Friends over at WhiteHousePost.com sent over an update to our previously posted Butterflies video by Gentleman Scholar featuring John Malkovich. If you haven’t seen it, it’s posted at the end of the interview below. It’s still mind-blowing/melting/fucked.
Butterflies: Creative Cross-Pollination Under the Whitehouse Roof
Saatchi featured Butterflies in the New Director’s Showcase this year at Cannes. If you’ve seen this short, odds are good that you still find yourself thinking about it. To answer your questions and give you some behind the scenes insight on Butterflies, we’ve grabbed Sandro (director), Josh Bodnar (editor) Gentleman Scholar (VFX).
“The direct inspiration,” explains Sandro “came from friends who are being let go, turning 50 and finding it nearly impossible to get rehired for more than a quarter of their previous salary. They lose their souls and their identity. To deal with this loss of job, family, and life, John [Malkovich]’s character collapses into drugs, alcohol, and pornography to escape his seemingly inescapable pain…eventually contemplating suicide – a very real issue as mid-life suicide rates rise.”
“John did – as always – an amazing job of translating this story,” Sandro explains. “I give him a little inspiration and he just transforms into character. He’s no longer John – truly, he can make the crew almost feel like they’re seeing a transformation while they watch. 15-20 minutes later, everyone is clapping and hugging – he could have the smallest part and alter the whole dynamic.”
“David Lynch was a huge influence,” adds Sandro. “Blue Velvet – the character he created in Frank (Dennis Hopper), how he transformed Frank into evil – evil that made your hair stand on end – this was definitely an influence with John. Frank was a man we feared, while John is more afraid of himself and we are afraid of becoming him.”
“The visuals were obviously an important part of this story,” adds Sandro. “Angela Finney built this beautiful cage-like set in my studio. I told her that we needed to be able to smell the beer, the cum, the smoke, the scum – how he lives in the chair to the point that they almost become extensions of each other…then Josh and Gentleman Scholar really polished it all and brought it together.”
“In fact,” adds Sandro, “Josh was the most important part of bringing me into motion – he really challenged me and told me that it was time that I got into this world. Josh really got me involved and began editing everything I was doing. Our communication was so clear and powerful and he got what I wanted.”
“When, for instance,” says Sandro, “I introduced Butterflies and the idea behind the graphics, I told him that I wanted it to look like the beginning of Seven – that I wanted to take Seven and multiply it by 10 and really go dark and evil and gritty with it. I wanted to bring something eerie and revolting to the piece.”
“I gave Josh around 150 still images and about 15-20 minutes of motion, captured simultaneously on two cameras running next to each other,” continues Sandro. “Josh edited that down to 1:20 and sent it to Gentleman Scholar. Josh communicated what I wanted and Gentleman Scholar blew it out of the water. Josh has been nuclear in the creation of Butterflies.”
“Sandro and I have been friends for several years,” explains Josh. “We’re very much alike