boy. That feeling and passion, that is, I wanted to revive the excitement at that time when my elder brother over 9 years old taught me a great music called rock. As I was obsessed with, I spent a lot of time analyzing locks and doing so. I especially liked Talking Heads and genius creator David Burne. So I dared to make three requests to David. Can I use his song “THIS MUST BE THE PLACE” (original title) as the title of this movie and make it a theme song? Can you be in charge of music for this movie? Then will you play for this work? So the result is that all three requests were OK.
Sean Penn talks
I met Paolo Solentino’s “Il Divo” when I was the jury chairman in Cannes in 2008. I frankly told Paolo. If you want to film a movie with him, you can do it anytime, anywhere. A year later he sent me a scenario. It was very sensitive and included voice mail by him, and I was impressed with the delicate approach.
Paolo didn’t talk much about makeup that would make her feel cheerful. As for Cheyenne’s character, he is dressed like Goth-Rock, that is, looks like The Cure’s Robert Smith or Scissor Hands, and is internally lethargic like Utsu at first, but the journey progresses little by little After that, he explained that he would recover himself and eventually overcome the scary insects and overcome fear.
In preparing this role, I started by carefully observing others. The role of Cheyenne is not based on any particular rock star as a model, but a person with a completely unique and unique spirit. He is totally innocent and has a pure and delicate heart. While chasing the shadow of his dead father, he will eventually find himself, but I think he captures the process in the atmosphere of the movie.
Q: How do you make your own role?
First try to cross yourself, and constantly ask yourself and leave yourself. The important thing is to feel the meaning of words. Live and exist in a broad sense so that you don’t get stuck. Making mistakes in the process is also important. The worst thing that can happen to everyone is to end up being numb.
Q: About me as a person
I’m less angry than before. I haven’t been completely calmed or can control my emotions, but I think it has become a bit more tolerant. I think it’s better to use my energy in a different way, for example more constructive. It is difficult to wipe out preconceptions and images of yourself that have already become solid. You can’t do anything about it. I learned how to get along with it. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to spend my life as an actor and earn a family living. Even better, when Hollywood doesn’t bite me, I can stand on the other side of the camera and take whatever I like as a director.
About the composition of David Burn’s “Where to Return”
During the European tour, Paolo came to see Turin, but his previous work “Il Divo” was screened in New York and was highly praised by critics, and I was really happy to meet him. Paolo and the producers asked me to compose music for a new movie that was planned. When I heard about the movie, I thought it would be a ambition. In other words, the Italian movie is a foreign movie, and in the United States you can’t usually expect so many audiences, but this movie will be a very beautiful and amazing movie. Furthermore, since it will be an English movie, it can be a very large-scale work. So I told Paolo that I’m on tour now, so I’d like to be contacted again when the movie funds and things have been adjusted. One year later, when Paolo and others contacted me again that they were ready, I was very surprised but really happy. Then I read the script, but Paolo requested three things. First, I want my band and me to perform Talking Heads songs live and appear in one scene of the movie. That wasn’t a complicated requirement. Secondly, there is a scene where the main character is handed out a CD of a demo performance from a young singer, and a song for that purpose is necessary. The main character, played by Sean Penn, will listen to the songs on this CD throughout his journey. The song for this demo performance would be my voice when I sang myself, and I had to hear it as if a young person was singing. It was. The demo performance, which feels like a young singer wrote and inspired, should not be too complete or too good. I had to feel incomplete.
As Paolo explained, in the script, Will Oldham, also known as Bonnie Prince Billy, is depicted as a monumental existence of some kind of music world. Actually, there is a scene where a young singer performs in a shopping mall, but it was Will’s song that was sung there. So I told Paolo. “If the song he wrote is reverberating in you, why not ask Will himself for the music?” Paolo seemed unconfident at first, but I had met Will during the tour, and recommended that I contact him and ask him to make a song together. Paolo actually asked Will as I recommended, and surprisingly, Will’s answer was a little.
First, I prepared a really rough version of the song and vocals and sent them to the director to check that the direction was correct. It was really difficult to explain music, so it should have been useful for the director. So Will and I worked together based on the rough version, repeating the work of sending the completed rough to the director a couple of times, and going back again. I went. That’s how we proceeded, with one exception. That’s because there was only one song where Will wrote all the lyrics. The song was an interesting song. Because the lyrics are completely different from what I write. I think this is the best part of working with someone. In other words, you can create something that you cannot create by yourself. Then, an actor from Dublin who played a young singer singing a demo was decided, but it was never a good singer, so this part needed someone else’s voice. It must be a young singing voice that sounds like the actor is really singing. So I decided to find an Irish singer here in New York. A high tenor voice of some kind, who met the requirements of a singing voice with a little Irish accent, we found it on MySpace on the net and the singer actually did a very good job.
The name of the band that appears in the movie is “ Pieces of Sit ”, but this is a name that makes this band feel like a punk band, and it seems that it does not fit well with the music we made It was. Paolo gave me some instructions, but he wanted me to make one more melancholic song and one more upbeat song. The protagonist was Robert Smith, the Cure vocal, so I told the director: I’m Robert Smith’s band that inspired the hero’s looks, if Paolo wants more music like The Cure, I’m not the right person for this job. But Paolo explained that he didn’t want music like The Cure, but rather Cheyenne would be thrilled by music completely different from his past. He’s going to listen to something else that pushes him out elsewhere.
About the song “This Must Be the Place”
It was a little shocking that Paolo used the Talking Heads song I wrote for the movie title. Although it has been quoted several times in the past and once became a theatre, it is a song that has gained appreciation. This song is a very straight love song for me. It is a love song straight to the limit that I was able to write. This song has honesty. However, it’s not a song that tries to say something in an expression that people have heard over a million times. That’s why I think it’s touching and touching for those who listen to this song. That’s probably because the song has the power to appeal as more true than something that is a little artificial and well done, or something traditional.
About playing David Burne himself
Paolo’s request included my own appearance in a very small scene. So, of course, how should I play? I heard. What I said to Paolo is that I have no intention of becoming an actor. Paolo said, “No, I don’t want you to leave on your own. That is, I want you to play David Burne.” For me it sounded more complicated and difficult! But what I thought was that Sean Penn was the main character, and if I just acted like I would always do in real life, the man who played Sean said something and responded again Yes, I thought it would be somehow even if I played it. I think Cheyenne and I were a pretty strange combination. However, though I thought that the idea that these two were friends was not so ridiculous.