Nicole Holofcener, Part 2


On baby corpses, redundant volunteering, mammograms, and George Romero.

PK: Your next film [an adaptation of Laura Lippman's crime novel "Every Secret Thing"] is a departure. It's about eleven-year-old killers.

NH: Yeah these two girls that kidnap a baby. It's psychologically complicated. Which is why I like it. Why they're so fucked up, screwed up, and what lead them to get to this point. But it's a suspense story, because a baby was taken. It's not gory. I wouldn't want to do that. It's hard enough to deal with a baby corpse.

PK: So there's no baby corpse.

NH: There's no baby corpse. It's off screen. It's hideous enough. You know, being a mother. But what I like about it is the characters and the complexity of their problems and their motivations. It will be a challenge, but hopefully a bigger budget.

PK: Eleven-year-old killers like Hit Girl [in "Kick-Ass"].

NH: Oh God. I haven't even seen it and I don't approve of it. Some people love it. I don't know; it looks really damaging.

PK: I was one of those people who liked it. It's a black comedy.

NH: Doesn't it devalue human life?

PK: Yeah, that's part of the humor.

NH: I know that like "Pulp Fiction" devalues human life, but it was such a brilliant movie, I laughed all the way through it.'

PK: Do you have any favorite movies that have been out lately?

NH: "A Serious Man," the Coen Brothers movie. How could you feel bland about that movie? I saw "Greenberg." I saw "Date Night" with my kids. I liked "The Messenger."

PK: How did you feel about "The Hurt Locker" winning?

NH: I was really happy about it. It's an embarrassment that it's the first time. It's crazy. It's a very particular movie, a very macho movie, and it doesn't even seem like a low budget movie. I hope it's not an anomaly. But things don't change overnight. I mean, Obama was elected but now everybody hates him.

PK: Were you active politically when he was campaigning?

NH: A little bit. I went to Nevada. Las Vegas. I don't know if it did any good, but a friend of mine and I knocked on people's doors to make sure they would vote. It was surreal, in these really bad neighborhoods these two white ladies walking up to black people's doors and trying to get them to vote. It was worth it just for that insane experience. I just felt like, if he lost, I couldn't live with myself for not having tried. Again, it's about me (laughs).

 So often I volunteer where I'm not needed. The last place I volunteered was a day care center in Santa Monica. These poor families brought their kids there. But there were five white ladies there with nothing to do. I was like, this is great, but I want to do something I'm needed for. Right now I'm too busy to have a commitment. But I would like to have a commitment again.

PK: It seems like the studio was more into "Please Give" than previous releases.

NH: I think so, I mean they released "Friends With Money" on Sony Pictures Classics. This one's getting a lot of publicity. I mean Jennifer Aniston


got more publicity than I've ever had. But this one seems to be a bit bigger, or better received, or more out there.

PK: What sort of release is it getting?

NH: I'm not sure. I'm not there. I want to hide in the bathroom and hear people talk about it.

PK: Do you check reviews?

NH: Yeah. I'm gonna start not. There's so many critics now. There used to be just 5 or 6 papers. But now online like are like 500 every hour. And they're just douche bags for the most part. The negative ones. When I read a bad one, I don't usually finish it.

PK: A lot of your material is also taken from real life. It must be very personal when people criticize.

NH: Very much so. I want to write them back and say "No no no no. I know who this person is, and they did it for this reason. You don't know what you're saying." I don't mind when they say if characters are unlikable, because I know sometimes I'm unlikable. And that's okay. Basically if they don't like it my mother says they don't understand it. It's possible they could understand it and not like it.

PK: What was your reason for the opening montage?

NH: I want everyone to get mammograms when they turn 40. That's my strategy.

PK: That true?

NH: No. I mean, of course everybody should, but that's not my motivation. I guess I like to shock. It's not like I sat down and thought "what shocking thing can I put under my titles?" I just was writing about the character who gave mammograms. And then I thought, "oh, let's just show a bunch of boobs under the credits. Wouldn't that be funny?" I thought maybe that would be offensive. But then I found that song ["No Shoes" by the Roches] , and I was so excited, because I thought it was so perfect. And then we put it in and it seemed to work. I was very, not so much concerned but curious to see how people would respond. You know, am I doing myself a disservice. People already call my movies chick flicks. Am I just digging my own grave? But that hasn't been the case. I seem to be educating a lot of men on mammograms.

PK: I guess it's even more brutal than that.

NH: Yeah we didn't squish. See, if I was a dude, I would have squished, because I would have said "keep it going, keep it going."

PK: Who were they?

NH: They're extras. And they get a nudity bump. And they sign that they're not gonna show they're faces.

PK: I had no idea it was so organized. When you started making movies, I heard that you were inspired  by people like Steven Soderbergh.

NH: Yeah, and Jim Jarmusch. And I remember seeing like  Aki Kaurismäki movies. Such dry humor. They made me feel like I could do it. What's your next interview?

PK: George Romero. You're kind of like a female George Romero.

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