Director Whit Stillman discusses 'Damsels in Distress' starring Minnesotan Analeigh Tipton
|Violet (Greta Gerwig) and Lily (Analeigh Tipton) in Damsels in Distress|
It was this idea that lead to the film Damsels in Distress, written, directed, and produced by Stillman. In it, students Violet (Greta Gerwig), Rose (Megalyn Echikunwoke), and Heather (Carrie MacLemore) are the well-dressed, perfume wearing girls who set out improve life at Seven Oaks College. They befriend Lily, played by Minnesotan Analeigh Tipton, and involve her in their program to help depressed students. Their mission is to improve hygiene in the male dorms and to create a new dance craze.
|Director Whit Stillman|
As the girls deal with broken hearts and compromised friendships, one finds herself on the verge of a mental breakdown.
Coming back from a 14-year break in directing, Stillman says that Damsels in Distress differs from his previous work (Metropolitan, Barcelona, The Last Days of Disco).
"With the other films, we wanted to get funny material with some insight. Not necessarily true insights, but insights -- whether false or true," Stillman says. "We wanted it to be funny and entertaining, yet we wanted it to seem like the actual world. With this film, we didn't care about representing real things. We decided we were just going to do the stuff that amused us."
|Violet (Greta Gerwig) with Charlie (Adam Brody)|
"It's crucial to the film to get people who add something to the script, and who make it better and funnier," he says. "I've seen that in this film more than in any other."
Analeigh Tipton, who was born in Minnesota, was an easy choice for the film, and was considered for several roles before Stillman settled on Lily.
"She's very real on camera," he says. "She's sort of effortless. She also has a manner that is interesting and charming. Her way of doing things is likeable and intriguing."
Working with Tipton and the rest of the cast was fun for Stillman, and he hopes that his next
undertaking lives up to Damsels in Distress.
|Rose (Megalyn Echikunwoke), Heather (Carrie MacLemore), Violet (Greta Gerwig), and Lily (Analeigh Tipton)|
Stillman hopes that people enjoy the film, and leave the theater feeling happy, cheerful, eager to dance the sambola (the film will teach you the moves), and with a different view on social life.
"Damsels sort of gives people an alternate path; an alternate cool," he says. "There are different ways for people to have a great life and to do cool things. They don't have to be trapped by contemporary misery."
Damsels in Distress opens at the Landmark Lagoon Cinema on Friday, April 20.