“It came through a mutual friend of ours, Todd Haynes, who I had worked with and had a really good experience being directed by,” Williams recalls. “It first came to me in short story form with a little letter saying, ‘This is a dear friend. Think you guys would get along.’”
“I’m a reader,” Williams explains. “I like to read books, and it really captured – there was so many things in it, so many qualities in the writing, the descriptive language. It was a really natural decision. I just called my agent one day and said I’m going to Portland. I’ll be there for the month of August.”
This timely look at the pressures of a failing economy is imbued with classic cinéma vérité, so it’s no surprise to hear director Kelly Reichardt’s influences are founded in classic cinema.
“A lot of the Italian neo-realism, it seemed like a really good time to go back and revisit. There’s also some new German cinema, like some [Rainer Werner] Fassbinder, that I went back to. All those themes – the social issues – seemed really relevant for the moment. The kids in the beginning of the film … who really live off the grid all over America, they have a community amongst themselves. It’s a total throwback, even aesthetically, seeing these kids. It’s so Depression Era.
Wendy and Lucy is a powerful film, bolstered by Williams’ moving performance and deftly guided by Reichardt’s direction, something worth seeing during hard times.
Wendy and Lucy releases in select theaters Dec. 12.