Backstage Interview Transcript | 84th Academy Awards

Best Picture


BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW
CATEGORY: Best Picture
INTERVIEW WITH: Thomas Langmann, Producer
FILM: "The Artist"

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Q. Hi. Congratulations. When your costume designer was in here earlier who won, he said that part of the texture that he did was because of film was shot in color. I'm curious to know, now having won this award, what are you going to do with all of the footage in color? Is there going to be another life for THE ARTIST perhaps in a different color?
A. No. Sorry, but...

Q. No. Fair enough.

Q. Congratulations.
A. Thank you.

Q. You know, this was one of the best run campaigns that I've seen. I just wondered if you had any political ambitions because it was a wonderful campaign for the film. But more than that, you made history tonight in terms of this being the first film in I don't even know how many years to come out that's black and white and win Best Picture honors. So, for you, how does it feel to be part of that particular part of history in terms of bringing back a style of film that we haven't seen in a long, long time?
A. Well, it's it's been an amazing journey. When we started this movie, you know, all the meetings that we had were very short. No one wanted to help us making a silent black and white movie. But I was convinced that Michel Hazanavicius was a very gifted director, and I thought that if we were giving him the money that he needed, if we could come and shoot in LA and with an American cast, American crew I was hoping that the movie I knew because it was silent black and white would be different, original. And all the weakness that were at the beginning became strength. So, now, of course, with all the award season and this amazing evening here at the Oscars and for us to be French, even if we come to American French movie, yes, it's thrilling, it's amazing. I'll never forget this evening.

And I remember I was thinking about my family because I my dad won a BAFTA and a Golden Globe, and an Oscar, and he was nominated 30 years ago for producer for TESS, by Roman Polanski, and he didn't win, but he won it in '66 for a short film. So, now I have all those beautiful objects that I can put next to his. So, for me it's very personal, and it's a beautiful evening.

Q. Congratulations.
A. Thank you.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the Weinsteins' contribution to the film?
A. Yes. But do you have enough time? Talking about Harvey takes a lot of time, but no, he's been very good to us. I asked him to come a month before Cannes, and he flew to France, watch a movie with the director he never heard of with the cast. He barely heard of Jean Dujardin because he knows about French cinema, but he came. And I was supposed to leave him alone in the screening room, and I stayed just to check the beginning was going okay. And I heard him laugh and laugh. So, I stayed through the whole screening. And he loved the movie, and I knew that Harvey sometimes say something very enthusiastic. So, he can be one day, and not the next day, but I saw in his eyes and his attitude that he really cared for the movie, and he really believed that we could be maybe here today. And I must say that I think he's the only distributor, even with this very special movie, who had been able to take it to where it is today.

Q. Hi, congratulations. I actually spoke with Richard Middleton yesterday, and he was talking about how no one was quite sure what was going to come of this film. When did you know that you had something special?
A. Well, day after day, watching the dailies, and first, read the script and then watching the first cut, and yeah, I was superstitious, right. People around me said there was something special, but I needed to show it. And the first real screening was in Cannes. So, in watching in Cannes, the reaction of the press, and I must say thank you to all of you in this room and all the countries, because this is typically the kind of movie that couldn't speak for itself. It had so many weaknesses, and you are ones with the press that made this movie what it is today. Because if there were no if there weren't all those articles saying how special the movie was and how it was justified for audience and for people to go and watch black and white, and silent, nobody will have gone to see it. So, thank you.

Q. A question and a half actually. Could you sum up what this means to you, five Oscars, Best Picture, and you just said you were superstitious. Did you have any kind of a good luck charm with you tonight?
A. Did I have any

Q. Have a good luck charm. You said you are superstitious.
A. I must say my daughter gave me a coin and that I had in my pocket. I didn't think we would win the Cesar, and we win. So, a few awards before Jean Dujardin, I told him, put this in your pocket. Then he win. And I went back to see him, and I said, "Give me back my daughter's coin," and it was in my pocket.
And I must say, winning five Oscars, you know, even before we win, when we heard we were nominated ten times, I mean, it was I don't think you even imagine how proud and happy we were. I mean, this is we did this movie as a tribute to Hollywood. A tribute to cinema and especially American cinema, but we never expected that in return, we would get so much care and love, and of course these awards that mean so much to us.

Q. Hi, congratulations on your win tonight. I was just curious, your film kind of recaptured the golden age of Hollywood cinema, and I was wondering what your thoughts are as to where cinema will be heading in the future?
A. Well, it's interesting to see in the present day with all those 3D movies, and I love all kind of movies, and I must say that as a producer mostly we do print movies, I do, and I'm proud of doing what you could call popcorn movies. And if I had not done movies that are easier for audiences to go and see, I will have I will have not the money in my company to put the risk. So, I think every kind of cinema helps another kind. And if this movie if THE ARTIST can help an independent producer and to be audacious, this is a great thing, because I've shown this movie to kids, and some of them had never seen a black and white movie, and they thought it was it would be really boring. And they said they watched it, and after five, ten minutes, they enjoyed it. So, as Michel Hazanavicius, the director said, silent is a way of telling the story. That is not maybe from the past that it's an experience and it's maybe as big as a 3D experience, even if it's was different.

So, we are really proud of this and all kind of cinema should exist. And I must say that it's amazing that it's here in America that all the fuss came and and all the great reports came about THE ARTIST. Even when we had success in France and Europe, but now because of your reaction, it's getting bigger and bigger in Europe. So, it's great.

Q. Thank you so much. Congratulations.
A. Thank you. Thank you.

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