Tell us a bit about yourselves and role in the creation of this work.
Larose Paris is a brand owned by a close friend of mine, Isaac Larose, whose creative mind I highly respect. We had been trying to collaborate for a while, but my schedule made me unable to get involved in his content projects for a couple of years. Finally, at the end of 2016, he offered me to direct his fashion film for a new product he was launching. And for some reason, I felt like this was the kind of project I could use to write my first (very short) script. So this is what I did, and a few weeks later, we had completed La Fille d’Hérode, my first “written-and-directed-by” project, which was so much fun to make. I decided after that that I wanted to do more of those. La Coupe (The Cut) is the third fashion film I wrote and directed for Larose Paris, and I had a blast, once again, making it.
What drew you to this project?
The fact that I have creative freedom over the script is what keeps me coming back to these projects. I rarely have the chance to write and direct projects in a short amount of time, and especially not for a client. Writing and directing makes me feel very accountable; I can’t blame anybody if the project sucks at the end! It also allows me to make stuff that is a bit different from what I usually do in commercials, without losing my signature flavor. I also don’t get called a lot to pitch on fashion-driven projects by other brands, so it’s my indirect way of being able to work in this field of filmmaking.
Can you share with us any alternative ideas (if any) you had for approaching this campaign? Why was this idea chosen?
Oh I had some good ones and some horrible ones too. But at first, since we were advertising a cowboy hat, I wanted the scenario to take place in a Sergio Leone, spaghetti western kind of setting. Schedule and budget eventually killed this idea. Also, the more I looked at the previous films, the more I realized that we had been able to create quality pieces by always keeping it simple, and I felt that staying with that mindset would help the brand keep a signature direction, which is always good.
What was the greatest challenge that you and your team faced during filming? How did you overcome it?
The barber shop that we rented for the shoot was very narrow, and had mirrors on both sides. It was hard to choose camera angles, because we kept seeing the camera’s reflection. A few days before filming, Kristof Brandl, the director of photography, suggested we should shoot this film in a 4:3 aspect ratio. He had just shot a stunning piece, called Nobu’s Tale, in that same ratio, and he felt that not only would it help us avoid the reflections by being in a tighter frame, but it would also complement that old-school look we were going for, with the black and white. So we did shoot it in 4:3, and even if I wasn’t too keen on the idea at first, now I can’t see this project having been done in any other format.
Any behind the scenes stories you’d like to share from this shoot?
Surprisingly enough, both Franco (The Barber) and Leo (The Client) were first-time actors. We took a chance on them, but it ended up working really well. Also, Franco’s main language is Italian, which I don’t speak at all, so communicating with each other was a bit complicated. But by speaking slowly, and gesturing a lot, we were able to understand each other in the end, and he did a really good job!