Bringing It Home
Wein was relieved to find himself wearing far fewer hats with LOLA VERSUS
had on his first feature film, where he and Lister-Jones were involved in
costumes and make-up to locations and craft services. He had "only" the roles of
and executive producer to juggle with a full crew to support him,. "That really
helped me bring
the vision to life and focus on the creative aspects," he says. "When you're
you're flying by the seat of your pants. You aren't able to spend the time
or thinking about the script. We had so many great people to help us make this
Bucking the current trend to make independent movies on high-end digital
cameras, Wein was determined to put LOLA VERSUS on 35mm film. "The film has a
of pop style and theatricality," London says. "Daryl wanted to make it on film
to avoid having it
feel like just another low-budget indie movie. Everyone told him he couldn't
afford it, but he was
able to find a way."
"Film has a much richer quality. The grain, the 35mm depth of field and the
lenses we were able to use make the movie look absolutely beautiful," says Wein.
Cinematographer Jakob Ihre, a veteran director of photography in his native
helped Wein develop a look for the film that reflects Lola's emotional journey.
"We wanted to
tell the story in a naturalistic and real way, but at the same time, we didn't
want to be so
naturalistic that the story just passed in front of us," Ihre explains. "The
camera and lighting had
to be real and sensitive, but also dynamic and grand, to portray and capture the
moods of Lola. We stayed very much in control of telling the story in a visual
way. Part of a
scene might be handheld, until a moment comes when Lola changes, so we might
switch to a
static shot and then a tracking shot, within the same scene. The real challenge
was to make such
opposite styles work in the same film."
Ihre also used his camera to introduce New York City into the mix as a
character in its
own right. "We often used more headroom in the frame to include more of the
and bring the audience into the milieu of the characters," he says. "It helps
emphasize what they
are going through moment to moment."
LOLA VERSUS takes place in a version of New York City that might only be
natives. Wein used his intimate knowledge of the city to bypass familiar
and choose locations that create an insider's view of city life. The
19th-century Federal and Greek
Revival architecture and cobblestone streets of Brooklyn's Vinegar Hill
neighborhood, as well as
the developing waterfront of one of New York City's premiere arts districts,
Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) provide a glimpse of the city's past and
future, while real
apartments on Manhattan's Lower East Side were used for Lola's tiny Alphabet
City studio and
Luke's three-story walk-up. "We shot at the famous Russ & Daughters smoked fish
shop, and no
one's ever shot there before even though it's been open for 100 years," says
Wein. "We used
locations that were authentic, but hadn't been overexposed in other movies. It
gave us a lot more
scope and made it feel like a much bigger movie."
The actors, savvy New Yorkers themselves, say that the filmmakers have
captured a real
sense of what it's like to be striving for success in today's New York City.
"Like Daryl and Zoe's
first movie, this is so New York, so generationally accurate and yet so generous
characters," says Hamish Linklater. "It's not ironic or emotionally removed. The
people are not
too cool for school and neither am I, so I felt like I fit in this world."
It is in fact the world of young artists like Wein and Lister-Jones, who
their version of New York City with the cast and crew every day during the lunch
couldn't afford craft services with our budget," says London. "I looked forward
to Daryl and Zoe
taking us to restaurants that we would never have known about otherwise, whether
it was a hole-in-
the-wall Chinese place or a gourmet hipster hangout. I remember walking in
saying we needed to be in and out in 40 minutes. They looked at us like we were
crazy, then put
all 14 of us at the chef's table in the kitchen. We ate one of the best meals of
our lives while we
argued about script changes."
Set in the fashion capitol of the United States (if not the world), wardrobe
had a crucial
role in creating the unique sense of place that permeates LOLA VERSUS, says
Jenny Gering. Quintessential New Yorkers Greta Gerwig and Zoe Lister-Jones
brought their own
unique personal styles to the way their characters are dressed. "Zoe's character
is fun and flirty,
as well as a total slave to fashion, so the way she dresses is her way of
expressing herself," says
Gering. "Lola is very like Greta in style, clean and no nonsense. She is not
really interested in
fashion the way Alice is, but as a born and bred New Yorker, it is second nature
Lola's wardrobe also reflects her gradual unraveling and eventual evolution.
sticking to her game plan, she looks more buttoned-up," Gering points out.
"After she and Luke
break up, she becomes a bit of a mess. The clichÃ© would have been to go with
'sad colors,' like
browns and greys, but we decided to present her in a disheveled way instead,
which reflects her
state of mind."
No less care was taken with the men's wardrobe. "Since Luke is a hip, urban
his pants are carefully selected as what someone his age living in his
neighborhood would wear,"
Gering says. "His look is not too trendy, not too hipster, but very current.
Because he is an artist,
we added little touches like paint splatters on the cuffs of his pants."
Wein's experience editing BREAKING UPWARDS came in handy when he sat down
with Suzy Elmiger, one of the editors of LOLA VERSUS. "He really understands the
which allowed us to work really fast and still experiment with structure," she
says. "Daryl wasn't
afraid to go in and roll up his sleeves. We got feedback from different quarters
as we went along
and were able to incorporate it easily."
Wein and Lister-Jones were very hands-on with their music selection for the
Elmiger. "They are unbelievably astute about that aspect of filmmaking. Some of
the scenes, like
the montages of walking around the city, were cut to music. It's a difficult
thing to do. When
there's no dialogue, you're reliant on the music to tell the story without
making it into a music
Wein and Lister-Jones know they are fortunate to have had so much support for
LOLA VERSUS. With all the disparate elements assembled, they want audiences to
see the film
and think about their own relationships, as well as those they see on the screen
in the movie. "I
hope that people will be able to laugh, while also allowing themselves to be hit
on a gut level,"
Wein says. "That's what I aim for when I make a movie."
Lister-Jones' biggest wish is that it will appeal to moviegoers across the
"Conventional wisdom says that women go to movies made to appeal to men more
often than the
reverse," she notes. "In this film, we are harking back to a time when
relationship movies weren't
'chick flicks.' They were about issues that everyone deals with. Our greatest
hope is that this will
cross the lines of gender, age, class and race, because the themes are