You Were Never Really Here, Lynne Ramsay’s intense revenge thriller has a lot in common with graphic novels and comic-books, in terms of how Ramsay uses beautifully composed imagery to deliver psychological explorations of trauma and violence. Stick a cowl on Joaquin Phoenix and it could be a Batman movie.
Ahead of You Were Never Really Here’s sold-out premiere tonight at the Glasgow Film Festival, we sat down to talk comic-books with Ramsay, discovering how they’ve influenced her work.
Yahoo: At the Cannes press conference for You Were Never Really Here you said that you liked comic-books when you were a kid – I’d love to know what comic-books you read, because I’d love to see a superhero movie done in the style of You Were Never Really Here…
Lynne Ramsay: When I was 15 or 16, I had a boyfriend who was an obsessive fan [of comics]. His apartment was so full of comic-books he made a path through the boxes to get places. He bought me The Dark Knight and Watchmen, the original graphic novels.
My boyfriend at the time was always on about the psychology of the characters, the ones that he really liked tended to have these strange histories. A lot of them are quite Freudian and strange. I liked Bill Sienkiewicz’s work, and Alan Moore is so special.
The ones I liked were deeply, darkly screwed-up reflections of the world – where you can see how they became what they became and that past was super-psychological.
Did you ever read The Killing Joke, the Alan Moore Joker story?
We split up when he was talking about that one, so I didn’t get around to it, but I heard really great things about that. The Joker’s a really interesting character.
There’s some amazing things in graphic novels and comic-books, and they taught me a lot about filmmaking as well. Someone said to me that You Were Never Really Here’s like a graphic novel.
I think I’ve learned a lot about filmmaking through comic-books, in terms of how to tell a story visually. That had an influence on me.
Would you be up for directing Batgirl?
If you’re able to do it without a committee, with a real set approach to it, where you have freedom and people trust you, that would be amazing. Even Star Wars has some great psychologies behind certain things. You just want to take it into the realms where you can be quite subversive with it and people are going to be up for that. That’s the way I’d do it if anyone was up for it being that [kind of] thing.
You Were Never Really Here is in UK cinemas on 9 March. The Glasgow Film Festival runs from 21 February to 4 March.
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