Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Cannes Review: Gaspar Noé's Hardcore And Softhearted 'Love' Cannes Review: Gaspar Noé's Hardcore And Softhearted 'Love' Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Cannes Review: Hou Hsiao-Hsien's 'The Assassin' Is An Epic Visual Poem Cannes Review: Hou Hsiao-Hsien's 'The Assassin' Is An Epic Visual Poem The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever Roger Deakins To Shoot Denis Villeneuve's 'Blade Runner' Sequel Roger Deakins To Shoot Denis Villeneuve's 'Blade Runner' Sequel More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image Simon Pegg Worries That Adults Obsessed With Comics & Sci-Fi Have Become "Infantilized By Our Own Taste" Simon Pegg Worries That Adults Obsessed With Comics & Sci-Fi Have Become "Infantilized By Our Own Taste" Cannes Review: Denis Villeneuve's 'Sicario' Starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin And Benicio Del Toro Cannes Review: Denis Villeneuve's 'Sicario' Starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin And Benicio Del Toro George Miller Says He Courted Heath Ledger To Lead 'Mad Max' In 2006, Reveals Title For 'Fury Road' Sequel George Miller Says He Courted Heath Ledger To Lead 'Mad Max' In 2006, Reveals Title For 'Fury Road' Sequel Watch: Michael Fassbender Takes The Stage In First Trailer For 'Steve Jobs' Watch: Michael Fassbender Takes The Stage In First Trailer For 'Steve Jobs' George Miller Says 'Interstellar' Came Close To What His Version Of 'Contact' Would've Been Like George Miller Says 'Interstellar' Came Close To What His Version Of 'Contact' Would've Been Like New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season 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

Gus Van Sant Says He's Still Working Out How To Make 'The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test'

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist September 16, 2011 at 1:32AM

But 'Restless' Helmer Was Never Going To Direct Artist Drama 'The Golden Suicides'Gus Van Sant is not an easily predictable director. His films are always instantly identifiable, but can vary between experimental, difficult pictures like "Gerry" and "Last Days," to more nakedly commercial fare like "Finding Forrester," and, occasionally, as in "To Die For" and "Milk," a sweet spot in between. His latest, "Restless," is another left turn, a quirky teen romance from a first time screenwriter, Jason Lew, that stars Henry Hopper, son of Dennis, and "Alice in Wonderland" lead Mia Wasikowska.
3

But 'Restless' Helmer Was Never Going To Direct Artist Drama 'The Golden Suicides'



Gus Van Sant is not an easily predictable director. His films are always instantly identifiable, but can vary between experimental, difficult pictures like "Gerry" and "Last Days," to more nakedly commercial fare like "Finding Forrester," and, occasionally, as in "To Die For" and "Milk," a sweet spot in between. His latest, "Restless," is another left turn, a quirky teen romance from a first time screenwriter, Jason Lew, that stars Henry Hopper, son of Dennis, and "Alice in Wonderland" lead Mia Wasikowska.

For a brief moment, the release of "Restless" seemed up in the air, but when it was revealed the movie was transferring from Sony to their arthouse division Sony Pictures Classics, it made a lot of sense. The shingle took the film to Cannes this spring where it opened the Un Certain Regard sidebar, and this week, in advance of its release on Friday, it hit TIFF to keep the buzz growing. We sat down with Van Sant this week, and the director updated us on a pair of projects that he's been linked to recently, one of which is still on his dance card, one of which, it emerges, never was.

For a couple of years now, Van Sant, and "Milk" writer Dustin Lance Black, have been linked to an adaptation of Tom Wolfe's non-fiction classic "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test," which follows "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" author Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters as they travel the country on a psychedelic school bus "experimenting" with LSD. At the start of the year, "Charlie Bartlett" scribe Gustin Nash came on to replace Lance Black, and the good news is that it still seems to be somewhat of an ongoing concern. The bad is that Van Sant doesn't suggest we should expect it any time soon.

"How do you tell the story?" the director asked rhetorically, acknowledging the Kesey tale has been a hard nut to crack. "I mean, I worked on it for a long time. And we still haven’t got the right sort of combination of how to sort of pick the parts of that story and make a film version of it... there’s this little block, which is the story and it’s been enough time that I don’t know how to answer the questions that exist... I’ve been trying to figure it out for three years, and I can’t really say whether or not there’s going to be three more years of trying to figure out the story, so I couldn’t really say."

One other project that Van Sant's name has been vaguely linked to in the last few years is "The Golden Suicides," a Bret Easton Ellis-penned script that tells the sad, life and death story (a haunting double suicide in quick succession) of artists Jeremy Blake and Theresa Duncan. Van Sant confirmed to us what we'd been told previously, however; that he was never doing more than lending a helping hand. "I was an advisor when they wrote the screenplay," he explained. "I was like a reader, advisor, and that was really the extent of my involvement."

One might have assumed that, even as only an advisor, it might have been something that he was considering directing at one stage, but he never really came close; like the drugs of 'Electric Kool-Aid,' the filmmaker said the subject matter is a tricky thing to make work on screen. "I think the story is really an amazing story to tell, but there hadn’t been a really great track record filming stories about people that suffered from schizophrenia. The closest I think is 'Eraserhead.' And it does the job, but there’s a certain way to get into the subject. I don’t think you can have your every day drama and get there. I knew that the way to do it was going to be really hard. So I never was able to say like yes on directing that."

The last report was that "Irreversible" and "Enter The Void" helmer Gaspar Noe was circling the project, although Van Sant didn't know any more than we did about the subject. As for his next film, it seems like we're a little while off from finding out what that will be, but, as ever, we're on tenterhooks until we find out. You can see "Restless" in theaters from tomorrow, September 16th, while "Boss," the Kelsey Grammer-starring Starz series which Van Sant helmed the pilot for, premieres on October 21st. We'll have more from our interview with its director tomorrow.

This article is related to: Films, Gus Van Sant, Restless, The Golden Suicides, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Dustin Lance Black


The Playlist

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


E-Mail Updates