Hong Chau Interview on Cannes, ‘Kinds of Kindness,’ Willem Dafoe

“I most likely gained’t be doing the yacht events that I’ve heard about,” jokes Hong Chau of attending her first Cannes Movie Pageant a number of months after having her second youngster. “I’m like, ‘Effectively, I’m going to be pumping.’”

Chau might be touching down in France for the premiere of Yorgos Lanthimos’ Sorts of Kindness, the director’s follow-up to the Oscar-winning Poor Issues that can premiere in competitors on the fest. In Kindness, out June 21 by way of Searchlight, Chau stars alongside Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe and Jesse Plemons, every enjoying a number of roles throughout the anthology movie, which unfolds in three elements. 

The official synopsis for the movie says it follows a person who seeks to interrupt free from his predetermined path, a cop who questions his spouse’s demeanor after her return from a supposed drowning and a lady’s quest to find a famend religious information. Says Chau: “I learn the script, and I didn’t know what it was about — I nonetheless don’t know what it’s about — nevertheless it made me chortle.”

The actress, who broke out with Alexander Payne’s Downsizing and can quickly reteam with Matt Damon on Doug Liman’s thriller The Instigators, talked to The Hollywood Reporter forward of the pageant about how Kelly Reichardt helped her land Sorts of Kindness, capturing in her hometown of New Orleans and chatting in between setups with Dafoe, who, she insists, is only a “modest man from Wisconsin.”

How did you signal on to Sorts of Kindness

I bear in mind it very nicely, truly, as a result of I had simply come again from the Venice Movie Pageant for The Whale, and I received COVID for the very first time. I used to be beginning to really feel dangerous proper earlier than I received on the flight to go house, and I took a COVID take a look at and it stated that I used to be damaging. By the point I received house and examined myself once more, I used to be optimistic. I used to be locked in our visitor room as a result of I used to be quarantining away from my household. My daughter was not fairly 2 but, and so she was nonetheless very hooked up, so I didn’t need her to know I used to be house. So I locked myself within the visitor room and he or she had no concept I used to be house your entire time. I may hear her little toes operating exterior my door, and it was so painful. My agent referred to as me whereas I used to be hiding within the visitor room and stated, “Yorgos Lanthimos desires to speak to you about his upcoming movie. Is it OK to present out your electronic mail tackle?” And I used to be like, “In fact!” He despatched me the script together with somewhat be aware that stated he had seen Displaying Up, the Kelly Reichardt film. I had no concept, however they’re pals. Two very totally different filmmakers, however they love and respect one another’s work. In order that’s how he considered me for Sorts of Kindness. We talked and I used to be so excited to search out out that they had been capturing it in New Orleans. I used to be like, “You’ve received to be kidding me. You’ve received to be pulling my leg. I grew up in New Orleans!” It was actually such an thrilling factor to have occur whereas I used to be in a really darkish place.

That appears like an emotionally fraught time.

I’d hear my husband depart with my daughter to go for a stroll and I’d shortly run out of my room to observe her and him go down the driveway. (Laughs.) It was so, so unhappy.

Heading into filming, what was your expectation of working with Lanthimos?

I feel this was essentially the most unmoored that I felt coming into a venture. Normally, I’ve very robust concepts about what I wish to do with the character, from how the character seems to be to their cadence of how they converse. I went into this fully unsteady and not sure of what I used to be going to do, nevertheless it was nice as a result of I used to be attending to work with Yorgos. I bear in mind I used to be in Toronto capturing Downsizing and noticed The Lobster. That was the primary movie that I had seen of his and I went to go see it twice on the Lightbox. It was such a simple determination to leap on board and take the leap of religion as a result of all his movies make me really feel so unusual in one of the best ways. I used to be completely able to have no matter weirdness thrown at me. Additionally, I heard about the remainder of the solid. I used to be excited to get to work with Jesse Plemons as a result of I’ve been a fan of his and watching his profession develop. He was simply such a candy particular person and didn’t disappoint. 

The entire actors in Sorts of Kindness play a number of roles. Have you ever performed a venture like this earlier than?

One thing that Yorgos talked about was that when he watched Displaying Up, he was like, “Oh, I bear in mind seeing her in these different issues!” He preferred the vary that I may play, in order that fed into why he needed me to come back on board for this one as a result of we had been enjoying three totally different characters. Initially, we weren’t certain how drastically totally different we needed to play the characters, and I feel Yorgos landed on it being somewhat bit extra delicate than attempting to impress everyone with how totally different we had been in every story. 

What was interesting about enjoying these a number of roles throughout a number of tales?

It was thrilling for everybody in each division, even from costumes to hair and make-up. A whole lot of occasions you go on autopilot when the whole lot appears form of “performed” earlier than you even arrive on set. This was fully the other of that. We had no concept what we had been going to do, and we discovered it collectively and let joyful accidents occur. When [Yorgos] advised me that they had been capturing in New Orleans, I assumed that it was for the tax credit. Then after I noticed the movie I assumed, “Oh, it provides a lot to the story,” as a result of the movie simply feels actually damp and creepy in a manner that you simply wouldn’t have when you shot it someplace else. Taking pictures it in New Orleans actually made sense. It’s so New Orleans with none of the everyday landmarks that individuals use for New Orleans. It feels Southern and creepy with out using the everyday Southern Gothic tropes. 

How did you and the opposite performers prep for the movie?

[Filming] felt very natural and inventive and energetic. You simply don’t get that these days as a result of the whole lot is so rushed, and you’ve got such a restricted period of time that it doesn’t really feel like there’s actually room to play. However that was the other expertise on this one. We performed from the get-go, even from his rehearsal course of. Normally, you don’t rehearse on movies. I feel he does this on all of his movies — I imply, I’m new, however I assume he did this on Poor Issues as nicely. Emma [Stone] was saying they’d do theater video games for his or her rehearsal as a substitute of what we usually consider as rehearsal, like going by way of the strains and actually getting the whole lot down pat. This was extra about us constructing a camaraderie with one another, the group of actors, and that was a primary for me. It was simply lots of rolling round and mirror workout routines, saying the strains in a very goofy manner. Daily was totally different. 

Did you will have a favourite second from set?

This doesn’t actually should do with the film, per se, however simply getting to take a seat and chat with Willem Dafoe. He’s an icon and a residing legend, and likewise only a actually candy, humble, modest man from Wisconsin. It was simply one of the best attending to be in scenes with him and simply capturing the shit with him in between setups. 

And after Sorts of Kindness, you’re going to star within the Doug Liman film The Instigators, which is able to reunite you together with your Downsizing co-star Matt Damon.

When the venture got here by way of, I used to be like, “Are you kidding me? I’d like to reunite with Matt!” We had a blast, and it’s my first time doing an motion film. I learn the script and I knew there have been going to be automotive chases and weapons and issues like that, however I didn’t actually ask how they had been going to shoot it, regardless that I used to be form of panicking, considering, “Oh my God, I get automotive illness. What am I doing?” I simply thought, “Matt’s going to be there, we’ll be nice.” And it turned out nice. I’m trying ahead to each Sorts of Kindness and The Instigators popping out again to again. They’re very totally different films for me.

It’s additionally your first time on the Cannes Movie Pageant. What are you trying ahead to?

I hope I run into Jia Zhangke [the Chinese auteur will debut Caught by the Tides in competition] and his spouse, Zhao Tao. I hope I get to inform them how a lot I like and respect their work and that they should do an English-language movie. Perhaps I can play a cousin from America or one thing.