Leslye Headland bounced right into the midtown Manhattan hotel room, talking fast with her blonde hair flying. She has a deep ballsy laugh yet also projects an endearing, almost childlike, vulnerability.
When Headland sat down with the Examiner, she confided, “It’s always so obvious how I feel. It’s all over my face.”
Headland’s movie “Bachelorette” was an official selection at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and stars Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher, Lizzy Caplan, James Marsden, Adam Scott and Rebel Wilson.
Did you enjoy Tuesday night’s New York City “Bachelorette” premiere?
Premieres and opening nights of plays are always anxious for me. The parties and the photos are just sort of a blur. It’ll sink in later and I’ll be watching “Parks and Rec” and eating 30 cookies and I’ll be like, “God, I made a movie!”
Did it seem like a really long stretch between the January 2012 Sundance Film Festival and this week’s premiere?
I’m so glad that we got to recut the movie. We rushed so much to get it into the festival. The past nine months have actually been really lovely because I got to go back in and make the movie I really wanted to make. Radius couldn’t have been any more supportive of a first time movie director. I really expected them to say, “Great. Thank you for your cut. We’re going to call somebody else in now.”
Was the anticipation before Sundance exciting?
Leading up to Sundance was awful [laughs]. I was like, “Oh my God, we’re not going to get this movie done.”
How do you choose the actors for your projects?
Many directors get so much out of auditions but, for some reason, I don’t. I like to sit down and hang out with actors. I went to Tisch so I was always around a lot of actors. When I’m looking to cast a role, I just love sitting across from someone and hearing what they think of the script.
How did you choose Kirsten Dunst for the character Regan?
Meeting Kirsten was nerve-wracking. I remember driving to meet her and I’d smoked like 37 cigarettes and had like 18 shots of espresso. I just really wanted her to do this movie and I didn’t know what I should do to get her to say yes. Directors that I look up to—like Kubrick and Altman—have reputations of being manipulators but I’m so not like that. I’m such an open book. I thought I was going to really have to talk her into doing it.
Was Kirsten Dunst your first choice?
I didn’t immediately think of her for this part only because I didn’t know we could get somebody like that [laughs]. When we were casting I kept saying, “Who’s been stuck doing dramas? Is there somebody who has been crying all year that we can get?” I wanted to get a dramatic actress who also knows comedy. Then Kirsten’s name came up and I thought that was brilliant. All you have to do is look at “Bring it On,” and that same year she did “Virgin Suicides.” We needed an actress of that caliber. It was a gift from God that Kirsten, who I was a huge fan of, liked the character.
Can you describe the journey of making this movie?
It was really stressful. I loved it but it’s sort of like, “What was your experience being pregnant?” You know, terrible, but I’m really glad that I had the baby.
“Bachelorette” is now playing in NYC at the Angelika Film Center and AMC Empire 25. Rated R. 94 minutes.