TIME interviewed Anthony Mandler, director of ‘Tropico‘, and talked about the shooting process and working with Lana Del Rey. Read below:
TIME: There’s a lot going on in Tropico. How did Lana first explain the concept to you?
Generally, when we work together, I get these long, written-out character breakdowns and story breakdowns. Some of it is very well-thought out, some of it is kind of stream-of-conscious. So my role has been to come in and shake the tree and realign things and make it do-able. Lana has these really wide, vast landscapes that she lays out, but she definitely has a very strong vision about the world she wants to fill out. It is a very collaborative process, especially on the front end.
TIME: Ultimately it’s a love story though, right?
Yes, I think it’s a love story between two people and a love story about loving yourself. It is that classic idea about breaking trust or breaking something sacred and how you find it again. Okay, so they are abolished from the Garden of Eden: now what? How do we push that forward through the modern lens?
[We’re looking] at this CitrusNorth.com that people live in: working in a convenience store, stripping for money, not doing much of anything. There’s that moment — and I love it that [Shaun’s character] Adam does it — where he goes, “It’s not always going to be this way.” The third act is about moving back to paradise and finding another Eden that’s not on Earth.
TIME: There’s very much a dream-like quality to Tropico, though there’s quite a bit of grittiness as well, with the strippers and the robbery. What was the most difficult part to shoot?
None, actually! One thing I think we did really well was cast real people. Everybody in that was what you see. Standing in a room with Jesus, Marilyn, Elvis and John Wayne was pretty cool. Those are like the best impersonators; people who live their lives impersonating those people. And all those guys playing the businessmen — I love that scene! — they were so great and so raw. I didn’t really tell them what we were doing. They didn’t know there was going to be a robbery.
I did not tell them anything. So stuff was breaking and people were getting thrown around. You can see the look on their faces after [the robbery] and they’re shocked. It was great. It was really real. I loved giving Shaun that moment. He’s such a kind, gentle guy, that, afterward, he came running back to apologize to anyone who he had stuck his gun in their face. He’s such a nonviolent guy, I had to keep telling him to stay in character.
TIME: What’s the significance of the title?
The word kind of lends itself to a paradise and a paradise lost. Lana had always had it in her head as the title.
TIME: What about the decision to use parts of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” and John Wayne’s narration of “America, Why I Love Her”?
That sort of sequence was very intact from the original idea. The piece really is creatively birthed from Lana. She’s had this concept for a while and I think it was always part of the plan to get to this moment. She talks about this [film] being the bookend to this character, I think [she means] it’s the bookend to the character she’s been playing since she stepped into the spotlight. I don’t know about the new project, but I assume it’ll be the next chapter.
Lana Del Rey is nominated for the 56th Grammy Awards! She was named in five categories, including for ‘Best Pop Vocal Album‘ with Paradise, ‘Best Song Written For Visual Media‘ with Young & Beautiful, ‘Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media‘ with The Great Gatsby (Deluxe Edition), ‘Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media’ with also The Great Gatsby (Deluxe Edition) and ‘Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical‘ with Summertime Sadness (Cedric Gervais Remix). You can check the complete list below:
BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM
Paradise / Lana Del Rey
Pure Heroine / Lorde
Unorthodox Jukebox / Bruno Mars
Blurred Lines / Robin Thicke
The 20/20 Experience – The Complete Experience / Justin Timberlake
BEST SONG WRITTEN FOR VISUAL MEDIA
Atlas / Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion & Chris Martin
Silver Lining / Diane Warren
Skyfall / Adele Adkins & Paul Epworth
We Both Know / Colbie Caillat & Gavin DeGraw
Young And Beautiful / Lana Del Rey & Rick Nowels
You’ve Got Time / Regina Spektor
BEST COMPILATION SOUNDTRACK FOR VISUAL MEDIA
Django Unchained / Various Artists
The Great Gatsby (Deluxe Edition) / Various Artists
Les Misérables (Deluxe Edition) / Various Artists
Muscle Shoals / Various Artists
Sound City: Real To Reel / Dave Grohl & Various Artists
BEST SCORE SOUNDTRACK FOR VISUAL MEDIA
The Great Gatsby
Life Of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty
BEST REMIXED RECORDING, NON-CLASSICAL
Days Turn Into Nights (Andy Caldwell Remix) / Andy Caldwell – Delerium Featuring Michael Logen
If I Lose Myself (Alesso Vs. OneRepublic) / Alesso – OneRepublic
Locked Out Of Heaven (Sultan + Ned Shepard Remix) / Ned Shepard & Sultan – Bruno Mars
One Love/People Get Ready (Photek Remix) / Rupert Parkes – Bob Marley And The Wailers
Summertime Sadness (Cedric Gervais Remix) / Cedric Gervais – Lana Del Rey
Thursday December 5th sees the release of ‘Tropico’ a 30 minute film from Lana Del Rey.
Watch the trailer for ‘Tropico’ here: http://vevo.ly/uP4nnF or below
Written by Lana and directed by Anthony Mandler, ‘Tropico’ is a tale of redemption told to the music of ‘Body Electric’ ‘Gods and Monsters’ and ‘Bel Air’ – all tracks taken from Lana’s “Born To Die” – The Paradise Edition album.
‘Tropico’ stars Lana Del Rey and Shaun Ross.
‘The Tropico EP’ is released on digital on Dec 5th and features:
Lana has become one of the most exciting and captivating artists in the world. Her debut album “Born To Die” has gone triple platinum in the UK and she has sold over 5 million albums and 7 million singles globally, including her release “Young And Beautiful” taken from the soundtrack of the hit movie “The Great Gatsby” and her recent massive worldwide hit “Summertime Sadness”. Lana has also toured extensively throughout the year to much critical acclaim taking in Europe, The States and South America.
“The Tropico EP” is released on digital on Thursday December 5th on Polydor.
When asked about ‘Tropico’ by a chilean fan yesterday (November 12), Lana Del Rey revealed that the music video will be release on December 1st! Check out the video below and skip to minute 1:25.
Lana Del Rey is nominated for the MTV Video Music Awards this year in the categories of «Best Cinematography» with the music video of «Ride» and «Best Art Direction» with «National Anthem».
The fans can’t vote for these two categories because they are chosen by the judge panel. The winners will be announced on August 25, 2013, in Brooklyn, New York.