PRESS CONFERENCE – James Gray: “Immigration enriches society and culture”

James Gray © FDC / GT

James Gray gave the press conference about The Immigrant, accompanied by the actors Jeremy Renner and Marion Cotillard, the cinematographer Darius Khondji, the production designer Happy Massee and producers Anthony Katagas and Greg Shapiro. The actor, Joaquin Phenix, currently on location, was not able to be in Cannes.

James Gray on shooting on Ellis Island:
It was difficult as it’s an island and also a tourist attraction with a museum open all year round. So we filmed at night with enormous cranes to light up the set. If I’d had known beforehand, I don’t think I would have done it.

James Gray on immigration:
Ellis Island was the place where all immigrants arrived between 1920 and 1924. 40% of the American population have a member of their family who arrived on Ellis Island. I am in real favour of immigration. It enriches society, vitalises culture and makes it versatile and dynamic.
Marion Cotillard, on her voice in Polish:
Language is part of a whole. I like creating characters who have their own approach, their own body language, their own voice. Learning a language helps to build something different. I play a Polish woman in the film, so I had to speak Polish fluently, with a Polish accent. I understood that, in order to speak correctly, I had to sink into the Polish culture. I had the same experience with English and Italian. Culture enriches language and vice versa.

James Gray on Joaquin Phenix:
We spend our lives revolving around actors. We realise that with some of them, we have the same feelings about life, art, human behaviour. Our first film together showed me that Joaquin Phenix has a very wide range of emotions to offer.


Interview directed by B. de M.