Ingrid Goes West- An Interview with Writer/Director Matt Spicer

A film that has really caught my eye over the past few months has been Ingrid Goes West. I have heard plenty of positive buzz surrounding this movie coming out of different film festivals, which immediately put it on my radar. Starring Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen, and O'Shea Jackson Jr., the movie follows Ingrid (Plaza), an unhinged social media stalker who travels to Los Angeles in order to manipulate herself into the life of Taylor Sloane (Olsen), a social media star. It sounded as if the film could lend itself to being a profound look at the current use of social media and how it impacts our relationships and communication skills, but done in a more eccentric way. The trailer is incredibly striking, and certainly takes you by surprise. Aubrey Plaza looks phenomenal in this, and has been slowly building a repertoire of powerful performances in smaller films, and Ingrid Goes West looks to be yet another addition into her building impressive body of work. So I was very happy to have the chance to talk to Matt Spicer, the co-writer and director of Ingrid Goes West

So here is my interview with Matt Spicer:

Ingrid Goes West was written by you and David Branson Smith. What was the inspiration for the movie?
"Dave and I were having lunch one day and talking about our mutual love of Instagram while acknowledging the fact that it makes us feel bad about ourselves sometimes, like we're not going on enough vacations or wearing cool enough clothes or making us feel like all of our friends are hanging out without us. I think it was Dave who mentioned the idea of doing a kind of Single White Female for the social media generation and we both kind of laughed about it, but for whatever reason that idea stuck with me. As we started talking about it, the idea started to take on a life of its own and became something very different, but that was really how it started."
You've directed short films before, but this is your first feature film. How would you say your time directing those short films helped prepare you for taking on Ingrid Goes West?
"I intentionally shot the short film using the same camera and lenses that I ended up using for Ingrid so from a technical standpoint, I felt very comfortable because of what I learned doing the short. Before the short, I had never used anamorphic lenses before, and they're very finicky and quirky, and there's a bit of a learning curve involved. We shot the feature on an Alexa Mini, which was helpful because the camera itself has a much smaller footprint than the original Alexa had. The other big realization I had doing the short was it takes so much time and energy to get a short going, but you only shoot for 3 days. It felt like kind of a waste. I thought to myself, if doing a short is this much work I might as well shoot for 25 days and make a feature, you know? So I came away from the short feeling confident that I was ready for something bigger, which was helpful."

Aubrey Plaza served as a producer on this movie. Was there a difference in how you collaborated with her director-to-producer, as opposed to director-to-actor?
"Aubrey was always very respectful of me as [a] director, so even though she and I would disagree from time to time, she always allowed me to have the final say, which I appreciated. That being said, Aubrey is way more experienced than I am and incredibly smart, so anytime she had an idea or something to say, I made sure to listen. We were totally on the same page with what we wanted to be that it really felt so natural and collaborative and fluid that it's hard to say. I think we just tried to look out for each other, and be honest with one another which is all you can really ask for."
I have read articles about some of the challenges that went on during the production of this film. How did these challenges test you as a director?
"It was an incredibly difficult shoot, and I know that because there were multiple really experienced crew members who came up to me afterwards and said things like 'I've been working in the business for 15 years and I've never seen anyone deal with the amount of stuff you had to deal with.' That being said, I think any film that gets made is a miracle, even the bad ones, so I feel grateful just having made it through with a film that I'm proud of, and you know how the saying goes: whatever doesn't kill you, etc., etc."

What new projects are you currently working on?
"I'm adapting something for Netflix and my other co-writer, Max Winkler, and I are writing the new Rocketeeer movie for Disney. The original Rocketeer was one of my favorite movies as a kid, and [is] an underrated classic in my opinion, so I'm excited to be playing around in that world."
Ingrid Goes West opens wide in theaters on August 25th.

What do you think? Did you like our interview with Matt Spicer? Are you looking forward to seeing Ingrid Goes West? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. 

Written by: Nate
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