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Chloe Zhao Talks Eternal Backlash, Oscar Weekend – The Hollywood Reporter


from Songs taught me my brothers And the passenger to Bedouin And eternal, two-time Academy Award winner Chloe Zhao knows how to make an impact on screen. Now she’s determined to make a difference offscreen, so that one day the list of Academy Award-winning female directors will be much longer than just Jane Campion and Kathryn Bigelow.

To get the ball rolling, Zhao has now teamed up with the Johnnie Walker First Strides Initiative and Women In Film to celebrate female filmmakers and create more opportunities for women in front of and behind the camera. To commemorate their partnership at the upcoming Women In Film 16th Annual Academy Awards, Joni Walker commissioned a custom red carpet with plaques paying homage to other notable female directors including Gina Prince-Bythewood, Anna Lily Amirpour, Janikza Bravo, Christine Choi, Julie Dash and Wannuri Kahiu and Claire Denise.

In 2020, the movie Zhao Bedouin She won the prestigious Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, and the following year, when she returned as an Academy Award-winning filmmaker to serve on the jury, she discovered how much her support could mean to up-and-coming female talents like It is happening Director Audrey Diwan.

I was in Venice when It is happening I won the Golden Lion, and I was able to be there for him [filmmaker] Audrey [Diwan] “And have a conversation with her,” says Zhao Hollywood Reporter. “So, to be able to talk her through—and then hear later that it was helpful to her—remind me that no matter how long or short your career is, you always have something to share and you’ll always be able to help someone else.”

Below, in a recent conversation with THRZhao also sheds a little light on what’s next in her career.

Well, Johnnie Walker and Chloe Zhao certainly aren’t the most obvious pairing. What prompted this partnership?

When they first came to me and I heard about what they were doing, it seemed like a really exciting partnership with Women in Film. And I think it would be really exciting to join them in celebrating [women in film]but also create more visibility and support for female filmmakers and filmmakers.

Gina Prince-Bythewood is also involved in this initiative, and has recently contributed to column to THR on The King’s WomanAnd until And Saint Omar It was eliminated at the 95th Academy Awards. So, as a woman of color with two Academy Awards on her shelf, would you agree with Jenna’s position that the Academy still has a ways to go, especially in terms of black filmmakers and female directors?

I thought Jenna wrote a really deep, very deep understanding of what was going on. I was really touched by her article, and I definitely agree with her.

There was a situation recently when you gave Daniels first prize at the DGA Awards, and a media outlet mistook you as Stephanie Hsu. Something similar happened to Hong Zhao at the BAFTAs, too. Considering you’ve all reached the pinnacle of your profession, is it discouraging that this is happening in 2023?

Oh, I didn’t know that. amazing. By the way Stephanie is amazing. It’s incredible. I chatted with her a bit behind the scenes, and she seems to have some really interesting things cooking. So I’m really excited to see what you do next.

Do you think Everything everywhere at once Will you take the best photo this year?

Yes, I feel like that’s the case, but I don’t want to make sense of it, so I don’t anticipate. I have a bad record of doing that.

One of my favorite photos from last year includes Alejandro González Iñárritu appearing in court in Telluride smoking a cigarette, while I was sitting across from him and commenting on his every word. Is he now in the company of people like Denis Villeneuve who have been particularly supportive of you?

[He’s] It was really amazing. Even going to the DGA [Awards] And looking at all directors, there’s so much camaraderie between directors, and it’s amazing to be able to have this opportunity to be in the room with filmmakers whose work inspired me to be a filmmaker. Yeah, I hung on to every word he said.

In the same way that Iñárritu and Villeneuve have supported you, are you keen to connect with the lightning-fast female filmmakers?

Well, in 2021, I was in Venice when It is happening I won the Golden Lion, and I was able to be there for him [filmmaker] Audrey [Diwan] and have a conversation with her. I’ve tried certain things like that [with Nomadland and The Rider]And I understand the complexity of the situation. So, to be able to sit down with her and talk her through — and then hear later that it was helpful to her — reminded me that no matter how long or short your career is, you always have something to share and you’re always able to help someone else.

So, what can you tell me about this year’s Women in Film Oscars party?

It’s really cool. We have seven strong filmmakers and artists who are so diverse, unique and so original, Johnnie Walker has created a rug just for them. I just saw the graphics, and I’m really excited to see what they look like. Female friendship is not the easiest thing to achieve in this industry; It’s hard to find each other. So having an event like this that brings everyone together is always great. And for Johnnie Walker, supporting women in film through networking events as well as pouring money into projects directly is incredible, and that’s why I’m here.

Do you have existing relationships with the other female directors who are part of this campaign, such as Claire Denis, Janicza Bravo, and Anna Lily Amirpour?

I wish I had an existing relationship with Claire Denise, but no, I’m only watching from afar. But I’ve actually met Janicza, and she’s so amazing. She exists in another dimension entirely, and I told her she creates things I wouldn’t have even imagined. This is how her brain works. And I’m Lily, I’ve been in love with her since A Girl walking home alone at night. I remember when this movie was shown at Sundance, and it blew my mind.

What is the role of MUBI in the initiative?

Johnnie Walker makes a great collaboration with MUBI where you can get a 30-day free trial. They have a great storefront that they’ve curated for movies directed by women, and you have direct access to it. When they were showing it to me, I saw my own movie, and I said, “Oh, that’s cute.” So I watch MUBI, and I know there is an interface [for women directors] Exquisite and exciting.

As I told you in eternal junket, I’m a huge fan of your movie because you’ve done something new with Marvel in terms of storytelling and production method. And while there were rumors about eternal 2 For some time now, is this something you’re still interested in pursuing?

no comment.

The reaction to your film has been baffling because Marvel films are often criticized for not being unique enough from each other, but then your work has been criticized for not being familiar enough. Was that frustrating too?

When you’re at Marvel and when you’re dealing with an audience of this size, I really appreciate and respect that each of us is so unique. It’s so exciting that we’re all so different, and we’re all changing and growing every single day. But with a global audience, it’s almost impossible to make everyone completely happy, and to do so means everyone is the same. So I think there will inevitably be [difference of opinion]And you just have to stay true to the kind of movie you want to make and who you are and the people you’re collaborating with. That’s all you can really do, have a good time. Everything else is out of your control.

in Back to the futureWhen Marty finishes performing “Johnny B. Good” to a group of blank stares, he says, “I guess you guys aren’t ready for that yet, but your kids are going to love it.” He obviously already knew that rock and roll was going to catch on very soon, but the round point is that I think your movie will be positively re-evaluated as time goes on.

That is kind of you. Thank you. Made my day okay. When you make movies, eternity [is the goal] that you are lucky. You definitely don’t want to be making movies right now. But first you have to be honest with yourself, because at the end of the day, you are with yourself. So, if you’re lucky and your movie is getting old [well] With the audience and the culture, it’s a beautiful thing, and I’d be lucky if that happened.

Finally, it is your file Dracula The movie is still in development?

Yes, I’m writing the script now.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.