The creative team behind film magazine Little White Lies has partnered with Faber to launch its first book: an illustrated compilation of answers to the question, 'What do you love about movies?'
Little White Lies has been asking interviewees this question since the magazine's first issue in 2005. The book features a collection of the most interesting and candid responses from an impressive line-up of actors and film-makers, including directors Francis Ford Coppola, Steve McQueen, the Coen Brothers, Joanna Hogg and Spike Jonez as well as actors Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Helen Mirren and the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman.
US cover, featuring an illustration of Jude Law by Mario Zucca (also featured in the UK edition)
Answers are published alongside a bio listing each interviewee's key achievements and a newly commissioned illustration of that person, or artwork inspired by their films. Responses range from candid personal anecdotes - such as Gosling's admission that Rambo movie First Blood once inspired him to take a bunch of steak knives to school to throw at class mates - to thought-provoking reflections on cinema's power to place us in an alternate world, or see life from someone else's perspective. Most of those featured cite cinema's escapism as its greatest charm.
While it's a simple question, editor David Jenkins explains in an introduction to the book that interviewees often struggle to pinpoint what they love about movies, despite spending most of their working lives discussing film (or, perhaps, because of it). Joel Coen, for example, hesitates before answering: "I dunno. It's the business we've chosen. You make certain decisions in your life and you either learn to love it or, y'know ... So we've learned to love it." Olivier Assayer responds: "It's, you know, of course, very difficult to answer ... it's what my life is about."
Wes Anderson, by Andrew Fairclough
The book was designed by Oliver Stafford and creative director Timba Smits, and there's some lovely artwork throughout, with the cover design and pages introducing each interviewee inspired by vintage cinema tickets and Art Deco imagery.
"I think we liked the idea of framing modern movie personalities within the iconography of classic Hollywood, but not taking it to a level where it felt like parody, or it was too much of a preordained 'concept'," explains Jenkins. "It was basically a chance for us to contact all the artists we love and want to work with and have them all come together for a kind of book-shaped party,” he says.
Tom Hardy by James Wilson
Jenkins says Little White Lies has been planning to release a book for a while, but production began after a meeting with Faber in summer last year. "Having never produced a book before, I maybe thought it would be a little like producing a bumper issue of the magazine. But it really wasn't. It's the difference between, say, speaking Spanish and Portuguese - there's a superficial amount of cross-over which helps to get you by, but at the end of the day, it's a whole new language," he says. "This book feels like it's been in the making for ten years, and we hope people see it as a little self-built shrine to all the creative collaborators we've been involved with over the years."
Much like Little White Lies itself, the book is a loving homage to the art of film-making, and contains some lovely illustrations, as well as a charming insight into what motivates some of the most talented actors and film-makers working today.
Tsai Ming-liang by Jensine Eckwall
While there are no immediate plans to release a follow-up Little White Lies book, Jenkins says he has discussed several ideas with Smits, and would like to do another. “Probably 50 per cent of conversations I have with Timba are hare-brained ideas for follow-up books ... if we do decide to do a follow-up, it would have to be something entirely new which explored the film landscape in a way which hadn't been done before. Creatively, we're really pleased with how this one turned out. Everyone working on it gave their all, and then just that little bit more. It would be great to experience that collective energy and passion again."
What I Love About Movies is published by Faber and available from Thursday, 2 October, priced at £25. To order a copy, click here.
Spike Jonez, by Christopher De Lorenzo
William Friedkin by Hedof
Joseph Gordon-Levitt by Gabz
Mia Wasikowska by Eleanor Taylor
Mila Kunis, by Bec Winnel