Director Antonio Campos and star Brady Corbet discuss ‘Simon Killer’

Brady Corbet (bottom, below Mati Diop) co-wrote and stars in "Simon Killer." Credit: Joe Anderson
Brady Corbet (bottom, below Mati Diop) co-wrote and stars in “Simon Killer.”
Credit: Joe Anderson

Much like the lead character in his new movie, “Simon Killer,” director Antonio Campos was reeling from a breakup when the film was first germinating in his head. He was also reading a lot of Georges Simenon and Jim Thompson, gutter noir poets who wrote tales of casually amoral men.

“It’s not like we were trying to make a film noir,” Campos says of the finished product. “But we were in that universe. We were just embracing the environment and the settings, the certain look these spaces have. It was more a feeling I was running with.”

In the film, Brady Corbet plays an American tourist in Paris who worms his way into the life of a prostitute (Mati Diop). Eventually the two try to milk money out of her clients. “The plans play out in a clumsy way,” says Corbet, who co-write the script with Campos. “It’s almost absurd, this plan of theirs. It’s so half-baked. But if you read real stories about blackmail, they usually are this haphazard. Very few end up like ‘Ocean’s Eleven.’ We were trying to find the potential for truth in a genre film.”

For Campos, having your lead actor as your screenwriter made a lot of sense. “It’s the best way to do it,” he says, “because who else would know the character as much as you do than the person who’s embodying him?” Campos describes the nontraditional screenplay as an “amalgamation of a lot of approaches”: some scenes, he says, were scripted, others had some room for improvisation, others still emerged from rehearsals.

“The way we made our film,” Corbet recalls, “is similar to the way I try to work as an actor. I never learn my lines anymore until the day I get there, because there’s so much potential for things to change. I don’t waste my time anymore. I don’t like rehearsal. On this we had very loose rehearsals, but they would often times turn into discussions about what our next day’s material would be. It’s much more interesting if you remain open to the environment. I don’t think every film can be made that way, but I can’t imagine this movie being made any other way.”

Campos said they would even shoot scenes they knew wouldn’t be in the movie. “That act of doing it is going to inform [the actor] so much,” he says. “The actors were able to live that moment. In the back of their minds it’s real. There’s a universe they’ve created, it’s real, and we’re just choosing to show part of it.”

They reshot one scene: After getting beat up, Simon visits Diop’s character at work to beg for her help. She goes to get her coat and Simon’s expression changes to a blank, then changes back when she returns. “It was so wrong,” Corbet remembers. “It wasn’t the movie we had shot thus far. It betrayed the character. It told the audience too much. This one moment could have changed the entire experience of the movie in a way that would have made it so kitschy. We didn’t realize that at the time.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.

National

Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.

National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

National

U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…