Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Fantastic Fest Review: Hitman Thriller 'John Wick' Starring Keanu Reeves, Willem Dafoe & Adrianne Palicki Fantastic Fest Review: Hitman Thriller 'John Wick' Starring Keanu Reeves, Willem Dafoe & Adrianne Palicki Watch: First Trailer For Tim Burton's 'Big  Eyes' Starring Amy Adams And Christoph Waltz Watch: First Trailer For Tim Burton's 'Big Eyes' Starring Amy Adams And Christoph Waltz 'Deadpool’ Spin-Off With Ryan Reynolds Is Finally Green Lit, Set For A Winter 2016 Release Date 'Deadpool’ Spin-Off With Ryan Reynolds Is Finally Green Lit, Set For A Winter 2016 Release Date First Look: Cobie Smulders & Guy Pearce In Andrew Bujalski's 'Results' First Look: Cobie Smulders & Guy Pearce In Andrew Bujalski's 'Results' 10 Films We Haven’t Yet Seen That May Be Serious Oscar Contenders 10 Films We Haven’t Yet Seen That May Be Serious Oscar Contenders Review: 'The Maze Runner' Starring Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Patricia Clarkson, Will Poulter And More Review: 'The Maze Runner' Starring Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Patricia Clarkson, Will Poulter And More Exclusive: Matthew McConaughey Won’t Be Back For ‘Magic Mike XXL,’ Director Says Sequel Will Be “Very Different” Exclusive: Matthew McConaughey Won’t Be Back For ‘Magic Mike XXL,’ Director Says Sequel Will Be “Very Different” David Fincher Says He Shouldn't Have Directed 'The Game,' Dislikes Superhero Movies & Talks "Crazy" '20,000 Leagues' David Fincher Says He Shouldn't Have Directed 'The Game,' Dislikes Superhero Movies & Talks "Crazy" '20,000 Leagues' Matt Damon & Paul Greengrass Are Returning To The 'Bourne' Series Matt Damon & Paul Greengrass Are Returning To The 'Bourne' Series First Look: Angelina Jolie And Brad Pitt In 'By The Sea' First Look: Angelina Jolie And Brad Pitt In 'By The Sea' The Best, Worst And Most Disappointing Films Of The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival The Best, Worst And Most Disappointing Films Of The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival David Fincher Says Differences Over Casting And Disney's Corporate Culture Stalled '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' David Fincher Says Differences Over Casting And Disney's Corporate Culture Stalled '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 5, Episode 2 ‘The Good Listener’ Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 5, Episode 2 ‘The Good Listener’ Review: 'No Good Deed' Starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson Review: 'No Good Deed' Starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson Tom Hardy Says He'll Never Do Another Romantic Comedy Again Thanks To 'This Means War' Tom Hardy Says He'll Never Do Another Romantic Comedy Again Thanks To 'This Means War' The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Exclusive: Sofia Coppola Talks The Minimalism Of 'Somewhere'

The Playlist By Erik McClanahan | The Playlist December 21, 2010 at 10:21AM

Sofia Coppola's latest effort, "Somewhere," tells the story of a partied-out action star (played by Stephen Dorff) who hangs out at the chateau marmont, gets laid at will and basically lives a fleeting, empty existence, until he's forced to deal with his daughter (Elle Fanning) full time, and he reassess his life. There's not much else to the film, and we noted that in our review but that's what Coppola was striving for.
0


Sofia Coppola's latest effort, "Somewhere," tells the story of a partied-out action star (played by Stephen Dorff) who hangs out at the chateau marmont, gets laid at will and basically lives a fleeting, empty existence, until he's forced to deal with his daughter (Elle Fanning) full time, and he reassess his life. There's not much else to the film, and we noted that in our review but that's what Coppola was striving for.

"I think after Marie Antoinette, I wanted to take a shift from what I’d just done that was so decorative, so many characters, I was interested in how simply you could tell a story," she said when we recently sat down with her to discuss the film. "Somewhere" certainly stands out in a year where some of the most highly-praised American films -- "Inception," "The Social Network," "Black Swan" -- feature complex narrative structures and almost wall-to-wall music. But Coppola likes it that way, as an audience member she finds it refreshing to see a film where music is used sparingly, like the score by Phoenix in "Somewhere," which is so ambient and subtle that it barely registers. "A lot of movies are bombarded with songs and I wanted to see how little we could use it," Coppola said. "It’s very subtle and it’s kind of woven in with sound design and little hints throughout... it’s not like the whole traditional score."

The Oscar-winning writer/director has a reputation for light scripts as well. "[Somewhere" was] short. Half the size of a regular, traditional script." Coppola went on to say she finds writing to be difficult, but she can't imagine directing a screenplay by someone else. "I wouldn't even know how to approach that," she said, "I can't say never, but I like making personal work that I can shape the whole thing." There is one thing that helps inspire Coppola to put ink on paper: distance. Living in LA prompted films set in Tokyo and France, but she was living in Paris while she wrote "Somewhere."

"I feel like I must have some distance from a place to be able to write about it. I don’t know, there are some songwriters who can only write sad songs when they are happy and happy songs when they are sad, so I guess there’s something about creativity that takes a distance."

Master cinematographer Harris Savides shot "Somewhere," and he was into the idea of making a movie in "a really sparse style," according to Coppola. "[He wanted] to do it in a simple way, using natural light." They looked at iconic LA movies -- Coppola really wanted to capture the feel of an LA movie. Oddly enough, though, Savides has just finished shooting "Greenberg" for Noah Baumbach, which also took place in modern-day Los Angeles. The two films "look different" though, according to Coppola. "It's cool that he could find such a different way to shoot both of them."

The conclusion to "Somewhere," while somewhat open to interpretation, does end on a hopeful note for the lead character: "Yeah, the end of the film was supposed to be a beginning of a new chapter in his life so it was sort of a metaphor for a certain lifestyle in his Château. He’s sort of leaving that life behind and starting something new," Coppola said. "I wanted it to be a hopeful note, a positive that he’s changing, but I did want to leave it to the audience to think about what specifics." She says even though the film is set in a very specific place, the themes are universal and "everyone can relate to the moments in your life when you have to decide what kind of person you’re going to be and which way you’re life’s going to go, it doesn’t matter that… it’s not exclusive [to] Hollywood."

Coppola, for now, is excited that the film is finally coming out, since it's been doing the festival circuit for a while. She was surprised and happy with the film's win at Venice this year (it took home the Golden Lion), and shrugged off any backlash that it was due to good friend Quentin Tarantino being head of the jury. Now that it is finally hitting US screens she wants to get back to writing again, but as yet isn't sure what her next project will be.

This article is related to: Films, Actors, Somewhere, Stephen Dorff


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates