His last film, Rubber, the story of a killer car tyre with psychic powers was a runaway success at Cannes festival and has now earned him a following among cult film fanatics. Recently Quentin returned to the festival circuit with his new film, Wrong. The film loosely centers around a strange young man named Dolph who wakes up to find his best friend in the world, his dog, Paul, has gone missing. In the search to reclaim his lost pet, he leads the audience on a journey through a strange world where all the rules associated with reality are simply tossed out the window.
I had a chance to sit and talk with Quentin about his new film while visiting Sundance this year:
HeyUGuys: Where did you get the idea for Wrong? To me it had the appearance of being just like a dream. It had that kind of reasoning where things just happen and they happen for no reason.
Quentin: Yeah a dream is a good analogy. I’m trying to get the ideas from my subconscious without trying to control them. But then I have to create some kind of logic even if it’s kind of dreamy. You need some kind of logic or else people get bored within 20 minutes. So it’s a mix between random ideas and really precise things.
But there is still sort of a linear story to it.
That’s enough to make people wait til the end to see what happens. Between these random ideas there is of course this week plot of trying to find a dog and discovering what happened. I think that’s enough. My main goal was to put everyone in the audience in a strange position. Suddenly you have to work a little bit. You can watch the movie just for entertainment without trying to think about anything and it’s still fun.
Why is it called Wrong?
It just felt right. It’s quite catchy, and I think it’s a good title. It works with the movie in a way because there are a few beats where you can see “Oh yeah that’s wrong, and that’s wrong”. It’s just a fun title
How did you end up getting into film?
I started when I was very young. I was playing with video cameras at age 15, and I was trying to recreate some scenes of movies I was watching at the time. Then later around age 18 or 20, I needed music for my film so I bought synthesizers and started scoring my short films. Later I discovered Dance music and suddenly I was mamking music without the need for visuals.
How did you get Alexis Dziena on board for this film?
Strangely she did an audition for the movie. I have this great casting director Donna Morong who sent me auditions of random people she chose, and Alexis was one of them. I have been lucky because the other girls were terrible.
She’s really fun to watch because she just sort of captures you’re complete attention.
She’s incredible and she’s not pretending you know? When she moves to Dolph’s place you believe it. She’s the type of person who is really different in real life, and when she’s in front of the camera she becomes a whole different person.
She just becomes the character?
Totally, and I love this because I write and shoot the movies myself, and sometimes because of this, it’s embarrassing if somebody doesn’t get into the role. You end up just hearing this bad version of your dream. I have been so lucky because all my actors were incredible and totally into the roll.
You wrote, directed, edited, scored and did the cinematography for this film. Do you ever feel like you’re doing too much, or do you just need to have full control of your vision?
It’s not about control at all, it’s about pleasure. When we shoot the movie the production company wants me to have a driver take me to the location, and I like to drive so I take my car. It’s the same concept. I love to edit. Editing is the best thing in the world. You have everything done, you’re relaxed, the movies shot, and then you start to edit. It’s just the best part. I’m used to computers because I do music obviously, so editing is just so much fun and so pleasurable. That’s why I do it. Even if somebody else does it for you, you’re just going to be standing behind the guy anyway directing him.
So you’re just cutting out the middle man?
It’s easier and it’s faster. Same for cinematography, same for music. It’s just faster. From the first day that I started writing, to the end of editing, I think it all happened in 9 months, but that’s probably because I did things all myself.
Your films get a mixed reaction for viewers at times. Is it your absurd approach to storytelling that makes your films so challenging?
What movie gets only good reviews, and which movie only gets bad reviews? You put 200 people in theater, 100 people will love it and 100 people hate it. I think it’s part of the process. Probably this one is harder because you have to accept a lot of stupid rules while you watch it. For example, yesterday in Salt Lake City, it was just incredible because everybody just kind of clicked immediately. If you accept these types of rules the movie is easy to enjoy. Then if you’re trying to turn this into what some consider a ‘real movie’, obviously it’s not a good movie because there is no climax, and the story is weak. It’s just a different kind of movie and that’s what I was trying to make. I’m not trying to please everyone, I just wanted to do something a little bit different with different kind of rules. So many people are doing movies and some people are just really good at it with the perfect script, and the perfect visuals, perfect emotion and perfect climax.
That’s not you?
No. Even if I was trying to do that, I would like to be better than the others, which is almost impossible. You can’t beat the masters. It’s better for a guy like me to be creative and to try things, not to be stuck in some kind of structure.
You don’t want try and imitate, you just want to be yourself?
Yeah that’s the point. Take Tarantino for instance. He’s really good and I enjoy his movies, but he’s just making movies from other movies you know? I would love to be able to do that, to be able to shoot Kill Bill just for fun, being inspired by older films, but I’m just not able to do this.
Who is Tahiti Boy? I saw he had a music credit alongside you but I’d never heard of him before.
He’s a young Parisian guy I found randomly. I was giving away some old drum machines on Twitter, and this guy Tahiti Boy comes and I gave him the 808 machine. We had a quick chat and I really loved the feeling of the guy, so I decided without listening to his stuff that he was right for the job. I just felt like he was just perfect, and I was right because he did a great job.
I loved the score you did for the soundtrack but it seems very different from the stuff you produce under Mr. Oizo.
It has to be! When I’m doing dance music it’s always got to have these certain types of drums and be heavy, and this doesn’t work for movies.
Does Bruce Willis know about your song ‘Bruce Willis is Dead’? He’s here at the festival.
[Laughs] Really? I would love to know if he has ever heard it. That’s so funny!
How would you pitch this somebody that’s not familiar with your work?
That’s a hard question. My last film Rubber was so easy to pitch because it was about this killer tire and there was a built in audience for this kind of absurd film, but this time it’s about a guy who has lost his dog and it just sounds shitty, so it’s hard to say.
Do you have another new Mr. Oizo album in the works?
Yeah I just recently released Stade 2, and I have another one coming out very soon.
Want to learn more about Quentin Dupieux’s fabulous new film Wrong? Check out a Teaser from the film below!