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Joe Wright on Hanna, Karenina, David Lynch, Fairy Tales; Slams Sucker Punch's Sexual Objectification

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood April 6, 2011 at 6:27AM

Check out a taste of Vanity Fair's interview with Hanna director Joe Wright. On why he was attracted to a character like Hanna: "I've always been drawn to characters like Chauncey Gardener and E.T.—characters who, because of never having seen or experienced the world before, are fascinated by the electric kettle or see the objectification of women in a clearer light." Vanity Fair says that's funny because Sucker Punch director Zack Snyder would say the same thing, and play the irony card. Wright adds:"I haven’t seen Sucker Punch, but I think the main issue with female empowerment is the sexual objectification of women. Looking at the poster of Sucker Punch, I would say that is perpetuating the sexual objectification, therefore I can’t see how that is empowering…I don’t really believe in irony. I think irony is a kind of hiding place for dishonesty. It’s an intellectual trick, but there’s no heart in irony. There needs to be heart in our social change."
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Thompson on Hollywood


Check out a taste of Vanity Fair's interview with Hanna director Joe Wright. On why he was attracted to a character like Hanna: "I've always been drawn to characters like Chauncey Gardener and E.T.—characters who, because of never having seen or experienced the world before, are fascinated by the electric kettle or see the objectification of women in a clearer light." Vanity Fair says that's funny because Sucker Punch director Zack Snyder would say the same thing, and play the irony card. Wright adds:

"I haven’t seen Sucker Punch, but I think the main issue with female empowerment is the sexual objectification of women. Looking at the poster of Sucker Punch, I would say that is perpetuating the sexual objectification, therefore I can’t see how that is empowering…I don’t really believe in irony. I think irony is a kind of hiding place for dishonesty. It’s an intellectual trick, but there’s no heart in irony. There needs to be heart in our social change."

As for Anna Karenina, for which Tom Stoppard is adapting the novel, the dyslexic Wright -- who missed out on a university education -- says it's "thrilling, terrifying, and hugely satisfying…To sit in a room with Tom Stoppard for three days and have him illuminate Anna Karenina is the most wonderful opportunity."

Wright also spoke with the NYTimes about Hanna and the influence of David Lynch's Blue Velvet. The NYTimes says "Hanna leaves ample room for otherworldly atmospherics and a Lynchian mix of humor and menace," and Wright further adds: “Lynch’s films are fairy tales far more than Disney’s are. It’s ironic these days that a fairy-tale ending is thought to be a happy ending, when most fairy tales are very, very dark. The little mermaid commits suicide. Hansel and Gretel put an old lady in an oven…[Hanna is] not set in the real world, but a kind of mystical world just beyond rational perception. It’s a dream of adolescence — or a nightmare really.”

This article is related to: Box Office, Directors, Genres, Headliners, Hollywood, Interviews , Media, Marketing, Spring, Action


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.