Preparing for Take-off

Todd Cole on the Making of His Rodarte Film

Los Angeles is a city with no history. It’s essentially a brand new city, which is strange, but also liberating. You can come here and do whatever you want, be whoever you want, because you’re liberated from the old systems that dictate how we evolve.

When I first moved here I would go around certain neighborhoods and think, ‘How could anyone live here?’ Seven years later, I was living here thinking it was the most beautiful place on the planet. The strange vegetation, the Stucco houses, the lack of planning and the lack of centre, driving through all these bizarre landscapes—you spend a lot of time in your car. I look out the window and love the odd succulents, the empty lots and dry grass and fields, the enigmatic colors in the sky. This whole city has evolved without any classical planning. It’s raw but lit by this really beautiful, clean light.

I met Laura and Kate [Mulleavy] three years ago. We have a similar way of thinking about things, and of being inspired by the sunlight, the desert and the ocean of LA. I suggested we make a film, and we started talking about NASA and JPL because we all love outer space. We thought it would be great to make a horror film. The girls are really into horror movies, and it’s a big influence in their work. I didn’t want to make a slasher film because it can be so over the top and difficult to pull off, but I like the idea of evil and the general idea is that technology inspires fear. The film opens with the rocket firing and then Guinevere [van Seenus] is running—but why does the rocket fire and what is she running from? I didn’t want to make anything too explicit, but rather create a feeling based on something imaginary. The viewer can connect the dots.


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