The new film “Wonderstruck” is all about childhood memories and is greatly influenced by film history, so director Todd Haynes and star Julianne Moore discussed the movies that influenced them as children when they presented their movie to press and industry at the New York Film Festival on October 7 (watch above).
“I had a succession of obsessions I’ll briefly share, the first being the first film I saw, which was ‘Mary Poppins‘ when I was three,” said Haynes. “I think it was partly that film, but it was partly the fact that it was the first film I ever saw. That generated a uniquely, weirdly obsessive relationship to the film … It made me want to respond in kind creatively: draw a million pictures about ‘Mary Poppins,’ act out the scenes of ‘Mary Poppins,’ dress my mom up as ‘Mary Poppins.'” Haynes also cited the famous 1968 version of “Romeo and Juliet” by Franco Zeffirelli and “The Miracle Worker,” which is like “Wonderstruck” in its focus on young characters who are deaf.
Moore discussed her own unique childhood experiences with film: “When I was in the fifth grade my family moved to Juneau, Alaska, and there was a movie theater in town that my sister and I went to every Saturday no matter what,” she explained. “Because the population was so small in Juneau they changed the movie every single week, so sometimes we’d go and see ‘The Aristocats,’ and then one week it would be ‘One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich’ by Solzhenitsyn, and then ‘Papillon,’ and then ‘Minnie and Moskowitz’ which was a Cassavetes film — and they let us in!” But it wasn’t until Moore revisited some of those movies when she was in college that her creative interests shifted from theater to film.
Haynes hopes “Wonderstruck” is the kind of film that challenges a new generation of children. The creatively ambitious film follows the parallel stories of deaf children in 1927 and 1977 (Millicent Simmonds and Oakes Fegley, respectively), whose journeys through New York City are connected. Watch more of Haynes and Moore’s discussion above.
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