DENTLER TAKES THE STAIRS: Ry Russo-Young Interview

by tully
August 16, 2007 4:50 AM
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I don't know if anyone else who reads the indieWIRE blogs page has noticed this yet, but I really think Matt Dentler is looking forward to next week's theatrical release of Joe Swanberg's HANNAH TAKES THE STAIRS. Is it just me? In all seriousness, I couldn't be more excited myself. This is an incredibly big deal for truly independent filmmaking and filmmakers everywhere. While my ode to HANNAH will be dropped next Wednesday, before the big opening night bash at the IFC Center, I thought I'd let Matt take over "Boredom at Its Boredest" for one day. Please enjoy the following interview with ORPHANS director and HANNAH co-star Ry Russo-Young. Take it away, Mr. Dentler...

On the eve of the theatrical debut of Joe Swanberg's SXSW 2007 hit, "Hannah Takes the Stairs," I wanted to check in with each of the film's principal collaborators. The film has been documented as a successful collaboration between acclaimed film artists from around the nation, each one offering their own trademark influence on the final film. "Hannah Takes the Stairs" will open at the IFC Center in New York, on August 22, as well as be available on IFC VOD the same day. As part of an ongoing series you can find throughout the film blogosphere, here is an interview with "Hannah" co-star Ry Russo-Young (also the writer/director of "Orphans"):

Dentler: How did you first get connected to "Hannah Takes the Stairs?"

Russo-Young: I met Joe at Chicago International Film Festival in 2005 when I was there with my short film "Marion" and he was there with (his first feature) "Kissing on the Mouth." Then we hung out again at SXSW 2006 and had a great time. We stayed in touch after that and a month or so later he asked me to be in the movie.

Dentler: What do you remember most about the shoot in Chicago?

Russo-Young: I think it's Kent's cock tricks but it might also be the long walks that Greta and I took every morning to get a delicious iced latte. It was a magical summer shoot. Joe makes everyone feel very comfortable and Kevin Bewersdorf is extremely funny.

Dentler: How did the production process differ from your own other projects, or projects you've acted in before or since?

Russo-Young: Since "Hannah" was unscripted there was definitely an element of chance in every scene. Often I wouldn't know what was going to happen in a scene until I was there and it was happening. It was also interesting because Joe edited while we were shooting which is something I didn't do while making "Orphans." This process was new to me.

Dentler: What are your thoughts on the issues of sex and relationships that come to the forefront of the film?

Russo-Young: I think "Hannah" really gets to a truth about the frenetic need people have to be loved. The manic way we can move through people, in the film Hannah calls it "chronic dissatisfaction."

Dentler: Ever been in a love triangle?

Russo-Young: Several.

Dentler: Did you ever work with "the stairs?" Any thoughts on why they didn't make the cut?

Russo-Young: "The stairs" didn't show up the day we were supposed to shoot them, I guess they were camera shy.

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