Todd Haynes on The Velvet Underground and Having Music Lead the Experience - VRGyani News and Media

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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Todd Haynes on The Velvet Underground and Having Music Lead the Experience

With the music documentary, The Velvet Underground, now streaming on AppleTV, I recently spoke with director Todd Haynes about making his first documentary which explores one of the most influential groups in rock history. Unlike a lot of documentaries which use talking heads to explore the subject, Haynes uses the music and images of the era to lead your experience. In fact, when Haynes decided to make the documentary, he decided to only include people that were witness to everything that was happening with the band. That meant he only included band members, family members, collaborators and band affiliates. Furthermore, Haynes and his team use never before-seen performances, Andy Warhol films, and other experimental art, to creates an immersive experience that makes you feel like you’re watching something the band might have created themselves. While Haynes might have been an unconventional choice to helm the documentary, he’s crafted a great film that is absolutely worth your time.

During the interview, Haynes talks about how he figured out the way to visually tell the story, the challenges of getting the rights to use all the footage, how he got Jonathan Richman to do an interview, how he wanted the viewer to feel like the images and music were leading your experience, the benefits of having access to so much material from the band and era, why they always protected the first act of the film which takes its time exploring the sources of the music, and more. In addition, Haynes talks about the 12-part series about Sigmund Freud he was going to make before COVID shut everything down and how he’s getting ready to make a film about Peggy Lee starring Michelle Williams.

RELATED: 'The Velvet Underground' Is Ready for Their Closeup in New Documentary Trailer

Watch what he had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about.

Todd Haynes

  • If he could get the financing to make anything he wants, what would he make and why?
  • How he was going to make a 12-part series about Sigmund Freud before COVID shut everything down.
  • How did he figure out how he wanted to tell the story visually?
  • How you write as you make it when you’re making a documentary.
  • How they had access to so much material from the band and era.
  • How he wanted the viewer to feel like the images and music were leading your experience and the interviews were behind that in the documentary.
  • How he got Jonathan Richman for the documentary.
  • Was it difficult to get the clearances to use the footage in the film?
  • Did he ever have a much longer cut of the movie?
  • Why they always protected the first act of the film which takes its time exploring the sources of the music.
  • How his next project will be a film about Peggy Lee starring Michelle Williams.


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