A young girl among the audience attracted Payne’s attention.They quickly met as the 27-year-old philologist Maria Kontou had been sent by Egio municipality to accompany Alexander Payne while visiting various archaeological sites in Athens.
Butler lived periodically in both Pasadena and Santa Barbara in the first quarter of the 20th century, painted extensively in both California and Arizona, and in 1920 took a pack trip with his family through Yellowstone where he made numerous watercolor sketches.And then finally, when I decided to jump in to direct this film myself, I did my own adaptation, starting in July of ’09. I was far less interested in her than I was the man’s relationship with the older daughter. I had never seen exactly this story in a movie before, and then the fact that it was told in Hawaii, and not just generally in Hawaii, but amidst that decaying aristocracy, made it very interesting to me. As the years go by and I make more films, I am increasingly interested in capturing place as a vivid backdrop for my films. Maybe it’s different in Honolulu, but the impression you get as a tourist is that the tenor of life there is not as fraught as other American cities. AP: I would say that’s true, even though people from the rest of Hawaii accuse Honolulu of being that fast-paced monstrosity, just as I talk to people—I’m in Omaha now, and you meet people from small towns of Nebraska, “You’ll never catch me driving in Omaha! It has many of the problems of a big city, but for sure, it’s more leisurely paced. Not because I wanted to make a slower film, but I think the rhythm one feels out there found its way into the film, and I’m happy about that. AP: All three parts of filmmaking [writing, shooting, editing] contribute to that. You want the script to be a tight as possible, you want the acting to be as efficient as possible on the set, and you have enough coverage to manipulate the rhythm in the editing room, and then in the editing room you want to find the quickest possible version, even if it’s a leisurely paced film. I guess I’m complimented when people say “There’s a tricky balance between comedy and pathos, how do you do that? I would say it especially comes when you have a comedy director like me doing dramatic material.Plus, as a director, I know when you work with minors, you only have eight hours per day to work with them, and who needs that? I wasn’t so much interested in Hawaii as I was Honolulu. AVC: One of the compelling things about the film is how you look at Hawaii not as a tourist destination, but as a place where people actually live. It’s a story about people who live there, so that point of view comes automatically with the story. There’s a bit of a joke made at the beginning of the film, “Paradise can go fuck itself.” The voiceover and the images tell the viewer right off the bat, “You’re going to be seeing a different side of what you consider Hawaii.” So yeah, I took care of that right away. I remember when I was showing the film to some filmmaker and he said, “Why, if the wife is dying and there’s such an urgency to find her lover, are they stopping to go to the beach, or see this land on Kauai? I definitely in filmmaking more and more find writing and directing a means to harvest material for editing. AVC: The Descendants is a film about grief and other difficulties, and yet it’s a comedy, too. Was it difficult to know when to go for a laugh and then to pull back? I want material like this to still have a certain charm and nimbleness to it, a certain buoyancy. The other thing I was going to say about tone-mixing is that it’s often comedy directors who do that.During the tour the two discovered that not only did they like each other but they also felt chemistry.At some point, the journey of the director ended and he returned to the United States but he stayed in contact with the young philologist from Egio.Based on Kaui Hart Hemmings’ novel, the film stars George Clooney as a widower who grapples with the fallout of his wife’s catastrophic injury in a boating accident. Club: Jim Rash and Nat Faxon initially adapted the book.