Video Interview: Quebecois Actor & Director Xavier Dolan Lets Loose
by Alex Billington
September 24, 2014
Meet Xavier Dolan from Quebec, Canada. He's currently 25 years old with five films under his belt, four of them premiering at the Cannes Film Festival. I've been following Xavier closely since catching Heartbeats, his second film, at Cannes back in 2010. At Cannes this year he premiered Mommy, an exhilarating story of a mother and her troubled son and the relationship they strike up with their neighbor (watch the trailer that we're quoted in here). I loved the film, one of my favorites this year, and have been looking forward to meeting Xavier. What would he be like in person? Could I get honest answers out of him? (The answer: yes.) He lets loose in this two-part 20 min chat about making movies, his cinematic style, and career as an actor.
I'm so happy I was able to meet up with Xavier and chat about his films, as I have been a fan for years. He's a unique filmmaker, who makes very fresh contemporary features that have earned acclaim and accolades all over the world. I wanted to cover a variety of topics in our talk, from his own interests and inspirations to his filmmaking choices, and I hope the complete interview is as interesting to watch as his films. We've split this interview (spoiler free!) into two parts since it's so long and each portion is just as interesting. Enjoy!
Editor's Note: Apologies for the background noise as we recorded inside a restaurant in downtown Telluride during the film festival. During Part 1, Xavier also gets up and leaves suddenly to go talk to the Dardenne Brothers, but returns quickly to finish the interview (it was a funky moment worth including in the video).
Video interview with actor, writer & director Xavier Dolan – Part 1, recorded on Flipcam in Telluride:
Timeline of questions: PART 1 – 0:00 - How extensive / how big of a movie fan are you really? 0:50 - So does your limited background in film shape you? Or is it freeing? 1:56 - Where does your style come from? 5:12 - How do you make your music choices? 7:42 - What is your shooting technique while on set? 10:20 - How do you decide if you want to star in the film? 11:10 - Which side do you like more: acting or directing?
Video interview with actor, writer & director Xavier Dolan – Part 2, recorded on Flipcam in Telluride:
Timeline of questions: PART 2 – 0:00 - So, is your plan to do more acting in the future? 0:22 - [Xavier asks me:] What do you like the most about Mommy? 5:30 - How do you not let all this success get to your head at this point? 10:50 - Will you ever slow down, or take a break from filmmaking/acting? 11:50 - What is next for you? In the first part of the interview he references photography by Nan Goldin (on Wikipedia). Xavier's full filmography includes I Killed My Mother, Heartbeats, Laurence Anyways, Tom at the Farm.
From my very glowing review of Mommy after its premiere at Cannes 2014: "This film blew me away. It took my breath away, made my heart beat faster, made me happy, made me sad, made me excited, and made me love movies even more. It's everything I want out of cinema, delivered in a gorgeous package, with a kick-ass soundtrack." It's an outstanding film and I hope everyone gets a chance to experience and enjoy it. Thank you to Roadside Attractions for arranging the interview, and thank you to Xavier for his time and openness.
Xavier Dolan's Mommy arrives in theaters later this year, but an exact date has not been set yet. Roadside Attractions will distribute - follow them @roadsidetweets. Mommy premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and played at Karlovy Vary, Sydney, Telluride, Toronto, Rio de Janeiro, more on the way. See this as soon as possible, or catch up on Dolan's films, including I Killed My Mother, Laurence Anyways, Tom at the Farm.