Five questions for Jeremy Dawson
Mr. Dawson, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is another story about a dying teenager in a very short time in American movies. Is this a clear message of a youth discomfort running in the U.S.?
I don't think so. I think it is part of the long tradition of coming of age stories. In the United States finishing high school and moving into college is a major turning point for many people. We go from the cocoon of home life to living away from our families and on our own. How people learn about and face the real world as they reach that crossroads and find that life is rich and complex and imperfect is an enduring theme. This film is ultimately about friendship and growing up more than about discomfort.
You produced the last four Wes Anderson’s movie. How did you start working with him?
My original background is in visual effects, often working with directors with a strong vision and helping them realize it without compromising their aesthetic. Wes first contacted me when he was making The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and interviewed me. Needed someone to help with the underwater world in the film. It wasn’t that dramatic a story – I had an interview and I got the job and that was that!
You also have a longtime collaboration with Darren Aronofsky for whom you created many motion graphics since π. Isn’t it strange to be a producer and visual effects designer at the same time?
Yes it is but I think that it helps me that I have a visual background. I can often find solutions for the directors using that experience. And keeping up with my design side is fun and fulfilling for me.
Grand Budapest Hotel has been a huge success and ran among favourites at the Oscars. Are Indie productions the new majors, just like the Weinsteins were in the 90s?
I don't think they are the new majors, I just think that in a world of sequels and tentpole films the only films that can take the risks to be unique and interesting are the indies. That makes these films stand out at awards time. For every Grand Budapest Hotel or Birdman there are many other good ones we never see except at festivals.
Are you excited about screening your movie in Piazza Grande, in front of 8,000 people?
Yes. I can’t wait! I heard you can eat dinner while you watch which sounds like fun. It is my first time at Locarno and we are truly honored to be here.