Shortlist.com deputy editor Benjamin Lee is the man behind the spoof @Michael_Haneke Twitter account that kept more than 30K followers amused during the ramp-up to the Oscars, and the film's Best Foreign-Language win. Lee has a feature in the Guardian discussing his experience while running the Twitter handle, and a few surprising facts he learned about the real-life Austrian director. Highlights below.
On Haneke's taste in mainstream films:
[The Twitter account] all started after I read an interview in which he was asked if he enjoyed any mainstream films and he replied "What about Once Upon a Time in the West, for example? Isn't that a mainstream film?" I could just imagine the delivery, with the sort of knowing tone that I ran with for the following months (it's the same way I imagined him "accidentally" forgetting that not everyone else has two "parms dorz").
When I started tweeting as Haneke, I was intrigued by what his reaction would be. I was expecting apathy and possibly contempt but he expressed intrigue and, yes, a small amount of contempt. "I tried to read some of the posts but my English isn't good enough to allow me that," he said in an interview.
On Haneke's real-life cat, lol:
For the uninitiated, one of the key obsessions of fake Haneke, a purposely lowbrow take on the famously austere director, is his "stinky cat". It was a recurring joke made to distance the two Hanekes even more, not being able to imagine the director of The White Ribbon making so many references to his cat's flatulence.
Yet, as I have recently found out, "real Haneke" is the proud owner of more than one cat, a fact that few people know.