Quotes by: Whit Stillman

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Whit Stillman
Born John Whitney Stillman
(1952-01-25) January 25, 1952 (age 64)
Washington, D.C.
Alma mater Harvard University (BA, 1973)
Occupation Screenwriter, film director
Years active 1973–present
Notable work Metropolitan (1990)
The Last Days of Disco (1998)

The usual key to getting films made seems to be a producer's terrier-like determination not to let it go. Unfortunately, such producers often seem prone to sinking their claws into mediocre projects.
Whit Stillman
I had, in college, a professor called Walter Jackson Bate, and he taught a course called The Age of Johnson. It's about Samuel Johnson and his period, 18th-century British writing. So we all got to endure Samuel Johnson, and Boswell's 'Life of Johnson' is now my favorite book. I read it all the time I can; it's great for going to sleep.
Whit Stillman
A brief experience with a Radcliffe girl got very bad very quickly. I was so destroyed by it that I left and went to Mexico for a semester, where I have cousins. I learned how to speak Spanish, which was really important for my life. It was wonderful going to Mexico, learning another culture and a language.
Whit Stillman
Coming out of university, one of my obsessions was that in the novels I was reading, they seemed to be portraying a world that had a social fabric. People knew each other in 'War and Peace.' They went to all the same balls. These were societies with tightly wound, woven, social textures.
Whit Stillman
There are bad preppies and bad priests and bad humanitarians. Any group can have its bad apple.
Whit Stillman
Really, having a show freely available online is like having your book in the library. It's wonderful; it's ideal.
Whit Stillman
I think that, in terms of mainstream storytelling, the rebel gets off way too easy. We're way too hard on the insiders and way too soft on the outsiders.
Whit Stillman
One of the reasons it's important to make a new project is it always seems to improve the reputations of the previous one. Whatever you did before is better than what you've just done, apparently. But I've had to follow the first rule of journalism: Never read the comments.
Whit Stillman
What I like and find liberating in dialogue comedy is that the characters, and what they say, are not me. These are fleeting thoughts and observations and not presented as truths but as something that illuminates the character and the dynamic between the characters. This kind of dialogue is thesis and antithesis - and we never get to a synthesis.
Whit Stillman
There's something really admirable about French culture and an attraction in how independent it is from our own. So, it's odd that in other countries that are very American-influenced - who seem to care more about the Oscars than anyone here does - there's both anti-Americanism and also too much America.
Whit Stillman
I like to allow a story to arise as I'm writing scripts. I find it horrible when I try to think of something for the plot without really being on the ground and seeing where it goes.
Whit Stillman
I remember going to one party of this preppy, bourgeois crowd, and there was some obnoxious character there, really bad news, and saying, 'Oh my God, so the caricature you always see in films actually exists.'
Whit Stillman
If you're mostly a writer - if your point of departure is writing something - which for a writer/director is sort of where you start, you're really influenced by the writers you love one way or another.
Whit Stillman
The worst thing is the blank page at the start. Then the horrible things written on the blank page. Then deciding whether or not to throw out those horrible things: lame scenes, lame characters, bad ideas.
Whit Stillman
When you're doing the work, film and TV are exactly the same. TV is just film in reduced pieces.
Whit Stillman
The 'Damsels' crew was low-budget, young people who were doing their first thing almost. A lot of it. It felt like Pied Piper or Rumpelstiltskin or whatever: it was me and people thirty years younger or more. But it was great; it was really fun.
Whit Stillman
I love writing novels, but I'm very fearful about writing something from absolute scratch. I kind of don't have the time to write something from scratch. I think when my knees completely give out, and I can't make films anymore, I would try to write novels from scratch.
Whit Stillman
I always wanted to direct and write a movie, but I thought that I didn't really have it in me. I tried to write fiction and humorous short stories, and some were considered successful, but it was always a huge effort for a small reward. I was always intimidated by the process.
Whit Stillman
I'm not sure what my material would have been if I'd have started earlier. I probably would have started with 'Damsels in Distress' kinds of films because that's the kind of comedy I was writing in college. So I didn't really have any life experience to work off of.
Whit Stillman
So much of selling a film in the industry is about creating a fulcrum where all the pressure comes to bear, and something seems suddenly valuable and approved by an audience. It's amazing how people could pick up tons of films on the cheap, but they don't because they wait until everything is laid out for them.
Whit Stillman
I don't think you change from the time you're 16 until you die. Maybe your body changes, and you have different experiences, but I think you become a fully conscious soul with full abilities. Souls are eternal, and if you keep your marbles until you croak in your 90s or your 100s, you're the same.
Whit Stillman
I have to embrace the fact people find me divisive, but I find it remarkable. I was very disturbed by the hatred 'Damsels in Distress' received.
Whit Stillman
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