When I meet Suki Waterhouse and Ana Lily Amirpour at the London Hotel in West Hollywood, they greeted me as if I was a long-lost friend.
Instantly, we vibed and for the duration of our 15-minute interview, I was living out my fantasy of being a part of their badass girl tribe. After our interview wrapped and I had to slowly come down from cloud 9, the most amazing thing happened. Suki and Ana both said our interview was the best one they’ve had. Was it because we shared crazy Venice Beach stories? Read on to see…
What was your first job? Did that in any way impact your passion for filmmaking/acting?
Ana Lily Amirpour: I worked at a coffee shop as a barista in Santa Barbara. I made cappuccinos and stuff.
Suki Waterhouse: I had a couple of jobs where I dressed up as Powerpuff Girls…
ALA: What’s a Powerpuff Girl?
SW: A Powerpuff Girl is a cartoon! I really didn’t want to go to school, I just wanted to dress up. I was about 8 years old. I told my mom I wanted to dress up so we would find websites where you can hire people to come out [in costume]. My first proper job was working on a phone line, answering calls for people who wanted breast implants. The place was called My Breast. So I’d be like, “Hello, this is My Breast.”
ALA: Aww, my answer was like, “I work in a coffee shop.”
They’re like, “How weird you are inspires us.” I’m just like, “Woah, you’re saying that to me?” -Ana
I kept picturing Arlen as a badass Dorthy Gale from “The Wizard of OZ”…
SW: Oh my God, I was Dorthy in the “Wizard of Oz!”
No way! I must’ve picked up on that. Arlen’s on her own trying to find her way back home and runs into a cast of characters that help her, in a way, get home. Who are the people in your life that you feel most comfortable around, or the people that inspire your creativity?
SW: I’m not really in one place ever, so sometimes I write down in my phone people’s name so I remember [who to reach out to]. I like people who are similar, not ever in one place. They have lots of stories to tell me.
ALA: For me, I feel led my the film and story I’m telling into really intimate, meaningful connections with people. It’s like a density of intimacy for a duration, and then life changes and you go into the next thing.
SW: It’s so hard not to fall in love with everyone when you’re making a movie because you get to see everyone’s humanity. You’re hanging out with everyone all the time, how can you not fall in love with them?
ALA: One thing that’s happened to me lately, now that I’m putting out this movie and the stage of where I’m at with things, I’ve developed a few friendships with other filmmakers that have been really helpful for me as a filmmaker. I’m just so grateful that they are there. They’re like, “How weird you are inspires us.” I’m just like, “Woah, you’re saying that to me?” Everybody needs someone to tell them to just keep going.
We got into this conversation and he said, “I’m trying not to be such a loser, I want to be a finder. A finder finds things, a loser loses things.” -Ana
What was on your mood board when you were thinking of “The Bad Batch” world?
ALA: My whole office was covered in images of the desert, women porn, lots of books about American Desert Badlands that had fallen to crust.
SW: Hugh Hefner.
SW: Ana took me to Venice Beach for the first time.
ALA: I had been hanging out in Venice a lot and was thinking about Comfort. One day I started talking to these very young, hippie street kids and this guy came up to me– he was very spaced out, tripping on something. We got into this conversation and he said, “I’m trying not to be such a loser, I want to be a finder. A finder finds things, a loser loses things.”
ALA: That’s why The Screamer (Giovanni Ribisi) says that in the film. Yeah, Venice is weird, you’re in the “city” but so disconnected from everything in the city.
SW: I went down there recently and saw people cleaning up a guy who had died. It’s hardcore down there.
ALA: Hardcore as shit.
“It’s melted cauliflower with loads of cheese that you put bread crumbs on and bake. It’s incredible.” -Suki
Ana, did you feel any pressure coming off of your last film, “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night?”
ALA: I wrote “Bad Batch” when I was editing “Girl,” and I didn’t know how, when, if “Girl” would come out, so [no]. I never wait for external circumstances to put me in a position to tell a story. The most terrifying thing for me is the well drying up and not knowing what you want to make. I’ve already started writing a third one. As long as I have a place to disappear to with my imaginary friends, I feel like I’m ok. The pressure I can handle.
Ok, weird question. Say you were stuck in the desert a lá “The Bad Batch.” What food would you not mind eating every day for the rest of your life?
ALA: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
SW: Oh yes! That’s the shit. I’d say cauliflower cheese.
ALA: What the fuck is that?!
SW: It’s melted cauliflower with loads of cheese that you put bread crumbs on and bake. It’s incredible.
Oh yeah, that sounds good.
ALA: But you would eat that for the rest of your desert days?
SW: Yeah. I mean, I’d like to share some of your peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.