Dee Rees Was Inspired By 70s New Hollywood for The Last Thing He Wanted | Netflix

Dee Rees Was Inspired By 70s New Hollywood for The Last Thing He Wanted | Netflix


We wanted the film to have
that kind of ’70s sensibility, even though
it was set in the ’80s. So it just has this
kind of warmth to it, it has this kind of grain, it has this kind of like,
breathing kind of feel. The film, in terms of
cultural inspiration, comes directly from
Joan Didion’s work. I am in love with her fiction. I just love, kinda like
the machine gun clarity of her prose, and
so I wanted to kind of create a film
that moved at the momentum
of her sentences, and that informed
the camera language. The opening of this film is
a couple of continuous shots. So you feel like you’re in the
zeitgeist of Elena McMahon, and you’re in this kind
of pressure cooker world. The thing I loved
about the book was this father-daughter love
story at the center of it. So it’s really about
Dick and Elena McMahon, and the things we
do for our fathers, or the things we
sometimes do out of guilt. And so, in Elena, I saw this
woman who’s desperately trying not to repeat a cycle. So with Dick, there’s been some neglect,
some abandonment but they’re so loving. And Elena, in some ways,
is maybe repeating that with her own daughter, Cat. And so, I like this
idea of her going back, trying to save him, in
a way, and she can’t. She’s kinda in over her head. For this film, Anne Hathaway,
I wanted to transform her. And she was
completely game. Elena needed to
be sun-beaten, ya know, so I needed to
almost invert her, to where her skin was darker
and her hair was lighter, and she was
a little bit heavier. So she gained weight for
me, and did the whole thing. And the same
thing with Ben. I needed a slick diplomat. I needed somebody who
was coolly attractive. And so, he
kinda exuded that. And Rosie Perez, I needed someone who
was like nimble and wise, and who exuded a kind of
bohemian kind of charm. Our cinematographer,
Bobby Bukowski, and I looked at a lotta the old
Kodak Kodachrome film, that had the kinda
like warmed-up greens. We just wanted it to have
that kinda like analog feel. Also, we looked at Salvador,
Panic in Needle Park, Nashville, Robert
Altman’s, I love that, how there’s this kind of
cacophony at all times. Things that kind
of draw your eye, draw your attention, that
you can’t necessarily see, that are beyond the frame. So it feels like this world
is bigger than the frame. We found some locations
that were extraordinary. To me, I’m always informed
by the environments, and so, Inbal Weinberg who’s
our production designer, and so she actually
went out and scouted, and found this
kinda wild beauty, and found locations
that looked like they walked outta the book. I’m trying to make a movie
that I, myself wanna see. And so, for this, I wanted
to do a big action send-up, something that my
dad would like. So it’s like that kinda thing. But generally, I just
like to tell stories that I wanna hear. For me, it’s not
about a genre. It’s just about
interesting characters, and I’m always slipping in
my own kind of like ideas. It’s just kind of
tucked in there. So I like just telling stories where I can ya know,
slip something in, and that are exciting for me.

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