- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
The assembled journalists tip-toed carefully around the subject, sometimes avoiding it entirely and occasionally offering the mild suggestion that perhaps the film wasn’t among Gus Van Sant’s finest, but without ever going in for the kill. As if expecting the issue to arise, the director, plus stars Matthew McConaughey and Naomi Watts, appeared somewhat subdued, with McConaughey even putting up a rather defensive, unsmiling front to generally respectful questions.
And then, just past the 30-minute mark, it landed. Preempting the question with the classic “I really loved the film; however a lot of colleagues disagreed with me” get-out clause, one reporter asked Van Sant and McConaughey to comment on the bad reception.
“Anyone has as much right to boo as they do to ovate,” said McConaughey, before the mic was quickly moved on by the moderator. But Van Sant was pressed to answer, and his response was a little more rambling.
“I read a review this morning, and it was one of those reviews, it was very definitive. I was imagining everyone was the same person as the one writing the review, and I thought, now I know where we stand,” he said.
He continued: “I remember there was always a story after Elephant screened, there were fisticuffs, fighting over whether it was good or bad, actually punching. And that was at Cannes as well. Who knows, day by day, whether the screening was today or yesterday, whether it makes a difference. I’m not sure at the end of a particularly screening, I don’t know.”
“Ovate,” as it happens, is an adjective that means “egg-shaped,” so perhaps Van Sant’s answers did actually make more sense.
The competition film has its red carpet premiere Saturday night.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day