"It was an enormously interesting process akin to being a painter and going to the Louvre to replicate a painting by an old master."
The Actress confronts old ideals of art and beauty, reimagining some of Hollywood’s most cherished performances. To do this, I recreated six iconic scenes from Hollywood films and made a simple but radical change: I replaced the leading lady with my own muse, Isabel Sandoval.
The earliest film we recreated is Morocco (1930), the seminal film during which Marlene Dietrich dressed in a men’s tuxedo and kissed a woman (!). The most recent film we included is The Tree of Life (2011) because Isabel and I wanted her to play a mother, and Terrence Malick’s ethereal idealization of Jessica Chastain was our starting point. I particularly liked shooting the fur-lined spaceship set from Barbarella (1968) because I was able to offer Isabel (channeling Jane Fonda) dialogue that the original Barbarella could never have said.
In each scenario, the cinematographer Diana Matos and I tried to stay as faithful as possible to the original way it was filmed…including lenses, film stock, and camera movements. It was an enormously interesting process akin to being a painter and going to the Louvre to replicate a painting by an old master.
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