Christine Vachon Talks ‘Superstar’ Barbie Controversy: ‘Mattel Did Pay a Visit to Our Office’ |

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Before Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie,” location was “Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story.”

“Mattel did salary a sojourn to our office,” said acclaimed shaper Christine Vachon astatine Karlovy Vary Film Festival. Back successful 1987, she was helping retired connected nan Todd Haynes and Cynthia Schneider-produced movie. The now-banned film, dedicated to Carpenter’s tragic life and her untimely passing, featured dolls alternatively of actors.

“Todd bought each these toys successful car shed sales. There were Barbies, but besides each these Barbie rip-offs, truthful he was capable to beryllium to Mattel that it was disconnected brand,” Vachon said successful speech with Variety world features editor Leo Barraclough.

While he appeased nan celebrated company, Carpenter’s family was little pleased, filing a suit against nan director.

“The logic he didn’t activity support for these songs was because he didn’t expect it would rustle up nan measurement it did,” Vachon said. “The movie made a tremendous splash, until we sewage a existent cease-and-desist order. He was capable to usage it to summation nan assurance to bring investors on, pinch my help, for his first characteristic ‘Poison’.”

Recently, Vachon collaborated pinch Haynes connected Cannes premiere “May December,” inspired by nan communicative of Mary Kay Letourneau and starring Julianne Moore, Natalie Portman and Charles Melton.

“It surprises maine really galore people, immoderate of whom were children erstwhile it happened, still retrieve this case. When thing tips complete nan zeitgeist to specified a degree, it’s irresistible not to look nether nan hood of that,” she said, underlining that its taxable matter and book still “scared people.”

But Vachon, besides known for “Boys Don’t Cry” and “Happiness,” is nary alien to controversy.

“It’s difficult for maine to wrap my caput astir [the question] if you could make ‘X’ movie today,” she said. “I americium not. I made it past and it was a different taste climate. I conjecture nan reply is: ‘Thank God I didn’t.’ It’s retired location and it exists, nary matter what group think.”

She continued, “Producing is for illustration childbirth. You person to hide really difficult it is, different you would ne'er do it. When I return 1 of these movies retired into nan world, and I spot nan effect it has connected an audience, that’s what it’s each about.”

While being honored astatine nan fest, wherever she has presented “You Sing Loud, I Sing Louder” and Celine Song’s Sundance smash “Past Lives,” Vachon opened up astir supporting first-time directors.

“That’s thing I really emotion to do. It’s really easy to get cynical successful this business, and cynicism is incredibly destructive. First-time board thin to beryllium making nan communicative they waited their full lives to tell. Their joyousness and exhilaration is thing that gets maine excited capable to support doing what I do,” she said. “The first clip we sat down pinch Celine, successful 2 minutes it was clear that she knew nan communicative she wanted to tell. She knew it truthful specifically and intimately. There are filmmakers wherever you recognize nan movie is already beautifully made successful their head. All you person to do is to thief get it out.”

During nan talk, she besides pondered nan early of independent cinema (“people person been dancing connected its sedate for a really agelong time. What we are really looking astatine now is what is going to hap to adult-driven drama”) and talked astir her institution Killer Films, founded successful 1996 pinch Pamela Koffler.

“What we do is really eclectic. We make movies that we consciousness are genuinely original, provocative and really person thing to say,” she said.

Asked whether much filmmakers should make politically-focused movies, she responded: “I americium ne'er going to commencement a condemnation pinch ‘filmmakers should.’ The group I activity pinch make bonzer imaginative choices, choices that are profoundly influenced by nan world they are surviving in. If we make stories that are existent and integrated to nan group telling them, they tin beryllium subversive and they tin alteration nan world. But I americium ne'er going to make a movie that ‘ticks boxes.’”