Oscar-nominated, acclaimed cult filmmaker Whit Stillman is coming to the Texas Theatre in celebration for the 25th anniversary of his first feature, Metropolitan.
Metropolitan wasn’t the immediate success that I — and perhaps you, too — might've assumed. It premiered at Sundance, garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay, and won an Independent Spirit Award (the Oscars for indie film) for Best First Feature. But it took a few Sundance rejections before getting accepted.
Twenty five years after first premiering, Metropolitan still has an audience and Stillman is having fun traveling around to different places for the special screenings and Q&As. He's quick to express his love for Dallas, especially, which gives you no choice but to attend the event Wednesday. Call a babysitter, cancel the wedding, sacrifice whatever is necessary.
His first three films, Metropolitan, Barcelona, and The Last Days of Disco, are loosely based on his life experiences. But he sees himself more as an old friend observing everyone rather than any one character in the films.
Currently, Stillman is in post-production for his fifth feature, an adaptation of the Jane Austen novellaLady Susan. Austen didn't intend for it to be published, but it was almost a century later. Stillman said his fascination with Austen, who is mentioned numerous times in Metropolitan, is rooted in the careful consideration she put into every character. He loves her work and admits it’s a bit unnerving adapting the novella for his version called Love and Friendship. He’s not sure when this film — starring The Last Days of Disco's Kate Beckinsale and Chloë Sevigny — is going to release, but he’s also turning the screenplay into a book, which he hopes Austen fans will enjoy.
Stillman has one special request for Wednesday’s attendees: he’d love it if folks attending theMetropolitan anniversary screening would watch the pilot of his new TV series on Amazon, The Cosmopolitans, before attending. It’s a companion piece he hopes people will love.
For you other Whitman nuts out there, I asked him which film was his most personal, to which he swiftly answered (to my surprise) Damsels in Distress. We didn’t go into details. We didn’t have to. (Who am I to challenge the favorite of the bunch from the man who made the films?)
The 25th-anniversary screening of Metropolitan presented by USA Film Festival will be screening at the Texas Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Stillman will be in attendance and doing an on-stage Q&A after the film ends. Head to the Texas Theatre’s website for tickets.
[Note: This interview first published on Dallas Observer.]