And of course, Colin knows that, from working together before. So he did have questions at the beginning, probably something like what you said. The only thing I remember, the only thing we discussed, is he said, “This is more of a grounded world, right? It’s more real?” And I said, “Yeah, yeah. But, you know.” And he said, “Yeah, I know.” He’s a very smart guy, he has a great sense of humor, he gets our work, and he gets the material. You don’t have to go into great length trying to explain it or figure it out. It’s just about fine-tuning, about helping the actors find the right volume, or tone, or speed. So I work more in physical ways like that. Usually, I say, “This is too loud, or too slow,” I never go too intellectual with their performances.
Sims: There is a particular rhythm to your dialogue and how it’s delivered. So I assume you take care that everything is said in that rhythm.
Lanthimos: Yeah. That’s partially true, but I think the writing and the material also has a very strong imprint, it’s kind of there. All the talented and smart actors, they get it; as soon as it comes out of their mouth, they know if it’s right or wrong. If the writing has a particular voice, they get it, and they can hit it. I’ve been very lucky, and I’ve worked with great actors, and actors that know and appreciate my previous work, and that helps a lot as well. They’re aware of the universe, though every film is different, obviously. But I think they understand the intention.
Sims: Was that true of Nicole Kidman? Was she acquainted with your work?
Lanthimos: It was a similar situation; she was aware of my work, and we had met a couple of times before. Obviously, I admire her very much, and she’d seen some of my films, and we met and were always talking about doing something together. We started sending out the script, she read it and texted me saying, “I love it, and I want to do it.” And I just replied, “Okay.” And that was it! And the experience was great. She’s extremely committed and hard-working and talented, obviously. It was just about fine-tuning all these things. And she had a great relationship with Colin, and they went on, after we wrapped, a few weeks later they were on another set together [in The Beguiled].
Sims: Have you seen it?
Lanthimos: No, I want to watch it!
Sims: I was also very happy to see Alicia Silverstone, in that one important scene as Martin’s mother. She’s an actress I’ve loved for a long time, and you don’t see her on screen as much these days. Were you thinking of her, when it came time to cast the movie?
Lanthimos: I have to say, I didn’t! My casting director thought of her. As you said, I was a huge fan; I’d seen Clueless when I was a teenager a thousand times, the Aerosmith music videos, and all that. But because she had fallen off my radar, I didn’t think of her, I’m ashamed to say. But our casting director, Francine [Maisler], I think she saw her in a play, near when we were casting, and as soon as she mentioned her, I said, “Yes! Let’s do that!” And she was amazing, it’s perfect. She came in and out, unfortunately only for a day, but it was really fun to do it with her.