On Oct. 10, yeahstub.com had the opportunity to interview “Young Ones” writer/director Jake Paltrow. The Screen Media release is set in a near future when water has become the most precious and dwindling resource on the planet. The film focuses on Ernest Holm (Michael Shannon) who lives on this harsh frontier with his children, Jerome (Kodi Smit McPhee) and Mary (Elle Fanning). He defends his farm from bandits, works the supply routes, and hopes to rejuvenate the soil. Read our exclusive interview with Director Jake Paltrow below.
Q: Tell me about your inspiration for this film.
It was a few different things. I was very interested in some of the global drought issues outside of our country … I also more than anything wanted to tell this father son story and that I think drove the whole thing. The other way, I re-read the S.E Hinton books “The Outsiders” and “Rumble Fish.” Those were very meaningful to me as a kid and I sort of loved them even more as an adult and lastly, I’ve always had an interest in robotics in particular the quadriped robot that was built by Boston Dynamics and I put all of those things together into what became this story. It sort of became a bit self evident of what it would be. This sort of family chamber piece surrounded by this science fiction western environment.
Q: Speak about working with Michael Shannon.
He’s exceptionally good. My working with Michael on the performance was really a series of conversations before we started. Michael came all ready to go. He showed me what he was going to do and I said very very little. Then it becomes you get into making the movie and you’re saying things take to take, but it becomes small. It’s not some philosophical approach about I feel the character would work better one way he thinks otherwise … We never had a conversation like that. Never had a conversation like that with any of the lead cast.
Q: Speak about working with Elle Fanning.
She was the first one cast in this film. I met her when she was very young and I just offered her the part. She was so good in everything I’d seen her in and she was just exactly the right person for the part. There’s nobody more generous I think that I have worked with and so up for the task and to come all that distance to make that movie that age and come out of school and bring a tutor and everything else. I’m totally indebted to her.
Q: What about Nicholas Hoult?
I offered him the part too. I had seen him in “A Single Man” and he had such a wonderful quality you didn’t necessarily know in that film who this person was and it unfolds over time and I wanted that same quality for his character in my movie where you know he does these terrible things, but who is he really inside? And again that sort of unravels through the movie and you do sort of learn who he is.
Q: Tell us about the aesthetic. Everything looks so dry.
That’s the environment we really shot in. We shot this movie on film in cinema scope in the old style way and there is no filtration on it so none of that is an affected look. That’s really shooting what the environment looked like. I like to work in that naturalistic way and so that was something we captured. We have a wonderful cinematographer who gets the best out of these sorts of things.
The cast attended a special screening of the film this week at Landmark Sunshine and a party followed at Sons Of Essex. Jake also headed to the Hamptons International Film Festival to promote the film on Oct. 11. “Young Ones” opens in theaters Oct. 17.