Coinciding with the 2012 release of “Damsels In Distress,” Whit Stillman was the subject of a Town & Country 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.”