Director and actor share inspiration for film
I recently had the opportunity to interview director Sofia Coppola (Marie Antoinette) and actor Stephen Dorff (Blade) for their new film “Somewhere,” which opens Dec. 22nd. The film is about a Hollywood bad-boy, who has a sobering experience when his 11-year-old daughter, played by Elle Fanning, suddenly comes to live with him. During the roundtable interview at The St. Regis, Coppola and Dorff were casually dressed; Coppola Parisian chic in jeans and a striped tee, while Dorff sported a lumberjack look in jeans, flannel shirt, and t-shirt. Coppola (above) shares what she hopes viewers take away from the film, and Dorff (below) spoke candidly about his personal connection to the film.
It almost felt like a savior, this movie, because I felt like it helped me … I was real empty inside so this was an incredible thing that made me smile. – Stephen Dorff
Mignon Gould: You make the character likable even though he has a lot of issues. Was there a strategy to develop the character?
Mignon Gould: I read somewhere that this role had sentiment for you because you landed it a year to the day of your mom passing. Were you able to draw on that for some of the more emotional scenes?
More from the press tour
Reporter: Obviously you guys are doing these interviews back-to-back. Is that something you can get use to or do you see it as part of the job to do roundtables and press junkets?
Sofia Coppola: Our movie is coming out so I am happy to get the word out, to talk about it, and hopefully get some inetrest.
Stephen Dorff: Yeah, it’s pretty much part of the job. It makes it a lot more exciting to do it when you have a really good movie to talk about (laughs). I’ve had nothing but a kind of genuine feeling from the press for this film, in Venice, Paris, and now America — so far so good.
Reporter: Is there more authenticity or maybe is it even more fun to shoot and set your Reporter: movie in Hollywood and have a movie about actors?
Coppola: For me the movie could be [about] any profession. It’s not so much about him working as an actor. I just set it in that world because it is entertaining and also it’s a world that is familiar to me and I try to write about something I feel like I know enough about. But I feel like the themes are universal that anyone could relate to the journey he is on and the relationship.
Reporter: Did you base Johnny on anyone?
Coppola: Oh, a lot of people (laughs). I’ve met a lot of actors who have lived at the Chateau Marmont and he’s lived there (gestures to Dorff). It was a combination of people I’ve met and stories I’ve heard, kind of all put together.
Reporter: Since the part is really reflective with less dialogue and more watching him [the character]. Do you find that harder than a film with more dialogue?
Dorff: I found this movie to be the most challenging as an actor I’ve ever had. In most movies, things are over-said there’s a lot of words, there are explosions going around … I found that this is the most naked, the most raw. There’s a behavioral part, it’s about finishing a kind of unconscious space where if I acted any bit where it felt like I was acting, I just think it wouldn’t have worked and I think it would have unraveled what Sofia was trying to do.
Reporter: How do your movies reflect your own journey as a director and a person starting from the very beginning until now?
Coppola: I don’t know, I just write about or make films about, the things that are on my mind. I try and be intuitive, analyze why I am interested in something … I feel like I learn something every time and hopefully I grow with each one.