BEHIND THE SCENES

Behind the Scenes at Woodshock, by the Mulleavy Sisters, as Captured by Nan Goldin


Woodshock
Photographs by Nan Goldin/Rodarte

Last week, Laura and Kate Mulleavy, the designers behind Rodarte, premiered their debut film Woodshock to the raves at the Venice Film Festival. Starring Kirsten Dunst as Theresa—a woman who helps her ailing mother die using poisoned medical marijuana from the dispensary where she works—the film invites viewers to get lost with her in the maze of California’s redwood forests, which act as a metaphor for the depths of Theresa’s grieving subconscious. It is both trippy, and sublime, like the best of the sisters’ designs, as captured in these behind the scene images by the great American photographer Nan Goldin. While the sisters intend to keep designing fashion, they were deeply touched by their experience in filmmaking. This was the most inspired I’ve felt as a creative person,” said Laura. “And I think it’s made me a lot more confident as a designer.”

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Photographs by Nan Goldin/Rodarte

“Kirsten [Dunst] often would stay at our house during the shooting of the film. On this day, we had a barbecue with Nan, and the images she took really capture the unhinged nature of Theresa. We made five versions of this fringed slip: the mother’s perfect slip; the slip that gets ruined when Theresa builds her fence; and the three different ones she wears while lost in the redwoods.”

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Photographs by Nan Goldin/Rodarte

“On one of Nan’s first days, we shot our end sequence with Pilou [Asbæk] and Kirsten. We knew this moment would be important for Nan to capture—her work has the emotional intensity of that scene. It was a sensitive day, and our closed set was even more private than usual. Pilou and Kirsten had a magnetic chemistry. The clothing we and our co–costume designer, Christie Wittenborn, chose for Pilou’s character, Keith, symbolically linked him to Theresa’s emotional state.”

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Photographs by Nan Goldin/Rodarte

“Our shoots in Humboldt County were mostly at night, and this was a key scene for us artistically. Johnny, as portrayed by Jack [Kilmer], exudes an innocence combined with a feeling of aimlessness. We referred to him as Theresa’s lamb. He makes her smile so naturally in the porch scene when they talk—it allows the audience to hope that she will open up further, rather than retreat into herself.”

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Photographs by Nan Goldin/Rodarte

“Pilou, at the marijuana dispensary. Our production designer, K.K. Barrett, helped us to realize our idea of the dispensary, where Theresa works, as an alien ship among the otherwise beautiful, natural backdrop.”

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Photographs by Nan Goldin/Rodarte
Woodshock

“Here, Nan caught Kirsten in a state so relevant to Theresa—quiet, introspective, lost.”