Sundance 2012 Interview: Quentin Dupieux on ‘Wrong’

The director of Rubber and Wrong talks about discovering his own movies and why he won't film love scenes.

Fred Topelby Fred Topel


Rubber was my favorite movie of 2011 but when I called it a French New Wave film, writer/director Quentin Dupieux didn’t like that. He was just doing his own thing. His film Wrong played at the Sundance Film Festival and I came up with a better description, a “no reason” film, like the Rubber’s explanation for why things happen in movies. Wrong has more crazy things happen for no reason, like clocks striking 7:60 and William Fichtner playing Master Chang. I caught up with Dupieux at Sundance and he liked my new interpretation much better.


CraveOnline: When I called Rubber a French new wave film, you didn’t like that and I meant it as the rebellious sense of breaking all the rules. Would a “no reason” film be a better way to describe that?

Quentin Dupieux: Yeah, yeah. I mean, I don’t like the idea of a new wave because if something like this becomes a wave, suddenly it is not unique anymore. The idea of a wave is suddenly it becomes something you can describe and something you know. Suddenly it’s not special and not unique anymore. That’s why I don’t like the idea of a French wave but if I’m the only guy surfing on that wave, I’m totally fine with it. That’s what I’m trying to do. I just think as a movie buff, I just think we need something fresh, even if I’m still watching a lot of movies and I’m still enjoying a lot of movies these days. As a viewer, I need something fresh.


At the premiere you said you’d have to watch the movie again to be able to talk about it. Do you usually have to revisit your own films to understand them?

No, but let’s say this one, I just discovered because the process has been so fast, I discovered the movie when I was editing it, which is the perfect situation for me. When I was shooting it, it was exciting, it was fun, I was super focused but without knowing why, I was just totally into it. That was more like my instinct driving me. I was not thinking oh, this should be done like this. I was just driven by my instinct which is fantastic because then you stop the shooting, you wait like three days and then you start the computer and discover the footage. And then everything makes sense. It’s crazy when you do that, when you follow your instinct. So yeah, I discovered my movie on the computer when I was editing it. Now we’ve done two screenings here with a real audience and now I’m like oh yeah, I’m getting it even more.


Is this another “no reason” film?

I want to see something different, so probably I’m shooting it because I want to see it. The problem these days, and again I’m not trying to be smarter than anyone, I think I’m dumb and I still like tons of movies. But I feel like I understand too much when I watch a movie.


I know you work by going on instinct and what’s funny, but I do think since it’s all your point of view there are themes that emerge. If Rubber was inspired by our experience viewing things, is Wrong about our social contracts that don’t make sense?

Yeah, it’s a bit the same, of course. I’m not doing this consciously but of course yes. It’s not random stuff. Of course I’m talking about real stuff. If you take each scene, for example when Dolph gets fired, it’s like in the real world. But it’s inside the movie Wrong so you watch it differently. But it’s just the boss firing again a poor guy and that’s totally like real life stuff. So I think yeah, I might be, I have to be inspired by [real life.] But you’re right. Let’s say Rubber was inspired by movies. This one is inspired by life because we approach real subjects like something missing, something you love is missing and the Master Chang monologue, even if it sounds absolutely freaky and funny, if you read it, it makes sense because it is true and it’s inspired by things I noticed. Like the jacket example, when he says, “When you get a new jacket, you get a costume. But after a few days that jacket doesn’t bring you any joy at all.” That’s real. That’s real stuff. Then if someone stole your jacket, suddenly you want that jacket again. That sounds terrible but it’s real and then he says, “Same goes for love.” That’s real. But it’s inside a stupid context, this Master Chang thing and the stupid meeting in the forest, like it’s very official. But it contains real things.


What’s the line you won’t cross?

Don’t film love scenes. I hate even in good movies when they go there, when they spend two minutes on two people making love, I always think, “What a bunch of dicks.” I will never film this because it’s like filming someone sh*tting. Suddenly you’re watching Die Hard and you see Bruce Willis shitting. There’s no point.


Was it hard to make a clock go to 7:60?

Yeah, a little bit because it was an old clock. The prop manager did this.


Did it go to 61?

We don’t know.


People see Rubber as profound and hilarious. Is that okay with you?

Yeah. I mean, yeah. I think it’s the same in life. Being funny, just like you’re having a dinner with some friends and making ten friends laugh, that’s not that easy unless you’re really naturally funny. So I’m totally fine with this. Even if my movies contain more, I’m fine with people laughing at it. Actually I like it. I love it.


I was more concerned that you don’t want them to see more, since it can be funny and have all those themes.

Yeah, I don’t really care about this. I know even in Wrong, there are a few deep meanings that come from my subconscious. I’m okay with it. It’s like being naked because I write without thinking so yeah, it contains some kind of deep meanings but that’s not the point. That’s just for you, the viewer. Take it if you want but if you don’t, you can just watch it as pure fun and just 90 minutes of non real life stuff.


What is Mr. Oizo?

The name? It means bird in French. But it’s just with a bad spelling, but Oizo means bird. It’s just an old nickname a friend gave to me when I was 18. I don't know why, maybe my nose. That is just my pseudonym for music.