Well well, it’s going to be hard to top this in terms of ‘best movie news of the year’…
Having broken over to the mainstream last year with Dallas Buyers Club, which snagged him his first Best Picture and editing nominations and Oscars for stars Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, Jean-Marc Vallee is becoming an in-demand director in Hollywood, with Wild this year and Demolition next year. While, by the looks of it, Wild is allowing him let go again somewhat and Demolition (out next year) could be really in the vein of Cafe de Flore, since Flore he’s yet to be saddled with a project that sounds like it will allow the full extent of his unique style to run free yet again. Well, fear no more, because Vallee has just lined up a project that he was pretty much born to do.
A Janis Joplin biopic starring Amy Adams (who could knock pretty much anything out of the park) has long been in the works. Early last year there were reports that filming had started. Then, in the middle of the year when The Butler was doing press, director Lee Daniels talked about still being attached but doing pre-production. Clearly that plan fell through, because today, an interview with Vallee had with Journal de Quebec a few months back has been made a lot more public, reporting that he is now going to direct the film.
Cue *excitement* (this is a pretty accurate depiction of my reaction).
I’ve become a massive fan of Vallee this year, and when I heard this, I jumped for joy that:
a. He’s landed another project, and
b. It’s THIS particular project.
He is the perfect director for the film. When he is given anything to do with music in any way and is allowed to let his unmatched style run free (including editing), his films become wild, sweeping, exuberant masterclasses in I-don’t-even-know-what, oozing with passion and vibrance. An excellent interview with The Playlist today in fact commented on his excellent use of music in his work, making an incredible accurate comment:
After seeing his eight features and speaking to him only briefly, one gets the sense that if director Jean–Marc Vallée gathered $100 million for a tentpole project, $90 million of it would go toward getting the most extravagant soundtrack in history. The filmmaker traffics his character-driven narratives in fluid ideas of music and memory, but none so expertly and audaciously than in his latest film “Wild,” which stars Reese Witherspoon as an American woman who seeks spiritual relief by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.
(Interested to see if Wild can top Cafe de Flore in terms of music use)
Vallee talks about the role of music, mostly diegetic, in his work:
I don’t use original music or a composer, only source music. When I’m rewriting a script I make a playlist for each character — what they’re listening to, where they are listening to it, and how it could be used. I don’t want it to be just a track playing over action just to be a cool track; it has to be part of the story. The characters have to hear the music.
(I think I need to print out this interview)
Additionally, he knows how to direct actors (Amy, start preparing that speech).While Daniels is known to just be a terrific director for actors, Vallee is the whole package, one of the most distinctive and reliable talents working today. He’s a director I could talk all day about, and I hope this allows him to have his signature sensibilities out in full force. But, for now, enjoy some clips from his films, and if you haven’t seen his films, get on that, right now. Containing expectations and excitement for this one is going to be difficult.