Pierced, mean and cruel: the teen flick that shocked America


Artykuł pochodzi z pisma "Guardian"

Anne Thompson
Sunday August 24, 2003
The Observer

Anyone who knows a teenager will recognise how uncomfortably close to the truth Thirteen really is. You'd think from all the audible audience gasps and groans, and the media furore that greeted the film when it opened in America last week, that they were watching a horror movie rather than two young girls sticking out their pierced tongues.
The movie feels authentic because it was ripped from reality and was written one year before it premiered last January at the Sundance Film Festival (where rookie director Catherine Hardwicke won a directing prize). A Hollywood production designer, Hardwicke felt compelled to tell her young friend Nikki Reed's story. 'It was her life,' says Hardwicke, who once dated Reed's father and considers herself a 'spillover parent'. 'It blew my mind, I was mesmerised by it.' In six days last January, she and Reed, who was 13 at the time, hammered out the first draft.
Reed was in many ways a typical 'Valley Girl'. A child of divorce, she was a student at a public San Fernando Valley middle school, and had already pierced her own bellybutton at age nine, and had overnight, it seemed, turned into a skin-cutting, thong-wearing, parent-defying, fashion-addict 'hottie'. 'It just happens. The minute they set their eyes on what they want, they change,' says Hardwicke, who remembers wondering, 'Who is this?' 'She made herself into this gorgeous person who got up at 4:30am to put on her hair and make-up for two hours before seventh grade.' Hardwicke hated hearing the cruel way Reed talked to her mom. 'I knew how much she loved her, it broke my heart,' she says. 'I said, "I've got to try and help heal this."'
After Reed returned to school, Hardwicke revised the script. She did research on the growing numbers of kids who cut themselves. A veteran production designer ( Suburbia , Three Kings , Posse ), Hardwicke had always wanted to direct, but had no takers. 'I was a first-time director without the right formula to make money,' she says. But she was consumed by the need to get this movie made, 'even if I shot it on digital video at my house'. And she felt strongly that Reed, 'as she is', had to star in the film.
So Hardwicke took her video camera and shot the scene where the mom discovers her daughter's bellybutton ring, then cut it on her computer. Hardwicke couldn't stop talking about her movie, and met a psychotherapist at a party, who introduced her to her husband, movie producer Michael London (40 Days, 40 Nights). Hardwicke just happened to have the script in her car. The next morning, London was on the phone saying he wanted to make the movie. Hardwicke introduced him to another interested producer, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, for whom she had just designed Laurel Canyon. They raised the money for the movie from equity investors, including Working Title.
Despite the tight budget (just under $2 million), Hardwicke was able to land Oscar-winner Holly Hunter to play the mom, and Evan Rachel Wood, the young star of TV's Once and Again, to playing Nikki's alter ego. Reed herself stars as the bad seed, Evie. 'We did not have a dolly or a tripod,' says Hardwicke, who shot the film on super-16 mm to give it an analogue-grainy effect when it was blown up to 35 mm. The cast and crew ran around the city shooting Dogme-style on Melrose Avenue, Hollywood Boulevard and Venice Beach and city buses, often without proper permits. 'It's all hand-held. The cameraman just got right in there, he was so intimate.'
With her production designer background and intimate knowledge of her subject, Hardwicke gets uncomfortably close to the way these girls really are. During location scouting, Hardwicke says she saw at least four houses with teenage girls' bedrooms covered with photographs. 'It's so universal,' she says. She staged a 'shoot out', where two girls check each other out: converse high-tops painted with stars, jewellery, nails, bellies, jeans, belt, hair. 'It's, "What are you packing?"' says Hardwicke, laughing. 'Who's got heat?'
The most challenging scene was Wood and Hunter's climactic sobbing confrontation in the kitchen, as the mother desperately tries to break through to her despairing child. The two actors surprised the crew with their raw intensity. 'The last scenes were pretty hard for everybody,' says Hardwicke. Reed and her mother were on the set watching. 'I thought it was brave. I didn't know that it was going to go like that, when they fall to the floor. Evan and Holly didn't hold back. It wasn't planned, that's not what it was in rehearsal. That was a day I never expected to live through; you don't know how to support the actors, they needed a lot of love. That was one day where your heart just stretches, you know?'
One regret for Hardwicke is not being able to sell the R-rated movie to teenagers. 'We tried to make a movie that was real for kids that age,' she says. As far as she is concerned, the film is far tamer than her own teenage experience going to makeout parties in a 'druggy' south Texas hick border town. 'We were 10 times worse than this,' she says. 'There's no violence or sex, only French kissing and a boy unzipping his pants. One girl says, "That tasted nasty," but was she bragging? They stole money. We imply that one girl is selling drugs.'
Hardwicke fervently hopes that parents will take their kids to see Thirteen , and talk about it. (She seems to have no idea how tough the movie is for a parent to sit through.) 'I've had dads say, "I went home after seeing the movie and called my daughter,"' she says. 'One 60-year-old lady called her 87-year-old mom and apologised for how she acted when she was a teenager. What else can you hope for?'

bellybutton – pępek
to blow up – powiększyć (zdjęcie)
brag – przechwalać się
Compel – zmuszać
converse – odwrotność, odwrotny
dolly – wysięgnik na kółkach do prowadzenia kamery
druggy – narkotykowy
fervently - gorąco
Flick – prztyczek
Gasp – westchnięcie
Groan – jęk
hammer out – wyklepywać
hick – osoba ze wsi, „wieśniak”, „wieśniacki”
mesmerise - hipnotyzować
Rookie – żółtodziób
Spillover - nadmiar
tame – oswojony
tripod – statyw


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