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A Conversation with Gwynneth Haynes (continued)

PM: So when you first started writing music--

GH: Yes.

PM: --how did this come out first? You said at first you were more on the singer/songwriter-y side--well, you started writing quite young, in your mid-teens.

GH: Right. Yeah, I would say that the reviews of that were saying that it was reminiscent of P.J. Harvey and Cat Power, maybe with touches of Natalie Merchant.

PM: Ah.

GH: I know, it's kind of different.

PM: Yeah, right. Where this is a lot more Freddie Mercury than Natalie Merchant.

GH: [laughs] Right, exactly, a different expression.

PM: That's how multifaceted you are. And it's easy to see that you've just begun to sing, so there's no telling where Gwenny Haynes is headed.

GH: Yeah. I think we're all multifaceted, it's just what you tap into at any particular time as an artist. Artists, it's just whatever is authentic at that particular evolution and your time as a songwriter. I feel like they've all been in there for a long time, these songs, it's just recently it was the time for the Freddie Mercury part.

PM: Yeah. And of course, whatever we say about artists would equally apply to people--at any time you can become anybody.

GH: Exactly, anybody.

PM: You might wake up somebody else than you were yesterday on any given day if you just allow it to be so.

GH: Exactly. I mean, it's the pluralistic psyche, we're all multifaceted, very rich in who we are inside, the many different archetypes inside of us.

PM: So before I lead us to some degree out of your upbringing and into the band, I notice that you are indeed the sister of screenwriter/director Todd Haynes, who did Far From Heaven.

GH: Yeah.

PM: What an incredible movie that was. He must be a hell of a guy.

GH: He's an incredible guy! He's an incredible guy! Did you see Velvet Goldmine?

PM: See which one?

GH: You've got to see Velvet Goldmine, too. It's about--

PM: Oh, I've never seen that movie. He did that, too?

GH: Oh, it's just beautiful! Yeah!

PM: Because I've heard that's a fantastic movie. [In fact, later, my brother reminded me he's been trying to get me to watch it for years, it's one of his favorite movies...]

GH: Oh, it's so fun and indeed, I mean, Far From Heaven is absolutely gorgeous.

PM: Oh, I was in love with that movie.

GH: Cinematic perfection. He's a painter, you can just tell. He is an amazing--actually, he is literally an amazing painter. But you can see in each of his shots, like the art direction in Far From Heaven was beautiful paintings, frame by frame. I'm so glad you appreciated it, because I do, too. I'm very proud of him.

PM: Oh, that was a remarkable film. But it was so subtle that a lot of people didn't really realize how great it was. And I read somewhere that the cinematography was true to the period that it concerned.

GH: Yes. And Douglas Sirk, one of the filmmakers who did that melodrama style with those super saturated colors, was definitely one of his big influences in how he chose to shoot it.

PM: Are you and your brother Todd close, and is he a fan of Sophe Lux?

GH: Yeah, actually, he is. He's amazing. He came and visited me in Portland, and realized he was ready for a change. He moved to Portland five years ago.

PM: Oh, he lives in town.

GH: Yeah. And he ended up moving here, bought a house. And he's been working on his Bob Dylan film right now.

PM: What?

GH: Unbelievable. Yeah. You haven't heard about it? Oh, my God!

PM: He's working on a Bob Dylan film?

GH: Oh, my God. This is the first time anyone has been permitted to have the rights to Bob Dylan's--to do it.

PM: Oh, my God.

GH: Yeah, I know.

PM: But Bob is not going to appear, someone is going to play him, is that right?

GH: Yes. It's really not going to be a bio-flick. Now, this is the amazing concept about this film: because Bob Dylan is this ever elusive, mercurial character, he's always changing expressions, and you never know what's going to happen, right?

PM: More and more so.

GH: Yeah. And so Todd chose to have six different Dylans. He starts off with the first one, whose name is Woody, and he's this adorable little African American kid who's eleven years old--now, he's the fake, he's playing Bob Dylan impersonating Woody Guthrie as an eleven year-old African American kid. So they're tying in the Civil Rights. Right? So he's the first one. The second one is Christian Bale, who did the folk version. You're going to trip out on the third one. The third is Cate Blanchett playing the gone electric Blonde On Blonde/Don't Look Back Dylan. Richard Gere plays the last one, who's the older cowboy sort of version of Bob. Heath Ledger is playing the one in between the two. I can't remember what his name is. But it's amazing. We just saw it--my parents were over for Christmas, and we just saw some of the rough footage. They're editing right now.

PM: Holy jeez.

GH: It's a mind blower, yeah.

PM: That's incredible. Thanks for sharing that with us.

GH: I know! You've got to see that, it's really exciting.

PM: And I'm going to the Velvet Goldmine, too.

GH: You got to see Velvet Goldmine. It's a real treat.

PM: What a talented family you come from.

GH: Oh, God, it's amazing, and so fun. I look up to him. He's my big brother. He was somebody who probably helped me find my artistic self, too, in my life, because he came out of the womb drawing and painting, and a little artist. I mean, immediately knew what he was, who he was, really great.      continue

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