Rafael Motamayor chats with director Ana Lily Amirpour…
Flickering Myth had the pleasure of asking the director of The Bad Batch, Ana Lily Amirpour about visual storytelling, having her movie on Netflix and directing an episode of Legion.
The Bad Batch is a very visual movie with not that much dialogue, how do you craft a story like that?
I am hard of hearing, I am 30% deaf actually. I was born that way so I’ve always been interested in feeling what I’m seeing if you know what I mean. I’ve always relied on visual stimulation and I don’t listen to conversation. So in the movie, there’s a lot that happens without words, and I guess it makes people uncomfortable if nobody is talking.
How do you use genre to tell a story? Specially westerns in your two feature films.
I just like cinema that makes you read the real world. When I was a kid I fell in love with fantasy movies, with the magic they carry. I love Back to the Future, NeverEnding Story, even David Lynch or Nicolas Winding Refn, it’s like a hyper reality or like magic, I don’t want to show audiences the real world because you already know the real world. I want to show more, and genre movies allow me to show more than just the real world.
The Bad Batch was bought and released by Netflix, how do you feel about streaming?
I shot the movie on 2:35:1 anamorphic cinemascope, which is a very different experience in a cinema compared to a phone, yet a lot of people watched the movie on Netflix and liked it. I think Netflix is just a part of reality we can’t avoid. That’s the way it is now, people are on their computers and watching a movie in a smaller screen, even if you have cinema in mind you can’t predict who buys the movie. Netflix made a blind offer for the budget of the movie and investors wanted their money back, so Netflix bought the movie.
Lastly, I wanted to ask about Legion, since I know you just directed an episode of Season 2.
We finished it in October. I love that show. I normally don’t like directing things I don’t own, nor did I set out to direct TV, but Legion is different. The visuals are crazy, the characters and weird and amazing. And it never goes the way you think it’s going to go. Noah Hawley and they approached me and said “just do whatever you want to do, make it your own” and I read the script and it was just crazy and incredible.
Doing the episode was a lot of fun, and that they allowed me to do anything I wanted was really cool. Dan Stevens and Jemaine Clement were amazing, and Aubrey Plaza is just as cool as you imagine.
Would you do more TV?
This was mainly because they asked, and I was a fan of the show. Otherwise I am too weird to do TV, since it’s too formulaic, and I can’t really do that. I am doing another show, though. I am directing an episode of Castle Rock, and that’s because I’m a huge Stephen King fan and J.J. Abrams is producing it, and André Holland is the lead and it’s an awesome group of people, so I’m opened to do things like that.
The Bad Batch is available on Netflix.