Emerald Fennell wishes she could force everyone to have the same “s***** trailer” on set.
The ‘Promising Young Woman’ director thinks having actors retreat to their own luxurious space when they are not filming just causes divisions on a project and she’d rather her cast and crew were made to mingle more.
Speaking to Olivia Wilde for Variety’s Directors on Directors, she said: “I really do think trailers have a lot to answer for.
“If I were allowed, I would just say, ‘Hey, everyone gets kind of a s***** trailer, the exact same one. Everyone has to have lunch together.’
“If you’ve got your own lovely jacuzzi, you’re not with everyone really? It makes it difficult to be collaborative. It’s alienating, is lonely. It’s more fun to be with everyone.”
Olivia agreed: “Then you have to be vulnerable in front of these people, and you’ve been separated from them.
“I always liken it to a construction site. You bring these people into this construction site, and then say ‘Hold the work for a moment!’ And everyone’s just kind of like waiting for the acting to be done so you can go back to building.
“The actors are like, ‘I’m sorry that I’m acting. I’m so sorry.’ If we just restructured it, so everyone was working together, I guess that’s why when you train in theatre, you learn everyone’s job. Everyone knows what the whole process is. Everyone is crew. Everyone’s on the same level, everyone matters the same.”
Olivia famously has a “no a*******” policy on set and she explained she felt that was a great leveller.
She said: “The no a******* policy, it puts everybody on the same level. I also noticed as an actress for years how the hierarchy of the set separated the actors from the crew in this very strange way that serves no one…
“I think actors would actually like to know more about what’s happening there when you’re pulling my focus? What is that lens change? But the idea of, don’t bother the actors and keep them separate, and don’t look at them. I think it makes everyone quite anxious.”
The ‘Booksmart’ filmmaker adopted the policy after receiving “really terrible advice” about stoking arguments to get respect when making the move behind the camera.
She explained: “Someone, who’s a very established actor and director in this industry, gave me really terrible advice that was helpful, because I just knew I had to do the opposite.
“They said, ‘Listen, the way to get respect on a set, you have to have three arguments a day. Three big arguments that reinstate your power, remind everyone who’s in charge, be the predator.’ That is the opposite of my process. And I want none of that.”