Exclusive: Michel Gondry Describes His Next Project, The We And The I
On hand to present his documentary The Thorn in the Heart at SXSW, Michel Gondry wound up talking about a lot of projects he had in mind, from an IMAX scientific musical with Bjork to, yes, The Green Hornet. But one project in particular seems to have a lot in common with Thorn in the Heart and his previous film Be Kind Rewind, both stories about people not usually in movies, featuring non-actors (well, OK, one is a documentary).
Today I got on the phone with Gondry to talk about Thorn in the Heart, and that full interview will be up later this week. He also told me a little bit about that upcoming project, called The We and The I, which he plans to film using kids from a school in the Bronx and tell the story of a bus ride home at the end of school:
It's to explore the phenomenon of people, how different they are in groups and large numbers, and how they become more interesting and complex when they are in smaller groups. As they leave the school and do the journey to the last stop, the kids go off the bus gradually. You've got 35 and they end up with two. You feel the dynamic changing.
While the film may fit in line with interests he's showed in recent films, The We and the I comes from a longtime fascination of Gondry's:
I was kind of a loner when I was at school, I was hanging with the girls mostly, not the boys. I couldn't understand why the boys were so stupid when they were in groups and why they would allow themselves to be so mean to each other. This movie is talking about that.
While he admits that he tends to talk up projects before they are guaranteed to happen-- "I want to share, I want to put [myself] on the spot and then I have to do them"-- Gondry says The We and the I could very easily be his next project once he finishes editing The Green Hornet in time for its release this winter. "The script exists now and we have all the kids, we just have to find the right time to shoot it."
As an unrepentant fan of Be Kind Rewind, I would love to see Gondry do another film that echoes the final scene of that film, in which an entire community comes together to watch a film they all made. Green Hornet's success or failure will determine a lot about what Gondry gets to do next in Hollywood, but hopefully his passion for tiny movies like this one will never go away.
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