While people, even in the same social circles, have different personalities and outlooks on life, everyone is quick to defend their viewpoints and ideas, even to their friends. This is one of the key topics in writer-director Whit Stillman’s new comedy ‘Damsels in Distress,’ which is now playing in select theaters. The lead female characters in the film are on a mission to change the ideals and actions on their college campus, particularly amongst their male counterparts, even if it means arguing with those around them.
‘Damsels in Distress’ follows a trio of girls-dynamic leader Violet (played by Greta Gerwig), opinionated Rose (portrayed by Megalyn Echikunwoke) and sexy Heather (played by Carrie MacLemore)-as they set to help their fellow students at their grungy East Coast college, Seven Oaks. Not only do they want to change the male barbaric ideals that still resonate on campus, the girls also run the school’s suicide prevention center. They help treat their classmates with tap dancing and good hygiene.
The girls decide to take one of their new classmates, transfer student Lily (portrayed by Analeigh Tipton), under their wing. While teaching her the ways of the school, the girls also become entangled with the slick Charlie (played by Adam Brody), seemingly romantic Xavier (portrayed by Hugo Beker) and frat boys Frank (played by Ryan Metcalf) and Thor (portrayed by Billy Magussen).
Tipton and Brody generously took the time to speak about filming ‘Damsels in Distress’ at New York City’s Regency Hotel during a roundtable interview. The two discussed, among other things, what their favorite dances are, and the ideas they agreed with Violet about.
Written by: Karen Benardello
Question (Q): How did you both get involved with ‘Damsels in Distress?’
Adam Brody (AB): Mostly the old-fashioned way. Mostly you get agents before you ever know what’s happening. You go to meetings. But I just loved the script, I think it’s brilliant.
Q: Why is it brilliant to you?
AB: I think it’s incredibly funny and so original and unique, what Whit puts on film, and his ideas. It’s so rich with ideas and different themes and subtexts. It’s packed with a lot of different philosophies, but all under a romantic, incredible movie.
Q: Analeigh, how did you get involved in the movie?
Analeigh Tipton (AT): I was sent the script by my agent. I wasn’t familiar with Whit’s work. I loved how there was a joke on the surface level, and then 10 pages later, the joke would be brought back around, and things would take on different levels of Whit, to use a play on his name.
Before even meeting him, I saw other movies, to fully understand the style, and appreciate what partaking in the film would mean. I fell in love with the process from there.
Q: In the movie, you talk fast, and really have to pay attention all the time. Is this more difficult as actors?
AB: I think as an audience, with all of his movies, I can’t process what’s being said for like 10 minutes. So much is coming at you, dialogue-wise. But on the flip-side, that’s what’s so great, his movies are so fun to watch again. You really catch things the third time.
Even with the script, even though you’re reading it over and over, slower, taking it in. You’re catching things the third and fourth time, that you didn’t the first time.
Q: How was that while you were filming?
AB: I didn’t have a problem with it. I had to look stuff up, though, because I don’t know what it all means. (laugh) I don’t know every author, or every word. But, in terms of me, the rhythm is so laid out for you, and the humor is already there for you. The dialogue, you just kind of say it. Although it’s a little heightened and proper, I personally fell in love with it. It wasn’t that difficult.
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