Published Jul 30, 2010With the strange and surreal aesthetic that informed much of Canadian director Floria Sigismondi's name-making early music video work (think Marilyn Manson's "Beautiful People," or David Bowie's "Little Wonder"), it might seem a stretch for her feature directorial debut to be a biopic. The Runaways, released last week on DVD, is the story of the quick formation and dissolution of the '70s all-girl rock band, and in a recent interview with Exclaim!, Sigismondi spoke about her decision to stray from her usual approach and keep it rooted in visual realism.
"My work doesn't necessarily stay in reality, I like to go and make it my own little world," Sigismondi says. "I took license a couple of times in the film to kind of maybe be a little more symbolic, or portray a feeling of loneliness, or like your world is falling apart, but for me, it was important to stay in that real world and tell the story without too many bells and whistles."
Based on former Runaways' singer Cherie Currie's memoir Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway, the film is as much a coming-of-age story as it was an historical account.
"For me it was really important to hopefully capture what it was like to be that age, going through that, and being thrown into that rock'n'roll world, and what that meant for them. And I think for each of them it was very different," says Sigismondi.
The director echoes lead actors Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart's DVD commentary, in which they explain that the time Currie - and the especially the bands' founding member/guitarist Joan Jett - spent on set was important. "Having Joan on set really helped because Kristen was able to really sponge off of her, and she really did get her mannerisms down, so that was great."
As for her influential music videos, Sigismondi had time after the completion and release of The Runaways to direct the most recent Dead Weather video, "Die By the Drop," a clip loaded with the dark imagery and staccato camera work she's known for.
"I did a Dead Weather video not that long ago. [It was shot] in Nashville, at Jack [White]'s record company," she says. "He's got a record company there, and a little studio, so we just shot there."
Sigismondi also says that more feature-length films are definitely something we'll see from her, but this time, we can expect something a bit different.
"I've done my music movie, and I'd love to do something else."