Good Time: Press conference with Josh and Benny Safdie, Robert Pattinson, Buddy Duress and co-stars
Director duo Josh and Benny Safdie debut in competition at Cannes with Good Time, a frantic, high-octane pulp thriller, which provides Robert Pattinson with one of his meatiest roles to date as deadbeat New York hustler Connie.
For Josh Safdie, this was a film rooted in the array of misfits and chancers who populate the world of his creation. “All our movies are born out of the characters. We made biographies about them from minute one. It was a long but organic process.”
One of the main stars of the picture is the score, a pulsing catalyst for the relentless pressure and tension. It was provided by the Pitchfork-certified Oneohtrix Point Never (real name: Daniel Lopatin). Josh spoke of their working relationship: “He’s a tapehead not a cinephile. We linked on an ethical and intellectual level almost immediately. We were very clear about what we wanted, which was something embedded in the emotions of the movie. The score became another character – the music can’t be just slapped on top.”
Of the purpose and method of the picture as a whole, Josh stated his intent. “We make termite art that gets through and whittles you away to your core.”
Josh’s co-director and brother Benny appears in the film. He plays Connie’s autistic brother, Nick, and he spoke of his preparation for the role: “I had to be true to the character by blocking feelings off because Nick wouldn’t feel them. We had a lot of access to Manhattan jails and psych centres.”
Buddy Duress is a revelation as a carefree loudmouth with a lust for life. He explained his approach to the character: “He’s a criminal. He doesn’t give a f*ck, he’s free in his mind, and no one can break his spirit. He lives life for the moment. I kind of live like that. I’m an ex-criminal and I used that criminal mindset to help my acting. Three years ago I was in a bad place and now I’m at Cannes!”
Pattinson is undoubtedly the star attraction, and he explained his desire to work with the brothers Safdie. “I saw a still from Heaven Knows What, the Safdies’ previous film. I knew I wanted to work with these guys. I saw the trailer and I knew. It’s so rare that you chase something through to the end.”
On playing the role of Connie, the actor wanted to depict a sense of realism and grittiness with the character. “I wanted to look as if I had been street cast. I went into auditions just with my Denver accent. It was a guerrilla-style shoot, so I was scared about the paparazzi. I was trying to be a ghost in the crowd. But when the directors put pockmarks on my skin, for example, no one took any notice of me on the tube in rush hour.”
Pattinson stated that it was difficult at first to embody Connie, a man of instinctive brutishness and self-interest. “He’s quite an amoral character who is forced to care about something.”
Of his roles for the next year Pattinson aims to work with directors Claire Denis and Antonio Campos, among others. “The whole year is planned out.”
Photo: Laurent Emmanuel / Getty Images
Read our review of Good Time here.
Read more of our reviews and interviews from the festival here.
For further information about Cannes Film Festival 2017 visit here.