This Summer, audiences will be able to experience A Ghost Story as it opens in various cities across Canada. This unique film from writer/director David Lowery (Pete’s Dragon) is about love, loss, and longing for connection, and also features two outstanding performances by Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara.
Wylie Writes’ Nick Ferwerda had the opportunity to catch up with Lowery while he was in Toronto promoting A Ghost Story.
Nick Ferwerda: This wasn’t the first time you worked with both Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara. Was there a specific reason you wanted to reunite them in this film?
David Lowery: One of the main reasons I wanted to have them together onscreen again was because they are so good together. They have a really strong chemistry, they really like each other, and they have this sense of history behind them. Even though they’ve never been in a relationship together, it feels like they have when they are in the same room. That’s something that, when you find as a director, you want to utilize – I noticed that the first time I worked with them. We actually wound up shooting a lot more material with them on Ain’t The Bodies Saints because they were just so good together. When it came time to make A Ghost Story and we needed to cast those roles, I wanted an onscreen couple that felt like a real couple.
I also wanted actors who could already trust me because I already knew we would be asking a lot from them in these roles. It helps that we’re friends. I could reach out to them, as friends, and say, “Hey I’m making this weird movie in Texas this summer. Do you want to be a part of it?” They were able to respond as friends. It wasn’t a business decision, it wasn’t them trying to book the next great role. They just wanted to come, hang out for the summer, and make a cool movie. It was really nice to have the pressure of the industry off our shoulders and just be able to create something together.
NF: You mentioned you shot the film in Texas, which is where you’re from. Was there any kind of significance behind that?
DL: It’s just easier for me to make movies in Texas. I grew up making movies there, and I just love the idea of making movies in my own backyard. From the time I started making movies when I was seven, that always appealed to me.
I am able to create things easier in my hometown because I have a lot of connections – that’s where I got my start in the industry. I have a lot of friends who work there. I could go to Texas and make a movie in secret with no money and pull it off. If I was to that anywhere else, it would be impossible to do on the scale that we made it.
NF: A lot of filmmakers now are choosing to shoot certain parts of their film in a different aspect ratio. You, however, shot the entire film in a 1:33 aspect ratio. What was your reasoning behind that?
DL: I like that aspect ratio, and I felt this would be a good opportunity to use it. I definitely thought about the possibilities of expanding it because, now that everything is digital, you can play with the aspect ratio in a way we’ve seen Wes Anderson utilize it or the way Trey Edward Shults worked with his films. As much as I like what those films do, they’re using the aspect ratio as an affectation, and a good one at that. I wanted this movie to have a rigidity to it and a sense of purpose that needed a more constrictive approach. So, even though we thought about expanding the aspect ratio, it ultimately would’ve felt like a trick rather than a cohesive vision.
We shot the film with a camera that had a native 4:3 chip, so there was no backing out of it. We decided to do that early on so we wouldn’t be tempted to make any parts of the movie widescreen, or to change our minds halfway though. We were locked in since day one, and I’m glad we were. It allows A Ghost Story to have this very austere visual quality that is both defined by the aspect ratio, but also any expansion would have to happen within the frame lines.
A Ghost Story is now playing in select theatres. Read Nick Ferwerda’s review here!
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Nick Ferwerda: @NickFerwerda