Meant to be

Paul Auster on his Lulu on the Bridge screenplay, Wim Wenders and Juliette Binoche

by Anne-Katrin Titze

Paul Auster on the beginning of ending up directing Lulu On The Bridge: "My good friend Wim Wenders, who gets a credit here, he said he had been working with Juliette Binoche, talking for years about a project to do Lulu, somehow."
Paul Auster on the beginning of ending up directing Lulu On The Bridge: "My good friend Wim Wenders, who gets a credit here, he said he had been working with Juliette Binoche, talking for years about a project to do Lulu, somehow." Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

Paul Auster's Lulu On The Bridge, shot by Alik Sakharov (The Sopranos), edited by Tim Squyres, and costumes by Adelle Lutz, stars Harvey Keitel and Mira Sorvino with Willem Dafoe, Gina Gershon, Mandy Patinkin, Vanessa Redgrave, Richard Edson, Don Byron, Victor Argo, Kevin Corrigan, Sophie Auster (Paul and Siri Hustvedt's daughter), and has scene stealing cameos by Lou Reed and David Byrne.

Lulu On The Bridge and The Inner Life Of Martin Frost in Paul Auster x 2
Lulu On The Bridge and The Inner Life Of Martin Frost in Paul Auster x 2

At Metrograph's screening of a 35mm print on loan from MoMA, attended by Tim Squyres, who is also Ang Lee's incredibly longtime editor (Gemini Man; Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk; Life Of Pi; Taking Woodstock; Hulk; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Lust, Caution; Ride With The Devil; The Ice Storm; Sense And Sensibility; The Wedding Banquet; Eat Drink Man Woman; Pushing Hands, and Gideon Raff's upcoming The Red Sea Diving Resort), Paul Auster in a conversation with Jake Perlin said that originally he was hoping Wim Wenders would direct his Lulu On The Bridge screenplay with Juliette Binoche on-board to star.

After he co-directed Smoke and Blue In The Face with Wayne Wang, Auster actually did not want to make another film. But the fates conspired.

Paul Auster: I didn't want to make another film. I wanted to get back to writing books. So I said, maybe I could turn it into a novel and I tried but it was meant to be a film. You have to see all of this somehow. The fact is, I was dithering with it and tinkering with it, and then my good friend Wim Wenders, who gets a credit here, he said he had been working with Juliette Binoche, talking for years about a project to do Lulu, somehow. A new version of [Frank Wedekind's] Lulu.

An Evening With Paul Auster at The Metrograph in New York
An Evening With Paul Auster at The Metrograph in New York Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

He said for years they couldn't figure out how to do it. And he said: "Paul will figure it out." And actually I was in Berlin, Smoke has won the German Best Foreign Film award. And we were having dinner, and I said: "Well, I do have this thing to get out of my head. And maybe Lulu could be integrated into it." And I started working on the script for Wim. It was going to be his and hers. And they were both in.

And then, first she won the Academy Award [Best Actress in a Supporting Role in The English Patient] and got all crazy about what she wanted to do next. And then Wim had other conflicts, commitments. And he said: "You know, I think you should direct it yourself." So I said "Yeah, I probably should." I kind of stumbled into it that way … There's a whole heart of the film that got cut out. There were four or five scenes of Lulu [the film within the film directed by Vanessa Redgrave as Catherine Moore] in the movie.

Combining a game played by Celia Burns (Mira Sorvino) and Izzy Maurer (Harvey Keitel) in Lulu on the Bridge, with the titles of two of the three movie posters prominently displayed during a scene, I asked the following question:

Anne-Katrin Titze: Are you Singin' In The Rain or La Grande Illusion?

Paul Auster: I am La Grande Illusion!

Share this with others on...
News

Welcome back CCA We report from the celebrations of the iconic Glasgow venue's resurrection

Urgent ideas Mohcine Besri on healthcare, hospitals and humour in his latest film

Finding her voice Wash Westmoreland on La Belle Époque and Keira Knightley as Colette

Something electric Julian Richards on sympathetic monsters, Reborn and Daddy's Girl

The Favourite is favourite at the Critics' Choice Awards Black Panther and First Man among top contenders

Joy wins Golden Star in Marrakech The Chambermaid also honoured

More news and features

We're bringing you reviews from the French Film Festival UK.



We're looking forward to next year's Sundance Film Festival.

We've recently been covering the Scottish Queer International Film Festival, the Marrakech Film Festival. the Talinn Black Nights festival, the Seville Film Festival, Welsh scarefest Abertoir, the Dunoon Film Festival, documentary focus DOC NYC, the Czech Republic's Made In Prague, the London Film Festival and the New York Film Festival.



Read our full for recent coverage.


Visit our festivals section.

Interact

Win some Nativity Rocks! kids goodies in our latest competitions.