With “Damsels In Distress” set to debut next month, Whit Stillman is the subject of Town & Country‘s April cover story. Hearst’s publicity department was kind enough to send over a preview (which I’m not allowed to post, alas), and the story has some interesting revalations about this unique filmmaker devoted to deadpan humor and the preppy class.
Turns out Stillman’s godfather is none other than E. Digby Baltzell, the very man who coined the term “WASP” in his book “The Protestant Establishment.”
Hudson Morgan, the story’s author, writes:
… his parents… were richer in name than fortune, and when they divorced, in Stillman’s early teens, what money tey had was spent on things like boarding school. As a result, Stillman is polite but not pretentious (he drinks Dunkin’ Donuts coffee), well spoken but not pedantic (he aske me as many questions as I ask him), and well loved but not a household name (his three films have grossed just $13 million collectively).
How unique is he in American filmmaking?
“If you said a bad word on the open mike he’d look at you and shake his head,” says [leading lady Greta] Gerwig, shaking hers sternly in imitation. “And at the end of each day it felt perfectly natural to express myself in a many-claused sentence that had lots of commas and caveats.”
Finally, regarding Stillman’s possible move to Ireland for his next film:
It makes you wonder — along with the fact that the dudes in “Damsels” don’t so much wear loafers as just loaf — if this is Stillman’s way of signaling the demise of the Alpha Prep. “Never!” he replies with mock solemnity. “It will come again. It’s just being surreptitious. It’s a strategic retreat to later advance.”
Perhaps this post should be called “Coming Repulsions,” either because you believe that tampering with the 1978 classic — which is set at a college fraternity house in 1962 — is sacrilege, or, like me, you were eight years old when it came out and when you saw it later you didn’t think it was funny.
Today news agencies are reporting that “Animal House” is being developed for Broadway with music supplied by something called Barenaked Ladies.
The film was voted number one on Bravo’s list of 100 funniest movies. — CC
Stillman, who’s been called the missing link between Woody Allen and Wes Anderson, has previously documented the breakdown of preppy mores in his films “Metropolitan,” “Barcelona,” and “The Last Days of Disco.”
His latest is set at a fairy tale New England college, a former women’s school that was the last of its kind to go co-educational, and its protagonists are “three beautiful girls [who] set out to change the male-dominated environment of their college campus and to rescue their fellow students from depression, grunge and low standards of every kind.”
Here’s the Boston Globe on the film:
“Damsels in Distress’’ deals with eternal emotions even as it seems to take place in a bubble outside our times. The film was shot on Staten Island in the 19th-century buildings of Sailor’s Snug Harbor; it feels like Tinker Toy Ivy League. The score references early ’60s Brill Building pop and swoony movie music like “Theme From ‘A Summer Place.’ ’’ Violet [the protagonist] and her minions are simultaneously retro and up-to-the-minute, enchanting and off-putting.
“Damsels In Distress” is scheduled for release on April 6. — CC
Hollywood’s status as an epicenter of impeccable sartorial taste is long gone, but there was at least one guest at Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards who gave a nod to the well tailored days of yore.
That man was talent agent Ben Press, son of former J. Press president and Ivy Style columnist Richard Press. Company founder Jacobi was Ben’s great-grandfather.
Ben accompanied client and longtime friend Elle Macpherson and was dressed in a dinner jacket made for his grandfather Paul (Richard’s father, if you’re having trouble following the family tree) in 1968.
The tradly duds got Ben named one of the evening’s best dressed, according to the London Daily Mail’s Alex Shekarchman. — CC