Precious to Violet & Daisy: Oscar-winning Screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher’s Directorial Debut

In the audacious new comedy-thriller Violet & Daisy, Saoirse Ronan and Alexis Bledel star as a pair of teenage assassins (and best friends), whose latest target—a sad sack loner (played by James Gandolfini)—leads them on a soul searching, bullet-laden journey.  Co-starring Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Danny Trejo, the hyper-stylized yet surprisingly emotional Violet & Daisy represents a change-of-pace for its Oscar-winning writer-director, Geoffrey Fletcher.

In 2010, Fletcher won the Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award for his work on the grim, naturalistic Precious. Violet & Daisy, which marks Fletcher’s directorial debut, couldn’t be more different. The movie hits theaters today. Just before its release, MM asked Fletcher about the offbeat Violet & Daisy (which premiered at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival), as well as how winning an Oscar affected his career.

Kyle Rupprecht (MM): How did the concept of Violet & Daisy come about? Was this a script that you’d been developing for a long time?

Geoffrey Fletcher (GF): I came up with the kernel of this idea just before I started writing Precious. I returned to it after Precious. It seemed that the more time I spent with the characters in Violet & Daisy, the more opportunities they presented in terms of telling a story that held as much humanity as it did entertainment value.

MM: Did you always intend for Violet & Daisy to be your directorial debut? Was there any advice you received beforehand that proved to be especially useful during the making of the movie?

GF: Violet & Daisy was foremost in my mind when I had the opportunity to direct. My approach while shooting was to trust the script because it was written in a more collected state than the one you’re in during production.

gfletcherMM: Why did you think Alexis Bledel and Saoirse Ronan were right for the lead roles? Did they bring anything unexpected to the characters?

GF: Both are such great talents. In addition to that, Alexis has a youthful essence and a mysterious way about her that was perfect for Violet. Saoirse is an old soul with wondrous curiosity, warmth and precision. They both bring something unexpected in virtually every scene of this film because they are doing things that you’ve never seen them do before. That would certainly apply to James Gandolfini here as well.

MM: The film mixes together many genres—dark comedy, violent thriller, coming of-age drama. How would you best describe Violet & Daisy?

GF: I would describe this film as a coming-of-age fable that blends and bends genres. It’s funny, sad, startling and strange. It also starts and ends in starkly different places. Through all of that, however, its primary themes of love, friendship and redemption come through quite clearly.

MM: New York City can be a notoriously difficult place to shoot an independent movie. Did you run into any challenges during filming?

GF: Shooting is such a challenge wherever you do it, but I had a great crew and I love New York so much, that I felt fortunate every day..

MM: How much did winning the Oscar affect your career? Did it open many industry doors? Were there any downsides?

GF: It affected my career profoundly. People would listen at last. Some of that started a little before the Oscars, though. The downsides have been few so far. There are a lot of people out there with a healthy curiosity about your next project, and there are some who are determined not to like it, no matter what it has to offer.

MM: What’s up next for you? Any projects you’re currently working on that you can tell us about?

GF: In addition to working with Doug Liman on Attica, I have a slew of ideas.

For more information about Violet & Daisy, click here.

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