By Tracy Barrientos
Recently I got the chance to speak with Director Kimberly Peirce about her new film “Carrie”. This is a non spoiler related interview, check back later as we may include a few of the spoilers after the film opens.
How does it feel to have the honor of retelling one of Stephen King’s most iconic stories?
– It’s amazing and you used the right word…it’s an honor. I am a huge Stephen King fan. I was in a book club so I read the book as a kid, I was a literature student at the University of Chicago so I read it in college and of coarse I re-read it when they came to me to do the movie and I was just blown away at what an amazing story teller he is, it’s a classic tale, it’s incredibly timely to its era but it’s also timeless and more relevant today than it was then. The thing that blew me away when I went back to it was that I love a good central protagonist, I had that in Boys Don’t Cry and Stop Loss and it’s what I love about movies. I love Carrie White. I love that she is this misfit she is an outcast and she wants love and acceptance which is what we all want and she is up against huge obstacles to getting it. Certainly the girls at her school don’t want her to have it and at home her mother loves her but is constantly feuding with her because her mother thinks she is the seed of sin. That she represents the mothers sin of having sex and enjoying it and so they are locked in a love affair in a feud from the very beginning in this new scene that I added and that escalates all the way through and then I amplified the climax so that’s even stronger. The other thing that King gives you which is extraordinary is that at the end of the day it’s a super hero origins story. Carrie discovers she has super powers. Those super powers make life which is largely intolerable and painful…acceptable.
What qualities made Chloe ideal for the role?
– I am very much a structuralist so I breakdown you needed to fall in love with Carrie White, you needed to want to adopt her, you needed to want to take her in your arms. The movie didn’t work unless you loved her. Chloe has the ability to love her I mean I wanted to adopt her. It’s an amazing thing that she has that ability on Fillmore to cause you to feel that way. If you look at her films like Let Me In she’s odd and dark and strange, in Hugo she is beguiling and Kick Ass. So it really is testament to her that once we found what made the character tick that she could bring that to life.
How many times did it take to film the bloody prom scene?
– Twice. I was actually told I could only do it once. The reason being, the cleanup on that was huge. One, it’s a whole rig. Two, it’s going to fall and splatter all over the stage because it’s a wide shot. Three, if it hits her and it’s on her, she is a minor and so I could only do it once in a day because the cleanup was so big because I would loose three hours on her cleanup. They said if you can do it in one that’s great so I said well how many cameras can I get? They said well two so I said well…get me three. So I got three and I put them at all the best angles. I would’ve gotten more but I couldn’t. The first time I was a nervous wreck because I didn’t think it was going to work but then it hit perfectly.
What scene was your favorite to film other than the prom scene?
-I would say that I love the sequence when Carrie comes home. She’s got blood all over her and she’s crying momma, momma, momma. I wrote that in because I wanted her to regress to her being that little girl again. I really love the bath scene when she is just looking at her hands and she’s crumbling back to being a vulnerable girl and I feel for her. I almost cried because it’s beautiful and she’s a child. I love when she gets out and she really thinks there is a chance like okay mom and I are clean I’m going to forget about the prom, oh you want to pray? I’ll pray, I’ll get on my knees and prey. She surrenders because she soo desperately wants love and acceptance, I always love to stay on point, that the scene is a continuation of the need that we set in motion from the beginning. I do love their fight though, I amplified that. I wanted that to be as violent as I could make it.
What kind of advice would you give to aspiring directors and or filmmakers?
– Make sure you really love the job. A lot of people think that it’s glamorous and it there are moments when it touches a certain glamor but the bottom line is I think, you have to love character story and you really have to love work and the truth of the matter it’s an obsessive attention to the love of character. I love it so it’s like all hours of the day I think about so take some time and take the right classes. I think if you have talent, it’s not enough I think if you work really hard and study a lot and then you just have to love story, love character and then you can create great things. It’s a great field and business you just have to love work.
What’s your favorite Stephan King movie?
– It’s obvious isn’t it? The Shining, it’s a perfect movie. It’s everything that I also love about this which is amazing main character, even when he’s doing bad I love him. It’s charismatic, I love the house, I love the family drama of it, I love the red, I love the introduction to steady cam. It’s fantastic!