“We were interested in family relationships and dynamics between female friendships”: Greener Grass press conference with directors and stars Dawn Luebbe and Jocelyn DeBoer
“They’re attached at the hip. They’re like a two-headed monster.” So said the producer of Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe, the writer-director team and stars of Greener Grass, a bizarre Lynchian tale of American middle-class suburbia filled with competitive mothers and startlingly short husbands. Never has wealth and entitlement looked so grotesque.
DeBoer said the film came from experience. “Both of us grew up in suburbia. We wanted to tell the stories of women we knew in our neighbourhood. We wanted to show external things, which is obviously part of the epidemic of social media, where no attention is placed on the inner self.”
The comic absurdity of the bourgeois tableau is married to a sharp critique of commodity fetishism and ludicrous social mores. DeBoer continued: “There is a lightness and funniness to the movie and then we hit with the harder stuff. With the film we’re laughing with it as well as at it, and we have respect for that world too.”
On their working relationship, DeBoer explained their creative process. “We write at the same time, and we pick the brains of other writing duos. We’re always looking at the page at the same time. Think of us as one. We’re both middle children and we can keep the peace.”
Luebbe said: “When we disagree we come to a decision in private, and present a unified front for actors and studio heads.”
Cinematic influences listed included David Lynch, Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands in particular), Wes Anderson, Yorgos Lanthimos, John Waters, Douglas Sirk and even Armando Iannucci.
Of the film’s themes, Luebbe noted: “My character very much wants what Jocelyn’s character wants. We were drawn to domestic drama, and we worked on sketch comedies together for many years. We were interested in family relationships and dynamics between female friendships.”
“The parents are in competition with their children. They have such great hopes for them. But they misplace their values. This is about where people place importance. There could be the serial killer on the loose but your best friend is seen as the bigger threat. We create identities through our children, and they become pawns. Parents want them to behave a certain way, to be obedient.”
Said parents may as well get a dog.
Featured Image: Getty Images / Marco Tacca
Read more reviews from our Locarno Film Festival 2019 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Locarno Film Festival website here.