“Saltburn; Scream 7 in Crisis” w. Todd Haynes | Crooked Media
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November 29, 2023
Keep It
“Saltburn; Scream 7 in Crisis” w. Todd Haynes

In This Episode

Ira and Louis discuss the polarizing thriller Saltburn, Melissa Barrera’s exit from Scream 7, the rise of Tate McRae, Squid Game: The Challenge, and more on Barbra Streisand’s memoir. Todd Haynes joins to discuss his latest masterpiece May/December, his previous films, and the pop culture he’s obsessed with.






Ira Madison III And we are back with an all new Keep It. I’m Ira Madison, the third.


Louis Virtel I’m Louis Virtel. I can already sense you’re going at half speed. It seems to have been a longish weekend for you.


Ira Madison III You know.


Louis Virtel I can hear.


Ira Madison III A lot of revelry.


Louis Virtel Yeah.


Ira Madison III A lot of tating around, as it were.


Louis Virtel Oh, you’re getting Mc-Crazy.


Ira Madison III Yeah. Listen, I’m Mc-Racist. Okay?


Louis Virtel I don’t know if I am. I heard a lot of McRae music over the weekend because I was in Puerto Vallarta, and one of my housemates, Justin, decided to be a just complete McRae propagandist the entire time. Like, we would be eating dinner and he’d be like, Has anybody heard the new tape McRae song? It was like, You have you’ve heard of one musical artist. I enjoy her. I enjoy that. We have an artist whose, like, whole thing is, like, really athletic dance. I call her Janet on tape, McRae. You know what I’m saying?


Ira Madison III That’s a that’s a good reference. That’s a good. She is very she is very athletic. She seems like she could guest appear on Buffy.


Louis Virtel Yes, precisely. With, like, all the, like, halters and stuff they wore.


Ira Madison III Yeah. I’m really loving the vibe of dancing, breathy vocals, Sean Bankhead choreography at the Billboard Music Awards. It’s giving us too early, Britney. And that’s really just all I think, the gays have ever wanted. They’re constantly talking about Britney. They were constantly talking about Britney’s memoir. And I think that we’re ready to let Britney, you know, be an adult now and let someone else give some pop vocals, almost pop vocals and some dancing. You know?


Louis Virtel Yeah. Yeah. No, she does sound like she’s playing a shy Disney character all the time. Like the I don’t know if that’s quite singing, but I’m also I have to say, I am mesmerized by how fucking young this person is, too. She’s 21 years old, and she’s already she was like, she got third on. So You Think You Can Dance, which.


Ira Madison III Is next generation.


Louis Virtel Yes. And I think the first Canadian to land in the top three. I don’t know if that’s like should she be on Canadian money? I have no idea. But. You know, the SNL performance was good. I mean, I’ll say this. People are heralding her as like, oh, finally, dance is back in pop. Not that it completely went away, but I do think it’s important that we have a range of pop stars who bring different things, specifically as it pertains to like what we’ll see from them at an awards show. So you get all the pop stars who have the vocals, you get the pop stars.


Ira Madison III Renee Rapp.


Louis Virtel Dance moves. Yes, exactly. So it’s nice that we’re re diversified because once upon a time, like, you know, if the year was 1990, basically everybody was Tate McRae, in terms of like, you had to bring all this choreography, you had to bring, you know, a certain kind of vocal styling. You know, everybody was kind of Paula Abdul once upon a time, and now we don’t really have that as much anymore.


Ira Madison III And I like that we are able to delineate the pop and the R&B girls a bit more now because there was a lot of chatter online about how well we already have these pop girls with Victoria Monet, with Normani, with Tinashe. It was like, first of all, we don’t even have Normani. She’s not even in the building. Okay.


Louis Virtel Yeah, we lost track of her. Yeah.


Ira Madison III But Victoria and Tinashe, like, they’re doing R&B specifically, you know, and they don’t know their songs like Move Over into the pop Land. I think we should be able to also be like, This is R&B, this is pop, and sometimes people do cross back and forth. Motivation was a pop song, you know. But Normani doesn’t seem to want to release pop music so.


Louis Virtel Precisely. Or not music, really? Categorically, I’m excited for Tate McRae. I am expecting a little more X factor in the future though. Like when I listen to Greedy, I don’t feel like it’s teaming with a POV, so to speak, other than I can sense the songwriters behind it. And maybe it was shopped to a bunch of other people before I got to her, but I know.


Ira Madison III It is Ryan Tedder.


Louis Virtel Yeah, see, that’s.


Ira Madison III And we know what he does. Yeah. Let us not forget the Kelly Clarkson – Beyonce debacle.


Louis Virtel Yes. Oh. Yes. Legendary.


Ira Madison III Yeah. Exact same fucking song. Right? Yeah. It feels shopped around. I mean, listen, hopefully she can link up with one of the Swedes, because that’s. That’s really where we get it going. Okay. She needs the baby one more time. She needs a sometimes that. Those are POVs in pop music. Even Genie In A Bottle, You know, like, rub me the right way.


Louis Virtel I think Genie in a Bottle is her best song. I long sad that it’s like both a pop song and like a Toni Braxton R&B song put together. I. Sexy a song she ever released. And boy, did she try to be sexy after that. Boy, did.


Ira Madison III She. And also Whitney picked her to sing at a tribute for her once upon a time. And I always say that I really kind of wish that she had kept going the route of that first album because the first Christina Aguilera album, my grandmother used to always say, Put that Christina girl on, you know, because the album was pop. But it was giving Whitney’s first album, like You Give Good Love, you know? It was it was very much pop, but with some R&B slinky ness to it. And I think with her vocals and the way that her career seemed like it was going with the first album, Christina could have been like, Oh, wait, Whitney, You know, for our generation. But as soon as, you know, the chaps came out, it was kind of over.


Louis Virtel Right. She also just she just got into over singing too quickly. I think on the first album, it’s like just the right amount of, Oh, you’re a really good singer. And also this is a really good pop hook. You know what? They weren’t competing with each other to happen.


Ira Madison III You know who learned? Ariana Grande. Because if you recall her first album, with all the Mariah comparisons, it was a lot of hitting these notes, giving you this over singing. And then I feel like she pulled back right now.


Louis Virtel She wanted to be a cooler artist. And I have to say, you know, Christina was never going for cool because the secret is she isn’t. She would rather just be known out loud, which also, again, is a niche like some people love to be like too loud to fall over when they hear a singer.


Ira Madison III Except when you watch all the videos of Christina with like, the paparazzi and everything. Walk around with Lala, who has been friends with everybody in the industry at some point ever. And I’m not talking about Vanderpump rules, Lala bitches. I’m talking about the original Lala. She, remember when she would walk around talking like she was a Crip?


Louis Virtel Also.


Ira Madison III When she came on, she’d be like, Hey, yo, what’s up? Hey, MTV, My mom. Where are you from?


Louis Virtel And the answer is the Mickey Mouse Club. Yeah. I know where you’re from. Your childhood is on television.


Ira Madison III The streets of Orlando.


Louis Virtel Yeah, right. You’re from the Magic Kingdom, motherfucker.


Ira Madison III Yeah. All right, We’ve got a fun episode. We have. We always have icons coming through.


Louis Virtel We tend. To. We tend to.


Ira Madison III Yeah, we tend to, but. But we have a real icon this week. We interviewed.


Louis Virtel As in like. Yeah. Then like when we heard we were getting this interview, it was like Ira and Louis, you better snap it together. You better have that.


Ira Madison III You better step it up.


Louis Virtel Yeah, you you better be watching some films. Remembering some films.


Ira Madison III Well, if you, you know, are one of the Keep It listeners who loves to look for clues in our social media like you like your Swifties. Uh Huh. I feel like sometimes you can sense that. And if you sense that I was watching a lot of Todd Haynes films the past couple of weeks, I was researching because we interviewed Todd Haynes.


Louis Virtel Whom I had met years ago at a junket for Carol, and I kind of thought, Well, my life piqued that I won’t have the opportunity to do this again. And lo and behold, he was re delivered back to us. I mean, getting into so many we get into so many of his movies. And then also just like he is such a traditional, like real fagot, like loves pop culture, old and new. And we get into that with him. I’m so thrilled to share that with everyone.


Ira Madison III And then speaking of pop culture, old and new. We’re going to talk about Saltburn this week.


Louis Virtel Yes, we had Emerald here last week who is a doll lovely to talk to. And this is a movie that I think I’ve thought about more than most other movies I’ve seen this year. And you’ll see why that’s interesting when we get into it.


Ira Madison III But right. Whatever you think about Saltburn, you cannot deny that the girls are talking.


Louis Virtel Yeah, right. In fact, they’re yapping, which is a dead word that must be brought back because that’s what people are doing. You go on Twitter today, they were yapping. They were yapping.


Ira Madison III I love I love using that word. I use it like in everyday speech all the time. I’m always saying that someone’s either yapping or caterwauling.


Louis Virtel Yeah, caterwauling. That’s good. Yeah.


Ira Madison III We are. And then also breaking news. Louis and I will not be in Scream VII.


Louis Virtel I know. And I keep the people are clamoring outside the gates of whatever it is. Are they in Century City? I have no idea. Culver City.


Ira Madison III Melissa Barrera is out of Scream VII. Jenna Ortega is out of Scream VII, Me Gente Latina. We’re going to talk about the Scream. Sounds available as well. So we will be right back with more Keep It.




Ira Madison III Obviously the ongoing war in Palestine has had a global effect. It has led to many celebrities to speak out in support of Israel or Palestine. However, it seems to be the celebrities who speak out in favor of Palestinian people who are the ones being punished, fired or secretly emailed about at their jobs. And that includes Melissa Barrera, who was dismissed from the Scream franchise last week, which she helped resurrect, by the way, posting anti-Israel comments on Instagram, meanwhile. No snap is running around with his Zionism are sexy stickers. Which Zionism aside, that is supremely uncool behavior in general. Just running around with stickers for any religion is goofy.


Louis Virtel Yeah, stickers are kind of for the pediatrician’s office. I don’t know.


Ira Madison III I’m like, What are you linking up with kids from Brigham Young University to why I love Jebediah or whoever he is.


Louis Virtel Who could be your teacher or your brother over there. It’s interesting. First of all, I mean, it puts you in the strange position of needing to defend Melissa Barrera. I mean, like, I’m just not obsessed with what she brings to scream, necessarily. And now I’m like, Melissa Barrera is what we all stand for. It’s just a strange transition for me. But secondly, it’s weird because we were just talking recently about how Scream is probably the best horror franchise. Like you can at least expect some level of quality or an attempt at ingenuity or money thrown at the franchise. So you don’t feel like you’re just getting like a cheap knockoff of five iterations ago. That said, still not good enough for me to keep watching if this is what’s going to happen. You know what I mean? Like, I could I throw that away too. And I do have to say, ultimately, Scream has gotten away from the thing that made it amazing when it came out, which is, what if somebody got into your fucking home? Like, it’s like they’re over that. It’s like they’re well past that. Not only no, he’s just in your house. You have to accept that. But know, like, my nightmares at night are still about home invasions. And I feel like we’ve gotten away from the terror of someone being able to zero in on exactly where you are, get into your house and trap you.


Ira Madison III Yeah, I think that another thing that was going on with script was with this need to up the ante Each time the rumored plot for Scream VII was going to take place at Christmas, it was going to involve Jenna Ortega and Melissa Barrera visiting their estranged mother, who’s only been mentioned in the previous two films. And obviously they were trying to rush it out so that it could be released around Christmas time next year. Wow. Talk about throwing money at this franchise. It seems like the franchise was already a mess before Melissa was posted in support of Paul Aside because Jenna Ortega wasn’t even going to be in this damn film, according to Deadline. And we know, right? We just went through a writers strike and we know that Deadline is a studio show that makes up lies. So they could just be lying for Spyglass Entertainment, the production company behind the Scream franchise reboot. But. It still goes to say that if you are trying to rush a movie out and get it done and shot so that it can be released around Christmas next year. And your lead, General Ortega, is in this huge Ash Wednesday and also shooting Beetlejuice two. Maybe you’re not really figuring things out correctly.


Louis Virtel Right.


Ira Madison III You know?


Louis Virtel Also, do we just cast Joanna Ortega and reboots of anything with dark haired actresses? Like, is she going to be in like the Moonstruck reboot? You know what I’m saying?


Ira Madison III How do you say step out of it in Spanish? Yeah.


Louis Virtel I feel bad also for like the other cast members in the Scream movie. Like if you’re Jasmine, Savoy, Brown or whatever you like, what the hell am I supposed to do? Like, is.


Ira Madison III Was she even going to be in this fucking movie?


Louis Virtel Who knows? You’re right. What am I?


Ira Madison III Because I feel like she was going to be shooting Yellowjackets.


Louis Virtel Yeah. Right, Right. Who knows? Who knows?


Ira Madison III And now you’ve got Spyglass. They really tried to turn shit around after they dropped Melissa. Which, by the way, Melissa’s exact post on her Instagram was calling everyone together with nowhere to go, no electricity, no water. People have learned nothing from our history. And just like our history is, people are still silently watching it all happen. This is genocide and ethnic cleansing, by the way. The U.N. is saying this.


Louis Virtel No, like this.


Ira Madison III This is not something that she’s just just like pulling from anti Semitism daily. Okay. Right.


Louis Virtel No, it was what she wrote was characterized as like playing on tropes of like, Jews run Hollywood. No, it’s not. I mean, like, I don’t even feel like that is even like 1/100.


Ira Madison III True. Let me tell you what. Let me tell you was playing on that trope. People being fired for speaking out against Israel. That might be playing on the trope of the spyglass. A statement was Spyglass. A stance is unequivocally clear. We have zero tolerance for anti-Semitism or the incitement of hate in any form, including false references to genocide, ethnic cleansing, holocaust distortion or anything that flagrantly crosses the line. It’s a hate speech. And, well, when you have the U.N. and other officials actually using the word genocide and what is happening is tipping very much into that are saying someone is creating false instances of genocide. It seems like you’re opening your opening yourself up to being sued for defamation.


Louis Virtel It just feels like all of this is going to age immediately poorly tomorrow or if not today. I just it’s like, I don’t understand. I’m just like. The hands controlling all of these moves. It just feels very, very weird and scary and disorienting. What the fuck? What industry are we in?


Ira Madison III It felt very weird with the report to that Marc Platt emailing to try and get boots. Riley dropped by agency because he objected to a film from the IDF. Is this where we are? And that also boosted the lower grade dropped because one, he’s actually Jewish. And I feel like there have been a lot of mostly just like people of color having things happen to them for speaking out in support of Palestine. And then also women like Susan Sarandon. But there’s this weird sort of like, okay, I gotcha. I’m actually Jewish too, so I’m allowed to say whatever I want to say. And now you can’t fire me. You know, like if Boots Riley wasn’t Jewish, said what would have happened.


Louis Virtel Right. Right. Also, I mean, it’s just interesting that at this point, I mean, Susan Sarandon has always been outspoken politically, and yet this finally is the moment where it feels like someone has taken like a step against her, too. I think that’s completely telling. You know.


Ira Madison III You didn’t drop her for you didn’t drop her for all that Bernie shit?


Louis Virtel Or specifically the tweet after the election when she’s like when she said something like, well, the future is can only get brighter from here or whatever she said, after all. I love Susan Sarandon. I just want to say.


Ira Madison III I do, too. And honestly, the best thing that came out of this was finding out how funny her son is.


Louis Virtel Oh, yeah. And she’s got a couple of them I worked with one of them at Kimmel.


Ira Madison III Oh, she’s got multiple?


Louis Virtel It seems.


Ira Madison III I don’t really know that much about Susan Sarandon life, to be honest.


Louis Virtel I just pretty much Atlantic City recently. It’s one of my favorite Susan Sarandon performances with Mr. Burt Lancaster finally giving a great performance after Elmer Gantry. See how I brought this back to the 50s and 60s?


Ira Madison III I do love her as Sister Prejean.


Louis Virtel Oh yes. Dead Man Walking. Sure.


Ira Madison III Yeah. My favorite French nun.


Louis Virtel Actually, never bad. Susan Sarandon is good and everything. She’s so believable. She’s so down to earth. And movies.


Ira Madison III I mean, obviously. Yes, there’s Thelma and Louise, but she actually has looking at her filmography, she’s actually been in a ton of shit I love. I just don’t ever really think of Susan Sarandon recently, except for when she’s feuding with Debra messing.


Louis Virtel Which unfortunately is the funniest feud of all time. I mean, like the Hatfields and McCoys of stressed out actresses.


Ira Madison III Honestly, my favorite, Susan Sarandon is probably Step Mom.


Louis Virtel Oh, she’s amazing in that movie. Jesus Christ. Also, it’s like movies that shouldn’t be any good like Lorenzo’s Oil. She, like, is staggering in awe.


Ira Madison III The Banger Sisters.


Louis Virtel Which was a banger, that’s why they named it that. Term They were like, We’re going to call this The Banger Sisters.


Ira Madison III What is she and Goldie up to? Let’s let’s get the Banger Sisters two.


Louis Virtel Also like the other star, Susan Sarandon, anything. She’s in the movie, Tammy playing Tammy’s mom. That’s like a kooky comedy. Who would think to put Susan Sarandon in that? And yet she kind of belongs not that that’s a wonderful movie or anything.


Ira Madison III It said awful movie.


Louis Virtel Has anybody seen Jamie yet?


Ira Madison III Oh, I don’t think so.


Louis Virtel Which, you know what? I will be seeing it. Apparently, it’s not a benefit. Conjoint, but shocked me.


Ira Madison III Last thing I’ll say about this is random. Before we go back to the topic, you know what movie she’s also really good at. Hmm. Shall We Dance?


Louis Virtel I have not seen. Or shall we dance? In fact, I get that mixed up with Dance with Me.


Ira Madison III Oh, yeah. That’s our Richard Geer and J-Lo, make it to Latina. Now.


Louis Virtel Also, the things we have just thrown Richard Geer in. So strange where we think he belongs. He wasn’t exactly in the movie Unfaithful all the time. Everything should be centered around that.


Ira Madison III Anyway, Scream VII sounds like a big disaster now. And also.


Louis Virtel And what the director said was like it was strange to.


Ira Madison III Draw. I mean, and I love Chris Lillard. It’s gay.


Louis Virtel Yeah, me too, you know. Yeah, right.


Ira Madison III I love Freaky. Happy Death Day. I love Happy Death Day To You, you know. But. His statement, which was basically.


Louis Virtel It was like dot, dot, dot, this sucks. Dot, dot, dot.


Ira Madison III This sucks. Everyone stop yelling. This wasn’t my decision. Heartbreak. Emoji. Sir, you’re an adult.


Louis Virtel Here we go. We’ve gotten a little faster with the emojis. They don’t belong everywhere.


Ira Madison III So. I don’t know, man. It just feels like. It kind of really sucks. And Spyglass really tried to show for us with that statement too, and I just feel like I don’t want to support any further screen movie if they’re making it. And especially with our Melissa was treated by being dropped from the movie like this, I would side eye anyone who signed on to the movie to replace her.


Louis Virtel Even Nev Campbell?


Ira Madison III Yeah, but also I don’t think Nev Campbell is doing that shit.


Louis Virtel That would be pretty wild at this point. Yeah.


Ira Madison III They really pushed that narrative the day after their statement came out because they were trying to, you know, change the story around. If you don’t like what people are saying. Change the narrative, as Don Draper said.


Louis Virtel About our hero.


Ira Madison III That was that was really deadline during the studio. Shilling Because the way they disrespected her with lowballing her before, why would she come back to them, especially after they did this to Melissa and especially after Jenna’s not in the movie? Like, you want me to come back and resuscitate this franchise that you basically just stabbed yourself.


Louis Virtel Right. But now Campbell is one of those people are like, well, she’s not in stuff all the time. Like, I don’t know what the financial situation is. Here’s the most gigantic payday she will ever be able to get for herself. I say this affectionately as a net, Campbell And specifically that Campbell said, I Stan. But so it’s like she would have reason to return to this since it’s like her friend, you know, it’s like if you throw enough money to Kim Cattrall, she does appear on Sex and the City, you know what I’m saying?


Ira Madison III So Nev sitting in a car on your phone.


Louis Virtel You think you’re kidding? I think that’s the kind of cameo I bet you get from her. Saying the word dewy and looking out the window before she hangs up. Yeah.


Ira Madison III The ideal cameo I would love from her is In a Better World where Spyglass says that making this movie is you get the opening Kelsey with her, but her phone rings, she answers it, It’s Ghostface. And she’s like, Absolutely not. And she goes about her day and it goes, creeps ever. But you never see her again.


Louis Virtel Maybe she stabs the phone or something. I don’t know. You get into some Dada art out there.


Ira Madison III She’s like I’m not doing that shit, but have a good day. Yeah. Anyway, when we’re back, we sit down with someone who actually knows what they’re doing when it comes to making movies. Todd Haynes.


Louis Virtel [AD]


Ira Madison III So our guest today is a certified master of his field, a director known for bringing life to provocative, complex characters, often played by Julianne Moore and representing powerful artists from Bob Dylan to Karen Carpenter and more human and intricate lights. He’s back with his new film, May-December, starring Natalie Portman and the aforementioned frequent collaborator, Julianne Moore. We’re very excited to have with us today Todd Haynes.


Todd Haynes Hi, Ira. Hey Louis.


Ira Madison III Hi.


Louis Virtel God, we are so psyched to have you. We are gay men who like movies, so we’re sort of in Todd Haynes racket.


Ira Madison III Yeah. I have to ask about May-December, which is a film starring Julianne Moore as sort of this almost Mary Kay Letourneau character. You know, she quite had an affair with a seventh grader in her 30s. And then we flash forward to Natalie Portman, who is a Hollywood actress, who is visiting them to play Julianne Moore. And she is, you know, digging into their life. And, you know, the film has, you know, so many of your usual qualities of melodrama and, you know, pulling from so many of your cultural references. And I have to ask, as a person who loves culture so much, you know, you, Karen Carpenter, Bob Dylan, you know everything that you mined from. What’s it like working on a film like this where you didn’t write the script? It came to you from Natalie, I believe, because she had wanted to work with you. What’s it like when you get a script that isn’t something that you crafted yourself and you’re finding a way to tap into, I guess all of the things that are in your brain and make it yours.


Todd Haynes You know, really, Ira, this has been I’ve been doing this for four. I’ve been working in this way for a while now since Carol was the first script that came to me that that I didn’t originate myself. And it’s been such a great sort of broadening of the vernacular of options and and the methods that, you know, I would always hear a director saying, I have a lot of things going and different things at different stages that I’m I was always like, wow, how do they do that? You know, like I was I was so single minded on the thing that I was, you know, developing and writing and producing and seeing completely from insemination all the way through to the end. And this has been a really nice part of part of it is just that you you can have different things in different stages. And it’s and were that not the case, in fact May Decemeber wouldn’t have been able to take grab the sudden availability of last fall and in that we all shared for a second with me and Natalie and and Julie and our schedules lining up and deciding like because other stuff we had all been doing shifted and changed, which is just what happens. And so we went for it and made it possible. But all, but, all. But I’ll speak a little more, I think, to what you’re maybe really asking or maybe is that. You know, the scripts that I that I have written are almost always interpretations, interpretations. Appropriations or ways or critiques or ways of looking at existing. Language, culture, history, stories of Bob Dylan’s lives. And. And and the glam rock artists of the 1970s. Or the films of Douglas Sirk or. And. And so I always feel like I’m already in this position of taking things that we all that come out of our common languages and common stories and and finding new ways of combining those elements and looking at them and. And so it never felt like such a wild deviation to go to. And then and then the last film I did, the last project I made before Carol Came My Way was my adaptation of James M Cain’s Mildred Pierce.


Ira Madison III Yes, absolutely.


Todd Haynes That I did with my my partner, John Raymond, who lives in Portland. And that was just that was like, wow, look what they had done to his look, what they’d done to my song, Ma. It was and Kane’s intentions and original book of Mildred Pierce and what what Warner Brothers had done with the the, you know, the beautiful Michael Curtiz version of that film. But it was basically turning it back into a crime drama, which it wasn’t as a novel. He was really trying to do something quite differently. And we loved what was different about the book and its own integrity and meant that the source material for Mildred Pierce. So again, it’s just all of these, I don’t know, different examples of of being really. You know, interested and curious and wanting to sort of recombine elements of things that we may have seen before or that we bring as knowledge as viewers of movies to what we see.


Louis Virtel Or get back to the older stuff you’ve done momentarily. But it must be said about both Julianne and Natalie in this movie that they’re playing characters I’ve not seen either of them do before, and they’re making choices that are both. Down to earth and very eerie. Mike as it goes on, I’m like, Oh, these are two of the weirder characters they’ve ever played. What was it like working with them, crafting these characters? Did they have these sort of quote unquote finished from the jump, or did you have to finesse it as it went along?


Todd Haynes It was. It was I guess if I had to pick between those those two options, they it was finished from the jump to the degree that we we had to jump in and go. There was no rehearsal time. There was no way to reshoot scenes. We didn’t have any. We really didn’t have any margin of error in the schedule or in the the visual strategy of how to shoot this film with this kind of austere, you know, often single shot setups for scenes or scenes designed around mirrors in bathrooms or or ladies rooms or dress stores or so forth. And that created another kind of container, I guess, for. A very complicated story that keeps shifting under your feet as you watch it unfold, particularly how you feel about these characters and what you’re what your expectations are for who they are, and then how those expectations start to shift, particularly around the character of Elizabeth that Natalie plays. And and so, yeah, the I felt like the first the containers that I brought to it, which are both visual but also in the the use of music. And then the sort of tonal elements were ways that put us all together in a sort of conceptual framework and stylistic. Environment for the film. But it also made it was also practical in that there was a great economy to this way of shooting the film and we had to get right to it. But all to say that we were basically flying without a net, there was no other way that we covered the scenes. If they didn’t work out this way in the editing room, there was really no options. And and what that meant is that without rehearsal and with so many scenes where actors are basically performing the whole scene in so many examples in one shot. They were producing. These representations of these two women right in front of you in real time and. And so that put a tremendous burden on these actors, but it also gave them freedom in some ways because they could just sort of exist with each other on on screen and let that time and those pauses bristle with tension and, and look and a small looks and things that we were we are allowed to take in in real time end up having great impact.


Ira Madison III Hmm. One of the things I truly love about getting to see a director’s body of work is, you know, the people that they continue to work with. And you’ve worked with Julianne multiple times. What’s it like coming in to May-December with her? I just recently rewatched Safe and Far From Heaven and seeing, you know, she’s playing this housewife and sort of all three of them, but she’s such a different version of a housewife in all of them. She’s unspooling and safe and, you know, she’s trying to find love as her marriage is crumbling and far from heaven. And in this, she’s really more of like, you see, sort of like a panther sort of by the end, you know, I think it’s one of her definitely, as Louis said, one of her eeriest roles, one of her roles where I think as a housewife, she has more control than she’s ever had on screen in one of these roles. I guess I just want to ask what it’s been like working with her from film to film and what sort of differences you’ve noticed in this film versus when you first worked with her on Safe.


Todd Haynes Um. There’s a lot in that in, in that really interesting question. And just on the very on the very sort of sense of what it’s like to work with her and how I seen her change every time has been. Such an amazing singular sort of experience unto itself. You know, as each film is sort of its own, you know, beast. But what was just so crazy is that when we first met on on Safe that is that I still think is one of the most, you know, one of the most challenging roles that one could ever ask an actor to embody. Because it almost like asking somebody to play a person who wasn’t there. And and to play in in negation of all the things we expect a character to use to make themselves seen and felt and present, that she was completely reactive. She was somebody you meet at a party and you wouldn’t remember the first thing about the next day. She was unremarkable in every way. And she was a cipher to herself. And that was the sort of precondition of her. And then then all of this things started to happen to her. But Julianne came with such a complete sense of how she heard Carole White’s voice and and who this woman might be. And she said, I think she’s she said this in over the years and as we’ve talked about it. And she said to her agent, like, I love this script. I really am connected. The script, it’s really something special. And and I, I have an idea. It’s very specific about who this woman is. And the agent was like, well, you don’t have to read. You’re not going to read for him. And she’s like, No, I’m going to read for him because I want to show him what I’m thinking. And if it’s not, if it doesn’t fit what he’s thinking, then that’s fine. That’s it. If it does, great. And that’s exactly what she did. And it so went beyond fitting what I was thinking. It completely filled in spaces that were yet to be filled in, which is what you know, which is just what happens in, in, in big and small ways with almost every effective piece of casting that you do in a movie, because you’re always moving from something that’s a that’s a, you know, a blueprint for the next stage from script. Even the dailies is a blueprint for what you’re going to cut. And everything is, you know, you have to keep shifting what it is you think you’re doing or what’s in front of your face and adjusting to it, kneeling to it. But but, yes, this character of Gracie Atherton, you that that Julianne plays and make December is is something else. And so and so is Elizabeth. And it turns out these are women who are as you as you’re as you’re describing, driving the story with their willful desires and needs and and power in a way over over the men around them. And that’s quite different from the other kinds of female characters that have usually been the subject of my movies.


Ira Madison III Mm hmm.


Louis Virtel I also think of you as one of these Almodovar like people where if you get cast in a Todd Haynes movie, it’s like you won’t believe what you’re going to do. Like, there’s lots of things that there’s like completely new to this role that they haven’t done in other roles. This is a broad question about your career, but do you have any favorite casting moments where you got to see an actor do something they had never done before and were maybe even surprised what they came up with on the screen?


Todd Haynes I have a law, I have a lot of those. And it’ll be the kind of question that after I answer it, Oh, I should have mentioned that one. I mean, as you describe it in real time, I just immediately thought of Toni Collette.


Louis Virtel I was going to bring her up, too. Yes, in that movie.


Ira Madison III Yeah.


Todd Haynes In, in.


Ira Madison III Velvet.


Todd Haynes Not in Velvet Gold Mine.


Ira Madison III We asked her about that role recently.


Todd Haynes Really?


Ira Madison III And she had. She described working on it with you and just like how much she tapped into that role and remembers that very fondly.


Todd Haynes I mean, and and and to set the stage on the casting of Tony in that role because she was doing another film. She was clearly somebody at the top of our list, but she was unavailable to audition. She was I forget what it was or where she was and why she was really, truly not available. And we conducted a casting search for the role of Mandy, and I was working with Laura Rosenthal in New York, and that was my first time working with Laura. And we’ve continued to work on all of my movies ever since. But we were also working with the amazing Susie Figgis, the English casting director out of the UK, and I saw what I felt like. I saw every actor, every female actor in that age category that was brought to me with the special attention of their of these casting directors. I saw so many brilliant actors that year, but it was such a hard role to cast. That no one very you know. Time and time again, the Americans and the Brits had a hard time understanding the sort of hybrid nature of mandate. And Nandy with Mandy was, of course, inspired by Angela Bowie, who who would switch from an English accent to an American accent in mid-sentence and who would say darling. And she was just this vestige of a kind of femininity, a kind of theatrical, artificial, almost camp femininity that. Well, you know, let’s face it, it was a relief when Patti Smith came along and said, we’re not going to act that way anymore, you know. And everything changed from that time. And but all of a sudden, it was very hard to locate that in in in our in the not in the 90s in the mid 90s as an example, there was a Liza minnelli was sort of the last example of that and it but it had to be that. And so it was the it was the office of course. To understand British culture and American culture probably better than either cultures do themselves. Right. And so she could navigate that place. She also just got to be and she doesn’t always get to be this and she hadn’t really up until that time. And I don’t know every movie she’s she’s she’s done since. But she got to be the sexiest most of such a arousing sensual presence in the movie. And she’s so beautiful and always was, you know, But you got to really play that part of her beauty and in the movie.


Ira Madison III Are circling back to Louis who just brought up truly one of my favorite directors that I bring up on this podcast all the time. Almodovar I consider you and him sort of kindred in a sense that I feel like you were coming out of the new queer cinema when you did Poison, and that’s such a very, you know, transgressive film and it was very polarizing when it came out. And in form, it’s very different than how your films have sort of become now. But when I look at his films, you know, particularly the ones from the 80s, like they’re very queer, very loud, very out there. Critics are like, What the fuck is going on here? And now you know, he’s making Volver and Broken Embraces and you know, it’s sort of aged into he’s writing about different stories as he ages in his life. And I’m just wondering if you feel like your sensibilities have changed a bit as you’ve gotten older and made more films or if you still sort of have some of that. I’m fighting against the system spirit that you had when you were making that film. Although I feel like culture has changed a bit now where you can make sort of more transgressive films and they won’t be as polarizing as, you know, Poison was when it first came out.


Todd Haynes Yeah. Or more polarizing. Than ever imagined. It’s a scary. It’s a scary world out there right now. It’s hard to even understand how polarized it is and how extreme the far right has gone off the reservation. And how dangerous it is, I thought. I felt I was seeing the excesses of the far right and its language and its impact in the in the 90, in the 80s and 90s. And it’s all been under the umbrella of conservative. The conservative era that really was inaugurated was with with Reagan. There was a try out session with Goldwater which which kind of scared people and put the Republican Party in retreat for a while. But and it’s really tough to watch out for that. The roots grow deep and the fruit that it ultimately bears can be much more poisonous than what you ever imagined. And I think that’s been happening almost since 1980 with Reagan. To the degree that Reagan and Goldwater would be appalled by what’s happening today in their own party. It’s just that much of a runaway train. But. But I but no, I think we’re never the same as we are when we’re young. We’re never driven by the same kind of hormonal and social and cultural sort of, you know, forces. And of course, the culture that you find yourself, you don’t choose it. It’s the one that is you fall into that’s that is your fate to be confronted with at various times of your life. For me, in those formative years, it was it was around Aids, HIV and that public health crisis and that and that global crisis. And and and it it it employed and in bold and and it and it made an army out of culture queer cultures and black cultures and ivy drug communities and lesbian cultures. And we had no choice. Our lives were being basically just thrown away by the status quo. And so it drove me and everybody around me. And I was in New York City and I was involved in act up and and activism. And so that that sense of just an urgency about about responding to what was happening in the world was very much indistinguishable, I guess, from the the films I was making at the time. And and so that informed it. And I think that’s true for for Pedro as well, you know. Of course. And. Who’s who I can’t speak more highly of. And so I bowed down to an unbelievable body of work and. Genius and just and coherence of that body of work, you know. But but, yeah, I think it’s always changing. I mean, what I’m about to do next is a very is a film that I have a at least a storyline and kind of sexual relationship between two men that I haven’t explored and maybe since Poison, maybe since the beginning in terms of the some of the content and. And how it takes these two men outside throws them out of of the world that they know in unexpected ways. This is this project with Kevin X that I’ve been developing with Larkin and John and we’ll be shooting in the summer. And it’s exciting. It’s really exciting to do something that will be different, so different from the things I’ve done recently.


Ira Madison III Mm hmm.


Louis Virtel You have done so much to bring things like knowledge of Douglas Sirk movies or like what you had the Velvet Underground movie recently. Recently. And you have your Karen Carpenter movie. You’re somebody who, as much as you are invested in doing something new and original, I always feel like you have a foot in the past and are interested in it. Like me being kind of a curator of what’s interesting about movie history or pop culture history. What haven’t you gotten to yet that you feel like you will somehow explore in some way? You know, like is there some actress or some thing that you hope gets the Todd Haynes touch and will hopefully reintroduce this thing to society?


Todd Haynes I mean, the things that I think that I would that would come to mind are things that have already been mentioned in in the press because they’ve occupied some energies of mine, some more than others, and trying to get them made. But again, in this sort of more multi-tiered approach and the and the fact that we’ve been hit by a pandemic and by a strike and by things that have that have artificially shut down what we normally do and how we normally do, it has shifted what’s possible and when. But that’s also just the nature of filmmaking and working with other actors. But one was the Peggy Lee project that I was very excited about doing it. It’s I don’t have a schedule for. I don’t have a calendar time for it, unfortunately, right now, because other things sort of came in and filled in this, the space that it had occupied first and foremost being made December. And then I’m doing the walking project next. And then but I got I will at some point get back to Freud. And that’s been a subject that I really I owe to myself to take on in some capacity in one way or another, because he sort of hovers over it all for me. And it’s and it’s a figure who I think who’s who’s inside and who’s understanding. And this is basically creation of modernity. In the most radical way gets lost a little bit in the way that he’s so familiar and so so become so colloquial, colloquial, ized and so woven into our culture that you almost don’t see him anymore. And so I want to sort of reveal how central he is to thinking and understanding and interpreting the world and how much he’s changed all of the way we all think about our inner lives and our desires.


Louis Virtel Do you, by chance, see the movie with Peggy Lee? She was nominated for Pete Kelly’s Blue Valentine recently. It’s kind of like an untapped actress. I feel like we should have gotten way more of that. I don’t.


Todd Haynes Know. It’s true. She was nominated for best Supporting actress for that for that performance. And and again, it was sort of one of those tender little things where the circumstances made that possible. Jack Webb asked her to do the movie and and showing her that kind of love and respect and and then people sort of confusing the performance with the real Peggy Lee afterwards in an unfortunate way that kind of tarnished that remarkable example of her acting, because she really I mean, she was an actor in her club performances. She I mean, she was a consummate actor in her in her in her life as a singer and performer. There’s a beautiful story where Rebel Without a Cause was being shot in the same studio as Pete Kelly’s Blues. And James Dean would just sneak out of his soundstage and just find his way under her table of her dressing room and just sit there with her in silence in the dressing room together. And he just he had a deep love and respect for her. But they but they didn’t even need to talk. They just hung out without talking in her dressing room.


Louis Virtel I love that because some of the absolute best things about 1955 and one place great.


Ira Madison III I have to say, you know, I think it was Far From Heaven in college that really sort of introduced me to melodrama. And then Sirk of, you know, Written On The Wind as my favorite of his. But, you know, you borrow from that so much. And then also Fassbinder and his sort of interpretation of Sirk’s melodramas. But I have to say that May-December is so funny and I feel like it’s one of your funniest films and it’s almost, I wouldn’t say camp. Like some people said, I feel like it’s almost zany in some aspects. And I have to wonder, as you know, a connoisseur of old films and you say you’ve said in interviews that, you know, you’d rather watch, you know, like Turner Classic movies than, you know, watching something new now. But have you ever been drawn to, like, wanting to do a screwball comedy? You know, like a bringing up baby? Like, are those the kind of, like, older films that you find yourself drawn to, or is it dramas?


Todd Haynes To be honest, it really is more dramas and absolutely are. As you as you know, domestic drama is a melodrama and. But but it what I what I love I love how I love how the search for kind of adjectives for what may December is and does are stylistic terms generic terms maybe it’s such an interesting sort of shimmy that’s been going on among among people who really dig the movie but are just trying to find a way of exactly what is this thing, you know. And so camp was a term that came up during during Cannes. I believe that’s the first time I heard it. And then other journalists around the same time were picking up on it. And we all looked at each other like, what camp? That’s crazy. But I but of course, I love camp and I’m so interested in camp. And to me, it’s more a mode of of how we read things through through that distance of time and history and, and new new meanings accrue from things over time and perspective and from marginal communities, perspectives about dominant communities and so forth. There are other marginal communities more lot more often like queer culture, looking at stories of women, for instance, or whatever. But but even saying zany like, I just love that there’s no there’s no real way to describe it. It kind of functions on its own in its own multiple sort of cluster of tones and and and operatives or it’s not quite the word, but that that’s what that is. It is truly, you know, is is is really interesting to me and something that I think we’re all still watching unfold and have audiences find new layers of terms and feelings and reactions to as they see it. And and I just we just had our premiere last night. And even people who worked on the film, like my costume designer April Napier was, we were talking and she said this the third time I’ve seen it. And she’s like, I’m seeing things I’ve never and I know the film. I’m I made it with you, I made it. And there’s things in it I just never saw before. And so she keeps it does It is a kind of film where you keep finding new layers and meanings and details and perspectives and humor and all that stuff as you watch it.


Louis Virtel Mm hmm. I guess my last question is, who would be crazy if we didn’t have a carol question in here before we kicked you out? But Carol is one of the few movies I’ve seen probably in the past 10 or 15 years that was I found not only good, but truly sublime. There is something about the movie that is both extremely like classic Hollywood and also extremely new. Like Cate Blanchett brings more old Hollywood glamor than any old Hollywood actress did. You know, like, she’s just, like, full of power. And I assume a lot of the sublime, the nature of that movie, you know, comes in getting the editing together and picking takes and stuff. But is there anything when you were watching live at the time where you already thought, this is sublime already? If there’s something I’m watching live that’s unusual and going to stand the test of time.


Todd Haynes You know, when you’re really in the throes of it all, you just don’t have that. You’re just not inclined to attribute those kinds of those kinds of meanings to to what you’re making because it’s because you don’t even know what it is until you’re until you’re at the next stage. You keep learning what it is more and more. I will say that just the way they were costumed and styled in the film. By Sandy Powell and by our hair and makeup departments. I do remember having just that one little moment of just sort of stepping back and going like, Damn. Look, there’s something iconic. There’s something a little bit indelible about about them, because they also are counters to each other and they complement each other. And it’s so distinctive. And the choices in those areas are so specific and suited the actors so well, the characters so well. So in that way, I had a moment of maybe a glimmer of seeing something that you sort of imagined what could could survive the moment that we’re in, you know.


Louis Virtel Yeah. Sandy Powell is like that. She’s like a gangster, to use an old term. I mean, like, does it like her? Yeah.


Ira Madison III Ah, Thank you so much for being here. Todd, it was an honor to talk to you about this film. And I also must say that I’m I was a Riverdale fan, and seeing Charles and Charles Melton in this film, what he did in this film, it’s spectacular. And that performance you got out of him is amazing. And people will be talking about that for and him for years. So what a great film.


Todd Haynes Thank you so much. Thanks so much, Louis. So great to talk to you guys. I loved it.




Ira Madison III Well, since we pretty much foreshadowed it in that Emerald Fennell interview last week, we figured we’d jump right into our coverage of Saltburn. The movie that everybody is talking about. This movie is Roxie Hart. It’s on everybody’s list.


Louis Virtel And also, I’m kind of surprised in a way, I guess, like people have gotten screeners of it or whatever. I guess what surprises me is like whether or not you’d like it or dislike it. I don’t find it to be ultimately so provocative that you if I don’t see any reason to hate it, even if you didn’t like it. So.


Ira Madison III Hmm. Yeah, I think that a lot of the hate and the vitriol that is coming from this film is mostly directed at Emerald’s. And I find that it’s I think it will. For one thing, I feel like there’s this sentiment that the promising young woman Oscar, was undeserved. Mm hmm. They didn’t particularly love that film. And I think that there’s also the fact that, you know, this film is about student Oliver Quick, Barry Keoghan, who’s at Oxford University and he’s poor and is drawn into the world of charming, aristocratic Felix Catton, Jacob Elordi and his family at Saltburn, this sprawling, eccentric estate. And it’s sort of this riff of upstairs, downstairs, you know, and like class commentary. But I think the commentary coming from a lot of people is the fact that, well, girl, what are you doing making a class commentary when you are upper class?


Louis Virtel You know, like every fucking artist in history does things like that. I’ll be talking about the Barbra memoir again later. But it’s like it’s like when she gets criticized for being a control freak, when it’s like Warren Beatty and Robert Redford have handled the same amount of movies as them, and like, they are criticized for that kind of thing. It’s just random that people think like Emerald Fennell, who I guess is like charming and winning in interviews, could also possibly and literally she played a rich person on the Crown. So maybe it’s hypocritical for her to want to talk about class. Okay. It’s not so.


Ira Madison III Well, I do have a question for you, though, then. Do you find that there is a responsibility if you come from a place of wealth and privilege, if you are writing about it, to attack it in a different way? And I mean that in the sense that if you’re writing and you’re attacking class in the film, but you’re sort of from, you know, like a friend let you sort burn, you know, through connections that you made. So you’re closer to the Jacob Elordi character than you are the Barry Keoghan character. What responsibility do you think an artist has in making that kind of work?


Louis Virtel I mean, I just don’t think the biographical information of the person creating the film is relevant at all necessarily. I mean, like, I don’t know anything about the people who created Parasite, you know, which I think is a pretty awesome commentary on class. It doesn’t make me think one way or the other about what happens in that film. But I think that is where the people are getting a little upset about this movie because recently we’ve had movies like Parasite that like find a kooky way into exploring class and what we want out of like, richness. And that movie necessarily lent itself to the Oscar conversation, whereas this movie sort of entertains things that are associated with prestige, but then ultimately doesn’t have much to say about them other than isn’t it crazy that this psychotic person got his way into their home? I think the problem with this movie is that the ending does not live up to how entertaining the rest of the movie is.


Ira Madison III No, the third act for me completely falls apart and sort of ruins all of the sleaze. Yes. Well, and not so much sleaze. Indie sleaze, maybe, particularly with it being set in the mid 2000s. It’s not really repulsive in the way that a lot of people think it is. I mean, licking up in a bathtub and fucking grave in the cemetery is like a low grade Passions episode to me. Mm hmm. But I think that there is just this sort of train that’s running at the beginning of the film, and then it sort of just comes to a halt for the last half of the movie. And of course, once all of Barry Coggins sort of crimes are revealed at the end of the film, it really gets into like Bond villain territory. And I sort of checked out also.


Louis Virtel I think you can end any movie. Basically the way this one ends with this gimmick of actually the lead character who you thought was just a depraved loser, planned the whole thing. I mean, like you could have ended Forrest Gump with and he planned the whole thing. You know?


Ira Madison III She’s All That. Yeah. Imagine it in that way. You know? You put on the glasses and she’s like, I’m going to trick him into placing a bet on me.


Louis Virtel Yes. Right. Right. Exactly. Yeah. At the end of this movie, he’s literally dancing naked through Saltburn, which he has now somehow acquired by step by step, killing everybody in the house. And the movie’s idea is that he knew he could do that. Okay. Couple of questions. Why does he want this weird, horrible, huge house just to be in by himself? It doesn’t make any sense.


Ira Madison III Right. He’s. He’s obsessed with Jacob Elordi.


Louis Virtel Seemingly.


Ira Madison III Seemingly. But everything that he does in the film and then after, you know, like the accident happens with Jacob Elordi makes no sense because then you’re just going to be in this house by yourself, like the family isn’t there. The stuff that you get from, you know, having rich people around isn’t there. You’re basically just in this house with the staff who hates you.


Louis Virtel Yeah. And also, it’s like you have these little. Having parents who are sort of nearby who are like going to be aware of what you have done. It’s like lots of things like don’t close up at the end of this movie, which also is a is a little bit of a problem for promising young woman to like the ending of that movie is like, Wait, so she planned on being killed and then she was like, I’m going to record some audio so that later people can give me justice. So that but well, after I’m dad, of course, which I’ve planned. Like what? Like it’s. It. Nobody behaves like this. It’s strange.


Ira Madison III Yeah. It’s even like some of the creepier things in the movie or, you know, the outlandish things like, you know, the, the, the looking up the bath water thing is very. Who does that?


Louis Virtel Yes. And so it’s like it feels like they’re planted scenes so that they create amazing Twitter headlines like blank blank likes that come in this new zany scene coming to theaters, you know, whereas like they don’t really add up to anything like the sexuality in this movie is ultimately a red herring, You know, it’s like not about that. Ultimately, he just wants a big house to live in. At the end of this, it must be said, she has said that The Talented Mr. Ripley did not inspire this movie at all. That is kind of crazy to me because I feel like. We are. The reason the movie is so good to begin with is because you are charmed by Jacob Elordi in the way that you are charmed by Jude Law and the talented Mr. Blake. You know, there is something to want here and specific about this person and like the weird world he lives in and his like, ambivalence about giant parties being thrown at his house, like you want to connect to that level of glamor.


Ira Madison III I think for me. Going back to that sort of privileged thing, though, I feel like, sure, you don’t necessarily need to know the biographical information about everybody who makes a film. But I do think that if you are going to attack this and then it falls flat, then people are going to wonder why. And I think that the reason why the sort of class commentary isn’t as searing as it should be is because if she’s trying to place yourself in the role of Barry Keoghan, she hasn’t lived that life, you know, like going in and being like from the outside looking in, it’s like you’re trying to write Oliver Twist or Annie, but you grew up as Daddy Warbucks, you know, so like you don’t know that perspective. And I just don’t think that there’s enough delving into that perspective to make the movie work for me. Ultimately, I don’t hate it. I had a lot of fun watching it. I think it’s definitely slumber party vibes. You know, I’d put I’d put it on and let it just play.


Louis Virtel I really think Jacob Elordi is amazing. I think he is awesome in this movie.


Ira Madison III The performances are amazing. Him, Rosamund Pike, Richard E, Grant Berry’s great. I my main problem I guess is. The the black character in a film like this, introduction of race also within class just sort of arrives and then it doesn’t really go anywhere. And who is that character and what does he think about Barry Killen’s character and what is his real relation to the family? And then is just sort of. Jettisoned away.


Louis Virtel And also, it’s sort of like the Philip Seymour Hoffman character and the talented Mr. Ripley, who has the insight on the creepy, unreliable protagonist.


Ira Madison III But in that movie, you get more into his mind and his depths, right? And in this Mike, is this is this character in love with Jacob Elordi, too? You know, is he jealous of Berry’s appearance in his life and the fact that he is never going to catch the eye of Jacob Because Jacob continues to pick up these stray cats every year off the street? Right. There’s just never really delving into, I guess, the psyches of anyone. I don’t even know whether fucking sister is doing what she’s doing. Yeah. I mean, walking around in the moonlight. Are you possessed?


Louis Virtel But also, it’s like you just said, like. So she comes from a privileged background, and so does she have the insight to make a character like Barry’s? Interesting. I don’t think the rich people are well-rounded characters. They’re total caricatures. You know, like, that’s fair. Rosamund Pike is giving a very funny performance. The line readings are funny, but like, what is the point of the scene after Jacob already dead and then the family decides to have lunch anyway? Like we’re just supposed to think they’re buffoons or something. Like, what’s what’s what are we saying about these people other than their dupa ball or their. I don’t know. It’s like it was going for arch and satirical and it came up with confusing for me.


Ira Madison III She saw an Ibsen play once.


Louis Virtel Yeah. Yeah. It feels like. Yes.


Ira Madison III I’m saying yeah. And it was. Okay, Turn the song off. Yeah.


Louis Virtel No. So also, it’s a movie that sounds to me like what I think the most overrated movie ending in history is, which is the usual suspects. Like when you watch that movie and then it ends, you’re like, Well, what was the point of the movie? I just watched that. But that’s not clever. It’s just you saying he he around this whole thing. Actually, that just it’s like completely boring to me. It’s like the end of. It’s something that should be a comic strip length. And you turned it into a movie.


Ira Madison III Right. I much prefer a movie if it’s going to have a mystery like that, that you either see them working towards the goal throughout the entire movie because, you know, as Hitchcock said, tension.


Louis Virtel As Kylie Minogue said, Tension.


Ira Madison III Yes. I have Kylie and Hitchcock, you know, right up there, the Masters.


Louis Virtel And as Hannah Gadsby said, tension.


Ira Madison III Of. But you just see someone working towards a goal is much better. You know, if you’re going to make it a whodunit as well, then it needs to be a whodunit in a Agatha Christie type of way, in a, you know, a Scream, a Knives Out kind of way where not something where it’s the main character who you’ve been following the entire movie is all of a sudden, like, well, I was lying to you.


Louis Virtel Yeah, right. Also, I mean, it has to be said and we talked about this before. There are very few satisfying whodunits in anything in terms of like you have a story where there’s a few possibilities of who could have done it, and where it ends up is both logical and surprising. We talk about the first season of Veronica mars. That to me is a satisfying whodunit. I personally feel like we do not have many of those. Like, like even, like, like I think on AFI’s list of the greatest mystery movies of all time, Vertigo is number one, which is kind of a mystery, you know what I mean? Like, even categorically, that’s not the same thing as there are suspects and we’re picking a suspect or whatever. That’s that is more about twist than it is about a whodunit. So just in general, I still feel like we’re waiting for that really excellent Agatha Christie mystery with the perfect ending like witness for the prosecution. That’s an interesting ending to a whodunit.


Ira Madison III You know, speaking of Hitchcock, now that I think about it, Barry’s character reminds me so much of the two lead characters in Rope. Yes, that’s right. Those characters are committing a murder because they want to commit a murder and get away with it is the thrill of it like this. This is what they’re doing. And they invite all these people to the dinner parties to so they can get off on getting away with this murder. And there is none of that in Barry Keoghan In Saltburn, you don’t get the sense that he is. Is he getting off on getting away with murder? Because after all the murders that happened, there’s no aftermath where there seems to be an investigation or anyone trying to lay the blame at him. You know, they just sort of happen. And then we go right next to the other murder.


Louis Virtel And also the final scene where he’s dancing naked to the Sophie Ellis-bextor song. Something about that felt like they just tacked on like a crazy music video to the end of the movie that was supposed to be titillating to us. Meanwhile, again, the whole point of the movie to me is he’s psycho. So what? Like, Oh, okay. He was a crazy person. Like, I don’t get anything from that. It doesn’t inspire the mind.


Ira Madison III I got a few things from that that inspired the lines. Good for. He looks great.


Louis Virtel He does have a sick body, I will say. Yes.


Ira Madison III Yeah. But also. We are supposed to look at him eyeing Jacob Elordi as this, you know, the hottest man in the world. And he’s like obsessed with him. And he’s supposed to be this ugly, nerdy dork. Barry is hot as fuck in this movie.


Louis Virtel I will say he’s hot in a different way. Jacob Elordi looks like. Like Gregory Peck. He’s like a like a screen icon looking person.


Ira Madison III That’s fair. But he does have muscles. Okay. He’s been working out the dog pound, too.


Louis Virtel That is a problem with movies these days, is the people who are supposed to be like everyday folks still have like these wild CrossFit bodies.


Ira Madison III And I want to point out, like I said, Todd Haynes knows how to make movies, right? Charles Melton in that film, which, by the way, he just won the Gotham Award for Outstanding Supporting Performance. I’m so glad he’s getting accolades for that amazing performance in May December. He gains weight for that film because obviously he had just come off of Riverdale and he looked like a stud who was on a CW TV show.


Louis Virtel Everybody on that show looks like Christian Bale in The Machinist.


Ira Madison III Yeah. But you look at him in May, December, and he looks believable as this character. He’s not there with abs and pants and looking like he, you know, goes to CrossFit every day.


Louis Virtel Right, right, right. No, he has to. And he’s also sort of styled like the the real life villainy fellow from the Mary Retorno story. So if you were suddenly like a jacked Riverdale looking superstar, it wouldn’t make any sense.


Ira Madison III Anyway, this is all to say that I actually do not hate.


Louis Virtel So it was too it was too entertaining to be available. Other than the ending is extremely unsatisfying given what leads up to it.


Ira Madison III Which is the same thing I’ll say about promising young woman. I gags. I got in both films at the end of the film. I was like, Huh? When I watch that just in the film, I was like, What’d I watch? To be honest? Because the entire third act of saltburn, I’m sitting there like, Girl, what are we doing here? And that is when the fun stopped.


Louis Virtel I think you also put your finger on what people are reacting to because these are both of these movies are bent on gagging you. And when you are then supposed to reflect on that a little bit later, it can feel a little bit like you were shortchanged. Like it was just like you got a jump scare as opposed to a thrill, you know?


Ira Madison III And they also rely on transgression in relation to. Societal issues that are very deep and serious. Promising young woman is about rape and sexual assault. And this movie is about homosexuality and class and race for five seconds. So you expect there to be something else in the transgression here. You expect a zig. When there’s a zag. But none of that happens and it all feels very much. I skimmed the book and gave a book report that morning. Mm hmm. Mm hmm.


Louis Virtel That said, we do need more movies that have that provide movie star performances. So if we can get more, the more Jacob Elordi type roles to people out there who like us. And I think what’s behind what’s behind those eyes, you know, get invested the way you would get invested in like a performance from Cary Grant or something that I’m excited about.


Ira Madison III And also gives us a sexy press tour, you know?


Louis Virtel Precisely.


Ira Madison III I love the press tour between Elordi and Kiyoko and and we’re gearing up for a new one where Paul Mescal and Andrew Scott and honestly, another movie with really great performances from everybody involved, Claire Foy and also Jamie Bell. That is a movie that angers me, but I get to that eventually.


Louis Virtel It seems like a polarizing movie. I cannot believe I have not seen it yet. It’s one that all my friends have seen in various screenings. Someone is keeping me out. They must be frightened anyway.


Ira Madison III Homophobic.


Louis Virtel That’s how I feel.


Ira Madison III All right. When we’re back, Keep It. And we’re back for our favorite segment of the episode. It’s Keep It. Louis.


Louis Virtel Yes.


Ira Madison III It’s been two weeks.


Louis Virtel Right.


Ira Madison III You must have some furor in you.


Louis Virtel You know what? I’m upset about something new and surprising. I’m kidding. It’s the Barbra Streisand memoir I’m still going through because I’m listening to the audiobook. And as you know, it’s 48 hours long. I am on our, I believe, 27. That is so many hours. And I’m sorry.


Ira Madison III I told you 1.5 speed.


Louis Virtel 5/8ths of the way through. Yes. No, but I can’t do that. I need to hear all of the crackle in Barbara’s voice and the way she’s like takes her time to be like. And I was so disappointed. Things like that. I mean, I’m just going to pick one moment in the memoir that upset me. And by the way, I am completely radicalized teen Barbara. All of her decisions are gold and everything she does is fabulous. I’m completely locked into her decision making, which she is obsessed with explaining to you. Okay. During the filming of Hello Dolly, the year is 1969. The director is Gene Kelly. It’s not a movie she should be in because she’s like one third the age of Dolly Levi. She should not.


Ira Madison III Be in this film.


Louis Virtel Lo and behold, during the movie, she is, of course, you know, in a bit of a, you know, radical 60s way is kind of insistent on implementing her creative decisions alongside the director and, like, offering ideas. And Gene Kelly seems to be entertaining them for a while. And then all of the sudden, out of nowhere, her costar Walter Matthau blows up and says, Who the fuck are you to be like, making these decisions, trying to, like, you know, control this movie? And he says, quote unquote, I have more talent in my farts than you do in your whole body. Something like that. And Barbra, by the way, I can’t even say the word fart. She finds it so offensive, which, by the way, I hate that word, too. I hate having having said it now. Yes. But anyway, she she’s the interesting case of like, she is not egotistical, even though she is bent on achieving a vision she has in her head all the time, she responds to him and says, What are you doing? I have no idea what you’re why you’re coming at me this way. And she eventually gets him to admit that he is friends with Sidney Chaplin, the son of Charlie Chaplin, who was her costar on stage in the original Funny Girl on Broadway. And Barbra didn’t want to have a relationship with him. And Sidney Chaplin, eventually, on stage during Funny Girl will whisper things like Bitch to her while they were performing in the show. And Walter Matthau was like, Well, you broke his heart. And she explained to him, like, as I’m giving this performance and Funny girl, this guy is like trying to sabotage me, giving probably the greatest performance in the history of Broadway, right? Like number one.


Ira Madison III Yeah.


Louis Virtel And so it’s just like the fact that she could retell that story and just be like, this happened to me and not like burst into tears because it’s like, well, here is a conspIracy of men working against you as you are mounting the greatest film musical career that ever was. I just want to say fuck Walter Matthau, fuck his Oscar for the fucking fortune cookie in 1966. What a piece of shit that should have been George Segal’s year. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? All four of them should have had Oscars for that. Anyway, it’s like. And also, bitch, the idea that you have more talent than Barbra Streisand. Go to hell, motherfucker. You’re the grumpy old man, mother fucker. That is all your talent.


Ira Madison III It seems like he was a grumpy young man, too.


Louis Virtel Yes, right. Any age. Yeah.


Ira Madison III And Charlie Chaplin’s son.


Louis Virtel So, as you know, he went on to big things. Fuck you, bitch. You don’t know nothing.


Ira Madison III I think that I always go back to. You know best revenge is your paper, from Beyonce. Not just paper, but also your reverence and, you know, your body of work. Right. And there’s lots of math. How dead now.


Louis Virtel He quite is.


Ira Madison III Yes. Yes.


Louis Virtel But make sure.


Ira Madison III No, you know, write up on the set of Grumpy Old Men to this problem, because he’s probably thinking about that Barbara moment and he’s like. My farts smell disgusting. And she really has words, Howard, you know? Yeah, because I look unlike when I’m mid 30s and you think about fucking things that you did ten years ago, and they haunt you. Imagine doing that to Barbra fucking Streisand. And then. You’re still alive like 40 years later, 40 or 50 years later, and having to see who she became and knowing what you ended up as.


Louis Virtel No. Right. I mean, the interesting thing about Barbra Streisand is she’s not vengeful. She’s so committed to her vision that I think a lot of the time the perspectives of other people, even though she thinks she’s entertaining them, she kind of doesn’t understand where other people are coming from. It’s a little bit of like a denseness she has as opposed to an egotism that I think aids her and made her made her intractable when it came to executing her vision.


Ira Madison III Also. That fact is such a bitch as a vendetta. You broke my friend’s heart. No, that’s right. That is. That is hardly a reason to embark on revenge against someone. I’ll give you reasons for revenge. Okay. Yeah, but if even if it. Maybe. If it had been your father, you know. Right?


Louis Virtel No, Just some guy you play with.


Ira Madison III Yeah, right. You broke my father’s heart. He committed suicide, and now you’re going to destroy this bitch and her daughter? I don’t know. Something like that. That’s revenge. Okay.


Louis Virtel You a fan of Aaron Spelling? That’s what it sounds like. Yeah.


Ira Madison III I’m a fan of Aristotle. Okay. Seneca. Aristophanes. Yeah.


Louis Virtel Oh, yeah, those buddies. Okay. Anyway, that’s.


Ira Madison III My program for today.


Louis Virtel Ira, what’s your Keep It?


Ira Madison III Oh, my Keep It. My Keep It goes to Netflix. Because unfortunately, as much as I talked shit about doing a real life version of Squid Game as a competition reality TV show because the whole point of squid game, you know, is fighting against, you know, capitalism and everyone dies in it too. And how are you going to translate that to a reality TV show for this big ass corporation? That’s a little evil. Let me tell you something, Louis. They did it.


Louis Virtel I have to say, I’ve been watching it and.


Ira Madison III I thought, oh, God.


Louis Virtel Let’s play a Squid Game. Let’s play a Squid Game. Do you want love? Or do you want squid?I’m in.


Ira Madison III Social is going to have a field day with that.


Louis Virtel I think I saw that in a tweet once. I don’t mean to claim that is mine, but every time I hear the words squid game, I immediately put it into the melody of Love Game.


Ira Madison III I love this show, first of all.


Louis Virtel That’s produced the death?


Ira Madison III Yeah. It’s produced like. It’s produced down. Yeah. And the concept of them having, you know, the original 407 plus people play the game and then they’re left with less than 200 after that first challenge, that red light, green light with that big ass statue, bitch shout out to them. Yeah, because they got a bunch of people to come into this game, but then they probably sent them off with a peanut butter sandwich.


Louis Virtel Right. It sounds like I mean, I’m sure they were like quarantined or whatever for but a lot of time before filming began too. So that totally sucks that all those people lost. I have to say, I even watching the first challenge, I’m like, obviously they want to eliminate a lot of people right away because it’s like the original TV show. But how did they arrange it so that just enough people are eliminated and not too many?


Ira Madison III I definitely think that there were people who were maybe slightly moving who they decided to spare because it definitely, if you get it, do casting for this and you do pre interviews and people are in quarantine, you could tell a soul was going to be a very good character on the show. Right. You’re like, well, let’s give them a little leeway here.


Louis Virtel And I also feel like there aren’t too many wide shots of the people playing in that game, so you’re not really getting an honest sense of who is not moving when it turns red light anyway.


Ira Madison III But the casting in this died. But former casting director for Big Brother. These are the type of people that you wish were playing Big Brother. Especially this fucking season. 432 That frat boy asshole who basically threatens to beat someone up outside of the game for calling him a frat boy. You got the mother and son on the show who are iconic. Yeah.


Louis Virtel She is great.


Ira Madison III Mm hmm. Lorenzo, the Italian fagot on the show. The the biggest shocking moment of the series was when they cut to him in that confessional, and he was wearing that flower crochet dress and the matching hat. I love him. This other messy gay dash. There are just some really fun cast members on this show. And I will say the women are the best part about it because I don’t know how far you’ve gotten, but once you get to episode 4 or 5, like some new women emerge in the show and they’re amazing. I think what the show is doing really well too, with there being so many fucking cast members is that they latch you on to really interesting people early on. But. That person might die and be eliminated that episode or they might continue on. But once batches of interesting people die, then new people emerge. Yeah, we’re going to be central points of the later episodes.


Louis Virtel I know it’s it’s a little like Big Brother in that way where, you know, you get wrapped up in a loud eye catching contestant early on and then, of course, inevitably that person is eliminated since they’ve drawn so much attention to themselves. And then you see somebody else who’s just like slinking around in the background, getting like fifth and all the physical challenges is like a major contender suddenly. So you start paying attention to them.


Ira Madison III Yeah, just shout out to that girl who did really well and Battleship too, who came in and really. The Navy. Of that is it was also just a game that I’ve never really played that would have done that in that challenge. Yeah, I’ve never actually played Battleship the game.


Louis Virtel It’s barely a game of skill. I would literally just randomly place ships on a grid and then you start guessing truants to shoot.


Ira Madison III The girl who won for her team. If you’re, I guess if you’re a math person and very analytical in that way, you know, like she was saying that like every human always pick C three you know and she knows like you can predict numbers that people will pick. So I guess it’s a fun game, if you like, predicting what humans do in game situations.


Louis Virtel Particularly while they’re trying to be random. Yeah, right, right.


Ira Madison III Like chess. You know, when you when you sort of know that, like, people always, you know, do their part out on this move, you know, something like that.


Louis Virtel No, I will be watching this whole show. But I mean, when I started it, I knew it was edited to the point where, like, you can’t turn away, you know, just I’m sure it’s been played tested 100,000 times. It has that feeling of like sensational entertaining. It’s like watching Instagram stories. I can’t stop watching them. It’s that kind of entertainment.


Ira Madison III Yeah, it’s really, really great show. So I’m enjoying it. More episodes are dropping literally tomorrow. So I will be focused on the great, great plan to drop it right on Thanksgiving, too. And I feel like. Though slow rollout of the episodes instead of dropping them out at once is to its benefit because definitely got a lot of texts from people from friends of mine this weekend being like, Are you watching Squid Game? Because it’s got to be good.


Louis Virtel No one’s got anything to do, so they just binge things like this. Yeah, we need to rank, once in the future, greatest holiday drops. Because remember, like, remember that like Christmas we all sat and had to watch Don’t Look Up or that time like we all watched Making A Murderer like. But we do. We do end up watching these things even though like Don’t Look Up, I would say mostly socks making a murderer are pretty good.


Ira Madison III Bridgerton. Really?


Louis Virtel Bridgerton. Mhm.


Ira Madison III Mhm. Yeah. Although I did not watch any more of it. I was actually talking with my friend about this recently. I loved Bridgerton. I think the first season was fucking excellent, but also after the first season I said that’s enough bridgerton for me.


Louis Virtel Whistle down and out.


Ira Madison III Is that. And that’s our episode. Thank you again to Todd Haynes for being here with us and for being an excellent fucking interview and filmmaker.


Louis Virtel Why don’t more people just start talking about Peggy Lee to us? I am begging you to have a little Peggy Lee insight when you come in at the studio.


Ira Madison III I hope he gets to make that movie.


Louis Virtel No fucking joke. I mean, I want to cast it myself. But he has legendary casting people and I’m sure they’ll do a great job.


Ira Madison III And we will see you next week. Keep It is a Crooked Media production. Our senior producer is Kendra James. Our producer is Chris Lord, and our associate producer is Malcolm Whitfield. Our executive producers are Ira Madison, the third and Louis Virtel.


Louis Virtel This episode was recorded and mixed by Evan Sutton. Thank you to our digital team, Megan Patsel and Rachel Gaewski, and to Matt DeGroot and David Toles for production support every week.


Ira Madison III And as always, Keep It is recorded in front of a live studio audience.