Interview: French Writer/Director Michel Hazanavicius of 'The Artist'
by Alex Billington
September 11, 2011
It may seem a bit odd that a B&W silent film titled The Artist (one of my favorite films of the year) about Hollywood's silent film era was actually written & directed by a French filmmaker. Not only that, but it stars two incredible French actors - Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo. After seeing the film, initially at the Cannes Film Festival and again at the Telluride Film Festival, I've come to recognize it's a story where the language (including the filmmaker's) doesn't matter, and that's part of its brilliance. I met writer & director Michel Hazanavicius in Telluride to ask him nearly everything I could about making one of my favorites of 2011.
If you haven't taken an interest in The Artist yet, I highly suggest you do. Watch the official US trailer here and catch it in theaters starting later this November/December, being released by The Weinstein Company.
Watch my full video interview with The Artist writer & director Michel Hazanavicius:
This was filmed outside in Telluride, one of the most beautiful film festivals in the world, on my Flipcam. There's a point where the wind picks up, so I did my best to process the audio and clean it up so you could hear him better. As I've said many, many times before, I loved The Artist and even saw it a second time so I was fresh with questions. I wanted to ask Michel about the original idea, how he even conceived of creating a black & white silent film in this modern era, how it all came together, and the challenges of shooting a film without any dialogue, yet conveying emotions and telling a wonderful story. Michel did a fantastic job of answering everything I had to ask and the interview turned out great in the end - I hope you enjoy watching!
When I refer to Penelope a few times, it's Penelope Ann Miller, who appears in the film, but was also in Telluride. I spoke with her a few times during the fest about working on this. The Weinstein Company will be releasing The Artist in limited theaters starting November 23rd, Thanksgiving week, this fall. Go see it!