“I want my victories to be flawless.” - Floyd Mayweather
In the latest issue of Interview Magazine, Keira Knightley sits down to give one of her first interviews on taking on the role of Anna Karenina for Pride and Prejudice director Joe Wright. Conducting the interview is David Cronenberg, Knightley’s director for last year’s psychoanalytic drama A Dangerous Method. Check out an excerpt below.
CRONENBERG: So was this version of Anna Karenina done in a big epic way?
KNIGHTLEY: It is sort of done in an epic way, but it was pretty much all done on one set, so it’s also a very stylized, deeply theatrical kind of piece. It was the opposite of A Dangerous Method in some ways, I think, with a million different shots and, you know, there’s just a completely different vibe. Sabina and Anna are not similar, but there is this similar idea of the mind turning against the person, which seems to be a theme in what I’m doing at the moment. But the actual way of making Anna Karenina was completely different from how we made A Dangerous Method.
CRONENBERG: Did you look at any of the other adaptations of Anna Karenina that have been done?
KNIGHTLEY: I saw a couple of versions ages ago. I’ve seen the one that was on TV in England with Helen McCrory playing Anna, and she’s wonderful. I also saw the Greta Garbo version, but years and years ago. I didn’t want to see it again just before I played the part because I thought if I did something similar that I would want it to be an accident, not because I’ve nicked it. But it’s a very strange book, that one … I don’t quite understand what Tolstoy’s actual personal view of Anna is—whether he likes her or hates her, whether she’s the heroine or the antiheroine. There are moments where he seems to despise her, and it’s actually a book about a woman who is in some ways despicable, so playing it without trying to make it too nice or without trying to simplify it is actually kind of tricky. I think if it just turns into a romance that it’s not as interesting as the actual story.
CRONENBERG: One could say, “Well, why does it matter what Tolstoy’s point of view was?” But in a way, Tolstoy is the director of the book and Anna is the actress. I’ve been writing a novel myself. I started off my young career thinking I would be a novelist.
KNIGHTLEY: I didn’t know that.
CRONENBERG: Yeah. The weird thing is that I find it very much like directing. You’re casting it, you’re dressing everyone, you’re lighting it, you’re finding the locations, you’re figuring out what food they’re eating. So thinking of Tolstoy as the director of his novel and you, the actress, trying to figure out what his attitude is to you. Does Joe Wright then become Tolstoy to you?
KNIGHTLEY: [laughs] Yeah, of course. I think the main thing in trying to do an adaptation of a book this size is determining what point Tolstoy was trying to make with this character. What purpose does this character have? Is the character meant to be seen in a good light or in a bad light? Is there any way we can combine the good and the bad within this person, because that’s going to be more interesting? I think we were constantly questioning things in that way. So, yes, I suppose Joe did become a kind of a Tolstoy character.
I’ve never seen an issue of Facade, but from what I hear, it was the Parisian Interview for a short time. Launched in 1976, Charlotte Rampling, Jack Nicholson, and Gerard Depardieu graced just a few of the iconic covers. A truly amazing fact I’ve discovered is that the advertisements were designed by the creative team responsible for the rest of the issue, to ensure consistency. True innovation in that era.
“No censorship, punks alongside girls from good families… Karl Lagerfeld offers ad pages full of humor and gives us incredible festivals… Hedwig is both the queen of punk, queen of the night, and cover girl… Christian Louboutin made his first steps in the basement of the Palace containing the sublime and amazing Eva Ionesco that inspired Jeremy Scott 20 years later… Everyone admits that the freak is chic and the question arises: Are We Not Men? We Are Devo! Andy Warhol in Paris, Alain Pacadis too, we all have our fifteen minutes of fame, if only as a last page facade.” - Michel Gaubert - Paris-based DJ, Sound Designer
The magazine was created by Alain Benoist et Jean-Luc Maitre, who wanted to make a magazine about their friends, à la Interview.
- Lauren Taylor
Dear Opening Ceremony, If your blog was on Tumblr we would have certainly re-blogged this post. Thank you for conducting this wonderful interview.
We can’t say we’ve been champions of Richardson since the beginning - it was glossy, it was big, and we weren’t all too sure how it differed from other hip porn-esque magazines - but we’re starting to catch on and we like what we see! Fabulous interview with the creator below.
Alexandre Stipanovich: I’ve read that you were strongly affected by Richard Prince’s 1983 painting of Brooke Shields as a nude ten year old. Is it the reason you started a magazine dedicated to sexiness? Andrew Richardson: No, it wasn’t. It was just something that I saw when I was 23 in the Guggenheim or the Whitney and that made a big impression on me. It was one of those things that was a “wow” moment for me. When I came to do the magazine, Richard Prince was kind enough to let us use it in the first issue.
AS: So how did the magazine come about? AR: Fumihiro “Charlie Brown” Harashi, a guy from Tokyo who just died recently, had the idea to do the magazine. He published a magazine called Dune, and he was very open to publishing the editorials I worked on with people like Terry Richardson or Mario Sorrenti that were too sexually provocative for a lot of American and European magazines. I was into sex in fashion and so were the photographers I was working with. Igon Schiller talked about the “erotic attack,” and I was interested in processing sex through the editorial at the time. So Charlie saw some scrapbooks that I had made over the years and said, “I think it’d be interesting to see what kind of porn magazine you would make.” And that’s really how it started.
AS: Do you think sex practices are part of a quest for identity, or are they more of a fun release? AR: Probably both of those things.
AS: And by documenting taboo sex practices, are you actually sublimating them or are you just curious about them? AR: I’m interested in understanding something that I couldn’t get into myself. I suppose my interests have more to do with provocation and shock than the normalcy of the human sexual condition that, processed through social taboos, becomes extraordinary. And I’m interested in looking at it in a more measured way, and trying to see what it is beyond the initial taboo reaction. I’m interested in beauty, lust, and elevated feelings of the high of sex and the high of love.
AS: Would you describe Richardson as the new Playboy? AR: I wouldn’t. I think that Playboy was a very interesting moment in history in that you had a repressed 50s America, with lots of racial and sexual segregation. Making a magazine that featured erotica and black culture - which at the time were taboo and very cool - was the logical thing to do for someone like Hugh Hefner, who was into sex, jazz, and black culture. The thing I really liked about Playboy was the quality of its writers - the magazine was a powerful voice. But I wouldn’t say that we’re really like a Playboy.
AS: Do you think the definition of sexiness has evolved much since the time of Playboy? AR: Yeah, I think that the prevalence of pornography on the Internet is one of the things that really changed the idea of sexiness. The only real sex education a lot of people now are getting is through watching pornography. So there’s this psychological thing that’s happening where people are enjoying positions that really aren’t particularly more gratifying, but that are just used in pornography to get a better camera angle. And psychologically, they’re becoming preferred. So sex practice is affected by the phenomenon of pornography. And pornography in the last ten years is so much more prevalent than it ever was. Or access to it has become so much more prevalent.
AS: With Richardson, it seems that the experience of reading about sexuality puts you in a mental state of desire, contemplation, and stimulation that I think is more interesting than experiencing sexuality. It’s more of a fantasy. AR: Yeah it’s very funny. When you make something, it’s hard to be subjective about it. I make the magazine that I make, but I don’t really analyze it. I just do it. I definitely think I’m more interested in metaphorically stopping in the middle of some sex action or thought, and analyzing where it’s coming from, rather than being fully lost in the moment. I’m more interested in looking into the room rather than entering the room. But the magazine has to do with my curiosity about what being turned on is all about.
AS: I think that comes across - the magazine is more voyeuristic than based on experiences, sexually speaking. AR: I try to make a magazine that is interesting around a theme. The issue A4, for example, was all about pro-sex feminism. After that, we did the following issue on misogyny - what feminists call the “male gaze,” or the way that men look at women or men. The male condition. But nothing is ever complete. I don’t pretend to propose a complete thesis on anything. It’s just a vague, random, connected thing that we try to put out.
AS: But this is also why it seems that anyone can connect to your magazine. It’s not a magazine by connoisseurs for connoisseurs. There’s a strong artistic component. And your issue launch parties resemble art openings too. AR: They do. This time, we actually took the art from the magazine and put it on the wall and did an art show.
AS: How do you choose the artists you feature? AR: Most of what is in the magazine starts with an idea - maybe four or five key pieces of work that I’m interested in. And then I have a really great network of friends, so I have conversations with say, Michelle Maccarone or Terry Richardson or Jenny Saville, a British painter who always has a rigorous take on things. So you see who’s willing to be involved and how, because we don’t have a great deal of money so we can’t commission. It would be a very different magazine if we had a lot of money.
AS: If you had a lot of money, what would you do? Open a Richardson mansion or something? AR: I’ve made jokes about owning a Learjet but I think the magazine would be very different and probably not that good if we had a lot of money. What’s good about it is the struggle that you go through. It’s a real emotional rollercoaster putting out a magazine. Especially if it’s about sex. Normally when I close the issue I have this moment of “Oh, man! Is it good enough?” Also if you’ve been sitting with work for a long time, it doesn’t mean the same thing to you as it did when you first saw it. It’s like listening to a compilation of all your favorite songs to death. And when you have to present that to the world, and you’re already sick of it.
- Lauren Taylor
This post originally appeared on the Opening Ceremony blog.
The most current issue of V Magazine which you’ll find gracing newsstands (the Sports Issue) follows their last “Model Issue”. As you can imagine the issue’s aren’t that different - except this month they’ve thrown a few more weights and a lot more baby oil into the equation. Poor Stephanie Seymour seems to have got the bad end of this deal - her scuba wear themed shoot not being one of her career highs.
One of the highlights of the issue comes courtesy of Adriana Lima and Doutzen Kroes going at it Gladiator style.
Earlier this month we got you a sneak peak of Kristen Wiig’s interview with Katy Perry for Interview Magazine, now Check out this great behind the scenes video of Katy Perry’s accompanying cover shoot with Mikael Jansson channelling burlesque and Elizabeth Taylor.