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netribution > features > interview with david gordon green > page one
Every couple of years, a truly special film comes along. ‘George Washington’, David Gordon Green’s portrait of a lost summer for a group of teenagers in North Carolina, is the most sublime example of this. Blessed with sumptuous photography, a beautifully written script, lush soundtrack and performances of incredible depth from its young cast, it is an instant classic. Though influenced by Terrence Malick and Robert Altman, Green is nevertheless a filmmaker of brilliant and dazzling originality, a talent who has ability to anything, achieve everything. Nick Dawson humbly hung on his every word.
| by nick dawson |
| photos courtsey of the bfi |
| in london |

Why is the film called George Washington?
It reminded me of being a kid and not knowing the truth about a man with so much myth and historical importance.

Is it true that you were very keen to make 'George Washington' different from the stereotypical self-reflective indie film?
Yes. There is a part of me in every character of the film, but I try mask and distance it from the obvious themes and clichés of other young filmmakers.

The actors and crew all lived together for the shoot of 'George Washington'. Would you wish to recreate such a set-up on your next film?
It all depends on the subject matter or organic approach to the material. In GW we were dealing with kids that needed to be open and feel comfortable with the environment in order to express themselves. Some films wouldn't need that. It does inspire a lot of conflict which we tried in GW to use to our advantage.

The cast of 'George Washington' had mostly never acted before and improvised quite a few scenes. After such stunning results on 'George Washington', do think think it is better to work with first-timers?
Again, I think it depends on the project. I like kids to be fresh and alive and not feel like they are trying to memorize some screenwriter's words. I think improvisation makes every actor feel like they are contributing and I enjoy the collaborative effort of it. If I've cast the roles appropriately, then I have a sense of trust that they will create the best character.

The childhood you had is very different to the ones experienced by the young protagonists in 'George Washington'. What aspects of you are present in the film, and do you feel comfortable writing from a very different perspective to your own?
My childhood was different in the sense that I grew up in Texas and am white, but as for the themes and characters, they aren't so foreign to me. I wanted to create a film in which the emotions, philosophies and beliefs of children were focused upon rather than the typical portrait of childhood. I feel comfortable writing about characters I want to take a journey with. I liked these kids and got to know them as a writer and then met the actors as a director. Again, I like to stray from the obvious and experience the production as a filmmaker in a way like a documentary filmmaker would approach a subject matter.

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