Director Jim Jarmusch Talks New Film ‘Paterson’

On Thursday at the Landmark Sunshine Cinemas, The Knockturnal had the chance to interview Jim Jarmusch, the director and writer behind the Amazon Studios film Paterson.

The film, which stars Adam Driver and Golshifteh Farahani, follows Paterson (Driver), a veteran turned bus driver who writes poetry, and his relationship with Laura, his supposed soulmate. Ron Padgett, winner of the 2009 Shelley Memorial Award, wrote the poetry for the film. Check out our interviews with Jarmusch as well as guest Louisa Krause below, and check out Paterson, which comes out December 28.

Jim Jarmusch:

Do you take the bus often?

I only take the bus if I want to waste a lot of time or if I want that perspective of being above.

“Mindfulness” is a word that’s coming about, signifying thinking of the environment around us. Do you believe your film is practicing this concept?

Well he’s a poet and he drives a bus so he drifts around collecting sort of ideas from the world to make moments on. It’s not a film obviously based on action or conflict—it’s about observing small details and allowing them to accumulate into a film, a story, I don’t know.

Why choose to have Paterson as a bus driver?

I liked the bus because he’s driving the bus. First of all, he likes routine so he doesn’t have to think about what clothes to wear or when to be at work. His bus is basically the same route every day. So it allows him to basically drift. And on the bus you can listen to peoples conversations and you can observe the world floating by from a very nice height—I love the height physically of the bus. It just seemed like a nice thing visually since we’re making a film, it seemed like a nice way to allow him to just float through the world.

Do you find any sort of relation between you and Paterson?

No I’m not a bus driver. I move by foot, by car, I used to ride motorcycles. Yeah, I don’t know. I’m more of a subway rider.

Your last film was about vampires. What attracted you to writing about a blue collar poem-writing bus driver?

I don’t know. Why not? I don’t analyze really why. I was just interested in the imagination of those characters.

The film features a lot of two person scenes that are very cinematic. What was your thought process in filming them?

Oh I don’t know. I like all the scenes with Laura and Paterson. I like the scene very much with the little young poet with the girl, with the two people talking. And I don’t know, I never thought about that. I have no idea how to answer that.

Louisa Krause

You’re working on two new projects, The Super and New Money. Can you tell us about them?

The Super is about this guy with two young daughters—he’s the new super in this building where Val Kilmer is already the super and he’s this kind of mystical shaman. But when this new super comes, people start missing. People go missing in the building and we don’t know who it is. Could it be him, Val Kilmer? Nobody knows. But I’m one of the lovely tenets and sort of am the love interest to the new suitor, played by Patrick Flueger. He’s a great guy. I sort of bond with one of the young daughters.

And new money is this really zany story about this person—it takes place in Michigan—about this woman who ends up kidnapping her father who has dementia because he’s written her out of the will. Unfairly, if I—it’s unfair to my character. And Brandan Sexton III is in that who’s just the dream. But it’s sort of a dark comedy. But it’s more of a drama but there are funny elements. It’s very character driven, great characters, great cast.

Following the screening star Adam Driver, poet Rod Padgett (who wrote the poetry for the film) with additional celebrity guests Winona Ryder, Shiloh Fernandez, Michael Zegen, Mary Kay Place, Margarita Levieva, Louisa Krause, Rebecca Forteau, Larry Fessenden, Beck Underwood, Charlotte Kemp-Muhl, Bob Gruen, Ahn Duong, Interpol’s Daniel Kessler, Parquet Court’s Austin Brown, Lenny Kaye, Bush Tetras’ Cynthia Sley and more made their way across town to Jane Ballroom for cocktails, canapes, and music by DJ Jonathan Kreinik (hand-picked by director Jim Jarmusch).

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