The Knockturnal spoke with “VOX LUX” Director Brady Corbet and star Raffey Cassidy about the film after an advance screening at Metrograph in New York City
Before it drops on December 7th in select theaters, Metrograph hosted a screening of the new film Vox Lux with the director Brady Corbet and one of the stars of the film, Raffey Cassidy. Starring Natalie Portman, Jude Law and Cassidy, Vox Lux is the story of Celeste Montgomery, a famous pop musician who suffered a number of tragedies in her youth before becoming one of the biggest celebrities in the world. The film is equal parts funny and terrifying, and it promises to be one of the most jaw-dropping movies of 2018.
After the movie ended, Corbet and Cassidy conducted a Q&A with the audience (after their stunned silence passed). The two began by talking about the process of casting Cassidy, with Cassidy saying she hadn’t even read the entire screenplay before signing on for the film, while Corbet discussed how he found her in the first place (a short film playing on Film4 in England). They then moved on to discussing how Cassidy managed to get into character playing both a young Natalie Portman AND Natalie Portman’s daughter in her dual role. Corbet talked as well about some of his influences in the making of the film, particularly how he wanted to turn the music story on its end instead of doing the same things over and over again. Corbet also talked about the process of writing the music into the script, where he would write “placeholder lyrics” in the script prior to getting singer/songwriter Sia and composer Scott Walker on to make the music work.
Following the screening, The Knockturnal was able to talk to Brady Corbet and Raffey Cassidy for a brief moment. Read on for that conversation.
The Knockturnal: This is your second movie. What did you learn from The Childhood of a Leader that you brought to Vox Lux? What changed for you?
Brady Corbet (Vox Lux Director/Writer): You know, I think that when you… It’s very difficult to make a movie [laughter]. And I think that you become a little bit easier and breezier about the bad times because you know that they’re par for the course. So I think that these experiences make you more and more brave.
The Knockturnal: The casting of the film is very interesting, including casting Raffey Cassidy to play both a young Natalie Portman and her daughter, but every other actor remains the same across the years. When did you decide on that casting decision?
Brady Corbet: The idea was that no one would change except for Natalie. So, because the film is so theatrical, we didn’t bother with aging characters. It was sort of like the movie begins again. Some characters are reincarnated. And I felt like that would be a fascinating way to handle the jump.
The Knockturnal: You are a British actress, and you play a singer from Staten Island. What was it like to find the right way to sing and keep the New York accent under the song.
Raffey Cassidy (“Young Celestine”/“Albertine”): On the day, I would get the comments about what [Corbet] could hear, and Brady really really helped me out because he very much thinking about the accents and wanted to get very specific. But it was kind of difficult because obviously I was doing an accent and singing at the same time. But Brady helped me focus on the sounds and listened to every word, and listened to every take to listen to every sound.
The Knockturnal: The film essentially opens with a school shooting, and it’s fairly incredible. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen it done as sensitively as you did it here, where it really is just focusing on the personal reactions of survivors. What did you do to find the human feel of the events?
Brady Corbet: Honestly, the most honest response to that question is that you just think about it a lot. You think a lot about what you see, what you don’t see, the lens, the frame, what it is that you hope to evoke, and what you don’t want to bother evoking. And that’s it.
Vox Lux premieres in select theaters on December 7th before expanding across the nation. It stars Natalie Portman, Jude Law, Stacey Martin, Jennifer Ehle, and Raffey Cassidy. Directed by Brady Corbet and written by Corbet and Mona Fastvold.