Cannes 2009: RT Chats to Ang Lee and team Taking Woodstock

We take up our invite for lunch with Lee, James Schamus and their cast.

by | May 17, 2009 | Comments

It’s not every day you get to have lunch with Ang Lee, so when RT were invited to do just that today in Cannes we couldn’t refuse. Also joining us, James Schamus, Demetri Martin, Emile Hirsch and Imelda Staunton, and over a three-course meal at the Carlton Hotel on the Croisette we talked cinema, music and, of course, Woodstock.

Lee’s latest film, Taking Woodstock, which premiered last night at the festival, is the tale of Elliot Tibor, the man with the permit that made Woodstock happen, and of his experience of the event while coming to terms with his own identity. It’s humorous and deals with real issues at the same time and, after a string of drama, Lee told RT that he intentionally leaned towards doing something much lighter.

Cannes 2009 - Tony Barson/WireImage.com
Hirsch, Martin, Lee and Staunton at their Photocall yesterday.

“It wasn’t only a conscious decision it was an active commitment,” he told us. “For me it’s a learning curve, and as it turns out it’s not just about going back to my older movies, it’s about embracing that I’m older, I’ve been through the mid-life crisis. You know, I’ve done my martial arts film and what have you. And I just did a terribly heavy movie, Lust, Caution, which I’m proud of. It’s a learning process to relax and enjoy a simple joy of making movies and to admit it. It’s quite practiced — it’s like a Zen meditation in that it looks easy on the surface but you make a great effort to do it.”

Demetri Martin takes centre stage in the film in his first lead role, and he explained to RT how apprehensive he was to begin with. “I think there was a mix for me of curiosity, anxiety and then enjoyment,” he said. “At first I was curious as to why Ang wanted me in the movie and then I was curious – could I be believable enough that this’ll work? Then I started to have fun — it was an enjoyable challenge.”

Cannes 2009
Martin (centre) trips on Acid with Paul Dano (right).

Playing Elliot’s mother, a stern woman with an unusual appetite for making money and a cold, difficult personality, is Imelda Staunton, who explained the difficulties in making sure she didn’t become push too far. “She’s a bit of a monster, really, God love her,” she laughed. “It was a bit of a challenge – mentally emotionally and physically – and that always interests me. I had to go for it really. You have this real woman to start from and you have to bring her to life. I do a lot of thinking about it before I start and understanding the fight she faces.”

Hirsch plays an unusual role in the film — a Vietnam veteran only just returned from the conflict. He explained his process for relating to that having not been alive at the time, and how he got a modern understanding of his character. “I did talk to several Vietnam veterans,” he told RT. “But I also talked to Iraq veterans and one guy in particular — we went to a shooting range and he taught me how to fire a lot of different types of guns.”

Taking Woodstock is released in the US on 14th August and in the UK on 30th October, and we’ll have more from our conversations with Lee, Schamus, Martin, Hirsch and Staunton very soon.

Tag Cloud

2020 space Pirates Sundance Now Music Tarantino rotten movies we love Summer Disney Plus Amazon Baby Yoda TCA Winter 2020 Disney Comics on TV Comedy Central CBS toy story Discovery Channel Tubi vampires golden globes Martial Arts Nickelodeon Fall TV historical drama Starz binge Apple Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt romance Amazon Prime Anna Paquin medical drama dc comics 007 Holidays spanish language zombies YouTube MTV elevated horror psycho composers Film Toys SundanceTV docudrama Reality Hallmark 2018 YouTube Premium hist crime Mary poppins werewolf festivals reboot ratings DGA Comic Book Disney streaming service ghosts casting Quiz Arrowverse A&E Universal latino Warner Bros. miniseries Disney+ Disney Plus San Diego Comic-Con First Reviews documentary Adult Swim award winner cops Turner Classic Movies Lifetime anthology Masterpiece period drama Star Wars Cartoon Network Ovation Box Office TNT ITV Britbox CW Seed Mudbound History El Rey MSNBC See It Skip It streaming Cosplay Brie Larson sequel PaleyFest Trophy Talk GIFs Election aliens foreign Premiere Dates TCA children's TV Family transformers RT History sag awards E3 TIFF Spectrum Originals revenge 24 frames FX ABC Family Pixar Fox News DC Universe NYCC National Geographic Marathons justice league spinoff Red Carpet robots FOX politics YouTube Red Podcast The Walking Dead psychological thriller blaxploitation 2019 Epix supernatural Fantasy The Purge E! ABC canceled Hallmark Christmas movies Photos based on movie TLC Vudu Reality Competition cats Character Guide Country Awards Tour New York Comic Con Infographic YA cinemax Walt Disney Pictures Superheroe Year in Review doctor who directors Winter TV comiccon hispanic DC streaming service IFC Films Teen Animation Marvel Television Showtime Mary Tyler Moore Comedy science fiction Musical Kids & Family game show Cannes 20th Century Fox NBC GoT The CW Thanksgiving richard e. Grant MCU true crime romantic comedy BBC Dark Horse Comics Extras renewed TV shows adventure Acorn TV Ghostbusters mockumentary disaster President war cooking The Arrangement Marvel Studios south america Interview LGBT boxoffice APB breaking bad Song of Ice and Fire Crackle Emmys adaptation Columbia Pictures Food Network Action Stephen King WGN Chernobyl Freeform crossover Sundance Logo political drama 21st Century Fox slashers Trivia Certified Fresh nature spy thriller The Witch OWN Best and Worst witnail teaser Mystery Endgame cancelled TV shows Hulu strong female leads finale Emmy Nominations Countdown Paramount Network thriller HBO Max cancelled TV series series sports Polls and Games Pet Sematary screen actors guild First Look game of thrones Black Mirror Rock CMT PBS Schedule Super Bowl canceled TV shows BET Shudder Crunchyroll Amazon Prime Video comic Christmas TV Calendar TruTV Women's History Month diversity Awards Ellie Kemper IFC video SXSW Winners Chilling Adventures of Sabrina TV Land Netflix Christmas movies TV renewals Lucasfilm serial killer Paramount Sneak Peek Academy Awards Binge Guide halloween Film Festival Mary Poppins Returns cars dceu spider-man joker Rom-Com Holiday Spike cults free movies police drama Western Musicals Marvel Elton John 2017 Rocky FXX 2015 Horror Mindy Kaling Pride Month Classic Film Sony Pictures Star Trek Lifetime Christmas movies what to watch Turner CNN X-Men BBC America mutant Tumblr cancelled Heroines Creative Arts Emmys Valentine's Day 71st Emmy Awards Syfy Set visit blockbuster batman talk show USA Rocketman Netflix Peacock 45 Video Games unscripted Bravo Watching Series facebook Esquire animated VH1 versus CBS All Access Captain marvel HBO VICE spain name the review crime thriller dragons DirecTV stand-up comedy 2016 Sundance TV Apple TV Plus Lionsgate harry potter WarnerMedia anime LGBTQ AMC RT21 cancelled television sitcom Sci-Fi tv talk TCA 2017 jamie lee curtis Oscars Nominations zero dark thirty christmas movies American Society of Cinematographers Pop kids Spring TV SDCC book discovery biography Nat Geo social media Opinion Shondaland singing competition Tomatazos GLAAD television ESPN quibi Biopics A24 theme song Television Academy natural history Apple TV+ TBS Grammys travel dramedy USA Network Superheroes indie TCM technology Trailer green book Avengers zombie cartoon crime drama screenings movies Writers Guild of America OneApp Disney Channel DC Comics Drama independent