Marjane Satrapi

DSC00013Listen to our interview with the wonderful and inspiring director Marjane Satrapi.

by Joanna Orland

Marjane Satrapi is a much-loved graphic novelist and filmmaker.  Make no mistake, Marjane is not an animator.

“I’m not Miyazaki you know.”

The filmmaker does not see animation as a genre of filmmaking, but merely as another way of making films.  The reasoning for her first feature film Persepolis being in the form of animation is that drawing is abstract and anyone can relate to drawings, regardless of culture or background. As an autobiographical story based on her own graphic novels of the same name, this was a hugely important factor for Marjane as a storyteller.

Marjane has an outlook on life as though she is invincible.  She is fearless and lives life to the fullest, doing exactly what she wants to do with her time.  Conquering male-dominated film and graphic novel industries, she forgets about her gender when at work.  For Marjane, she states that she’s a woman when she’s in bed with her lover, the rest of the time she’s a human being.

Following on from Persepolis and her first live action feature Chicken With Plums, her new film The Voices stars Ryan Reynolds as a dangerously schizophrenic man named Jerry.  While Persepolis is actually autobiographical, and Chicken With Plums and The Voices stray from her life story, she still puts aspects of herself into all of her films.  To figure out the serial killer character of Jerry, Marjane wondered what she would be like if she were a psychopath.  It was while she was in her kitchen placing her knives parallel to each other that she realized how obsessed with tidiness and order she is, and decided that if she were a murderous psychopath, she would keep body parts neatly in tupperware as Jerry does.  Coded by colour!

Marjane has nothing but praise for her star Ryan Reynolds, commenting on how he is underused in most other films.

“Ryan Reynolds is like a Ferrari but they use him like if he was a Peugeot.”

Ryan approached Marjane as he loved the script for The Voices and declared to the director “I’m Jerry! I’m Jerry!”.  When Ryan became Jerry and performed in front of the camera, Marjane was no longer the director of the film, she became the spectator in awe of Ryan’s talent.

“He’s much more than a beautiful chest.”


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