Pippa is about to come out in the States on November 27th. Feeling hopeful.

First of all I want to thank those of you who are writing to me about Pippa. It’s so heartening to see that people –at least a few people–are “getting” the film. I just came back to Ireland from 8 days in the States promoting Pippa, first in LA then NYC. I think maybe in Pippa I have stumbled on a character and a story that larger numbers of people can identify with than usually happens with my films. I have been described as a filmmaker who makes up characters it’s hard to love or even like (I have no problem with this, I think in general film is over-obsessed with making characters likeable, I don’t understand that– and anyway I like flawed people, being one myself), however Pippa seems to be another story–she is such a dear soul. A lot of women seem to see themselves in her, and older men seem happy with the story, maybe because Alan Arkin gets to be a real human being still making romantic mistakes and not just an old man. I did Q and A’s for different types of audiences, one for Screen Actors Guild members, of course mostly actors. They were very appreciative of Robin Wright’s performance. I did that Q and A with Robin, and I learned things from her that night. Someone asked her what was the most important thing, in our year of preparation, that brought the character together for her–and she said, when she understood how to play a person who doesn’t judge other people. She was saying she is quite judgemental as a person (most of us are) and that it was hard, making that leap, but once she did, she had found Pippa. I asked her, also, when we were doing the DVD commentary, about a certain scene, in which she wakes up in the convenience store where Chris/Keanu Reeves works, and she has a certain very visceral reaction, and I asked her if she had used nausea at all for that moment,and she said, no, she had used her breath, not being able to breathe, and I asked if she used breath a lot for the character, and she said she used shallow breath high in her chest –until later in the story when Pippa is coming into herself. I thought that was so interesting, because, when I was directing her, just as she heard “roll camera” she would close her eyes and breath in, and when she breathed out again, Pippa was there. Robin had shaken off whatever got between her and the character, cleared her system. It was amazing to watch. And it shows just how much a director does not control. In other words, though we decide how things are shot, and nudge a performance one way or another, we directors are still forced to stand at the lip of an actor’s soul, peering in; what happens inside, the mysterious alchemical shifts necessary to create a character, belong to the actor alone. We directors are so dependent on that magic.

The premiere, by the way, was a lot of fun, Robin,Blake, Keanu, and Julianne were all there, and sweetly Marion Cotillard and Penelope Cruz and Billy Crudup and Billy Connelly turned up, none of whom I know, I mean I have met some of them, so it was especially kind of them to come, because I know the last thing well known people want to do is go to a premiere, but they were there to see Robin’s performance and support the film. And my Daniel was there which made me so happy, and my dear friends from New York. It was a funny little theater, with air conditioning blasting noisily out of enormous ducts (in November). My hands were like blocks of ice by the end of the film.

So The Private Lives of Pippa Lee comes out on the 27th of November, there isn’t much more to be done. The actors have been so supportive, done lots of interviews, Blake is even hosting Saturday Night Live on December 5th, which will be hilarious I am sure because she is so relaxed and game for self-parody. Now we just sit on our hands and hope that the film finds an audience. Whatever happens, we know we did our best.

11 Responses to “Pippa is about to come out in the States on November 27th. Feeling hopeful.”

  • Kelley:

    Hi Rebecca,
    Just saw your film in Danbury Connecticut last night. Great job! Sold out crowd. It was a good date night – rare for us. The screenplay was thought provoking, and I really enjoyed your direction and film style. I found the pain and the humor fresh – I even was laughing alone at one point – when Pippa was face to face with Jesus, in the back of the truck. Honestly, my husband was staring at me. Hahaha. Thanks for this film, keep writing & directing. I look forward to visiting your other works.

  • I have not had the opportunity to view The Private Lives Of Pippa Lee as of yet, but, I can’t wait till Friday, the 27th.
    A few friends who are movie bloggers (I hate the words: movie critics) have attended press screenings and they just love your work as i do. I’m a big fan of your work as writer and filmmaker and I can’t explain the nervousness i get when I see one of your films. Till this day Personal Velocity just knocks me out and I’ve viewed it quite it a few times. I’m feeling hopeful myself, I’m feeling hopeful that you do me a favor and keep writing and making films.
    John Vincent Vargas

  • Deborah:

    I saw “Pippa” last night and thought it was a wonderful film. I loved the backwards-forwards perspective..and I saw a lot of my own life and friends of mine in the characters..There were so many of us who got lost and then got found from that period of time. All of the film’s performances were so sensitive and illuminating – especially Robin’s..but Alan Arkin, Maria Bello and Keanu Reeves were also superb!

  • Erika Kramer:

    Just saw Pippa this past weekend and am still thinking about it and taking it in… really a great film. i’m truly impressed with what was brought out of the actors and even more so by the ways in which you’ve described in interviews how you worked with them… i’d be interested to know more on your rehearsal process and how you adapt to different styles for different people.

    thanks for making such a great film.

  • Karen Feldman:

    Saw your film yesterday afternoon and I adored it. As a woman 58 years old I connected with Pippa on so many levels…

    The scene with Robin and Keanu in the back of his van was amazing, you felt her emotional release and were thankful that she was at last able to release her tears.

    Wonderful film, I highly recommend.

  • Will:

    I saw your film yesterday and have been thinking about it quite a bit, especially Robin Wright’s performance. The breathing thing is interesting, and I can see that. The tension of the shallow breath versus the relaxation of a deep breath.

    To me, one of the important lines that I keep coming back to is at the beginning where Sam is toasting Pippa and calls her an artist’s wife. And it’s an inside joke, or desire, that doesn’t get explained for a very long time. I like the way you kept me in suspense on what that means to Pippa and to Sam who’s pined for Pippa since he met her.

    The segues between present and memory are wonderful. And progress as her breakdown intensifies.

    So, great job and I want to see it again!

  • Sarah Smith:

    Pippa Lee was a random pick for me at the library last month. I am so pleased to find out about the film. I loved the novel and Pippa. There were many perfect moments for me but the image of the cottage within the glass house will stay with me forever. Thank you for your work.

  • Vikram Udeshi:

    Hi Rebecca:

    Pippa Lee movie I can’t wait to see but it is nowhere near where I live (deep south in Mississippi) so I guess i will have to Netflix it after a few months. Also, I can’t wait to hear your commentary. Also, I wanted to mention somewhere in your blog you mention women folks would like this movie but I am a regular family father with kids and would love to watch movies like PIPPA LEE on a friday night. Just an fyi in case you dig into demographics for your next venture. Goodluck.

  • Diane:

    I heard about the movie on Facebook, and SO looked forward to its release. But since I live in Iowa, I won’t be able to see it! Is there any chance it will get wider release eventually? If not, I hope you’ll release it on DVD SOON! I can’t wait to see it!

  • Georgia Byron:

    I’d like to add my thanks to the list for writing and making the work you do. I’ve just watched Pippa Lee for the first time.

    I don’t really know very much about movies; its genres, leading epochs – or delved into that world as personally; mainly because I’m rather lazy and don’t have any connection to it.

    I’ve never come across a director – or writer – who has the ability to capture a true human character like you do.

    You seem to be able to capture an individual with all the integrity and humbling detail a long suffering spouse/relative might have for them, but without any accompanying judgement; nor the sort of ‘jadedness’ that seems to be synonymous with most people’s idea of ‘reality’. I hope this doesn’t sound like rambling guff!

    Basically, your eye and work are a testimony for people like me as to what creative gifts should and can be used for. I hope you continue to receive all the recognition you deserve.

  • Francesca:

    I have finally got round to first reading and then also watching Pippa Lee. It is simply brilliant. I might say something that most people and even the author / director may not have perceived – but then is a work of art not always interpreted differently by each of us? I found the film to be an amazing mirror of the book – you really succeeded in reflecting the overall tone of the book with those flashbacks, but there was that lingering atmosphere – sorry I am not a film expert, but maybe it was the way it was filmed, the lines, the actors chosen, I thought it was a great movie. The story is quite good, because in a way the story of Pippa Lee and the people part of her life can be that of any person and / or family – we are all a bit twisted somehow. These humans related somehow – you never choose your family somehow. Oh and another thing, the way life goes, it is always so full of surprises – you never when you are at the end of a road and that you’re about to move on to something else. And it is true, we go through and experience so many lives in a lifetime! Ok in short, great work!!!

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