Interview With Kimberly Peirce

 
 

AE: So the narrative opens
up a different kind of experience for the audience — to participate in these
soldiers’ experience.

KP: Yes. I believe for me, because I’m
a fiction filmmaker — and I mean I use fiction loosely because it’s so based on
reality.

AE: That’s what’s
interesting about your work I think.

KP: Right. But because I’m aiming
for the underlying emotional truth … what I’m doing is I’m bringing you deeply
inside the experience of a human being. But I’m bringing you inside of it in a
way like — if I was a great novelist I would write a novel.

But I’m not. But what I
can do is I can create these characters, and I think I can reveal to you the
camaraderie between soldiers better in this medium … than I could in any other
medium.

AE: Well, that makes total sense.
KP:
Instead of having them talk about it, they’re going to do it in front
of you.

AE: A few days after I saw
your film, there was a big article in the Los
Angeles
Times
about repeated Iraq
deployments raising mental health risks for soldiers — it’s obvious — not
surprising.

KP: Of course they do.

AE: With subject matter like
this, it must be tough to get a film made.
KP:
Well, I’ll tell you, yes. It’s always tough to get a film made. But
what I did was I paid for all the research. I paid for writing the script with
my writing partner, Mark Richard, who’s a great novelist.

Then we went to the
financiers and the studios on a Friday and we said, "Here’s the script,
and I cut together a five-minute trailer based on my interviews throughout America
of soldiers," and I included these soldier-made videos. And we were like: "And
this is the aesthetic. It’s young. It’s gonna be sexy. It’s gonna be authentic.
It’s gonna move you."

And they bought it that
weekend. They bought it overnight — four studios, two financiers, and they
greenlit it — which never happens. So I sold a script as a greenlit movie. So was it difficult to get made? It was
difficult to make, but they could see the inherent dramatic nature of it, the
authenticity.

AE: And your track record,
too, speaks volumes.

KP: They knew that I was serious,
and they knew I knew what I was doing. But … what’s so wonderful is we all saw
[that it] was a human story. It was about camaraderie.

I really encourage you to
go to stoplossmovie.com/soundoff.
It’s a website. I’ve given cameras to soldiers and their families. They film
themselves. We get it together. We put it on the website. They interact with
other military families, with soldiers, with civilians.

And then [the website] has
an area where … people go to my screenings and then they write in … like: "This
is my story. I’m a stop-loss soldier. This is my husband’s story. He’s not
gonna see the birth of his child." And it’s just one of those moving
things. It’s a real passion project.

AE: AfterEllen.com readers also have an interest, obviously,
in your work directing for The L Word.
I’m just wondering, do you have any future plans to direct for the show again? And
what was that experience like for you?
KP:
I love the girls. I love the girls. I mean literally. I love Kate. I
love Leisha. I love Jennifer. I love — who’s the fourth one?

AE: There’s so many of them
now I can’t even remember them all.
KP:
Yeah. It was great because I know Rose Troche and I know the girls
involved with it, and they had asked me to do it and then I went, and it was
literally a blast. And they were like — people were like, "Thank you for bringing
sex back to The L Word," because
we had like four different sex scenes.

AE: It was a great episode. [Peirce
directed Episode 3.5, "Lifeline."]
KP:
Actually, the sex scene went on for much longer. It was much more
graphic. They cut it down. You know what I mean? I would love for you to see my
cut.

AE: I think a lot of people
would love to see your cut.
KP:
I would love to see my cut. So maybe if we can get it out there. It’s
just much more graphic and it goes much more farther, you know. I had such a
great time. … It’s such a guilty pleasure, but I watch The L Word every week. Like I come home and we’re all like — I mean
we’re just, we love it. What can you do? It’s just — it’s hilarious.

AE: Showtime has just
ordered a sixth season to wrap things up, so any chance you’ll direct one of
the final episodes?

KP: I would totally consider it. I’d
have to see how my schedule goes. I just — I really would. I’m a huge fan.

Stop-Loss opens nationwide on
March 28, 2008. Go to the film’s official site for more information.

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