ALMODÓVAR GETS GOUDE
From V83, Summer 2013
PHOTOGRAPHY JEAN-PAUL GOUDE
TEXT PATRIK SANDBERG
WITH THEIR COLORFUL AND COMIC CAMPAIGN FOR THE UPCOMING FILM I’M SO EXCITED! (LOS AMANTES PASAJEROS), FIRST-TIME COLLABORATORS AND LONGTIME MUTUAL ADMIRERS PEDRO ALMODÓVAR AND JEAN-PAUL GOUDE TAKE THEIR PLACE AMONG THE CLOUDS. PREPARE FOR TAKEOFF
“Somebody called and said that Almodóvar wanted to see me, and asked if I wanted to do a job for him,” recalls Jean-Paul Goude of the seeds of his recent collaboration with the famed Spanish director. “Of course I was extremely flattered and I immediately told my assistant to get us tickets to Madrid.” A longtime fan, Goude loves Almodóvar for directing his favorite film, 2002’s Talk To Her, and describes the opportunity as something otherwordly. “I’m under his spell,” he says. “He’s so charming, gentle, and intelligent—he’s got everything! He is a true master, and he is no joke.”
The admiration, it seems, is mutual. “I became a fan of Jean-Paul Goude’s work in the ’70s,” Almodóvar says. “Maybe that’s why I thought he was unapproachable. But I had been wanting to contact him forever, so I asked the other Jean Paul, Jean Paul Gaultier, and he encouraged me. Goude is a super eclectic illustrator-designer-artist, but I don’t think he has worked much with film posters before. I wanted us to work together in any possible way he could think of. Once I called him and I found out he was a fan of mine too, I sent him the script of I’m So Excited! and we agreed to organize a photo shoot to be used during the promotion of the film.” The results (shown here) seem to perfectly combine the campy hilarity of the film with Goude’s mastery of iconic, unforgettable imagery.
Taking place almost entirely in the cabin of a damaged commercial airplane, I’m So Excited! tells the story of its passengers, flight attendants, and pilots. Convinced they will die, the crew uses their energy and ingenuity to give the doomed passengers one last hurrah. It’s a madcap comedy, for sure, but also one that bears Almodóvar’s signature grasp on the prismatic depths and idiosyncracies of human behavior. “There is always this duality in Almodóvar between drama and comedy,” says Goude.
The originality of the characters and the subject matter made collaborating on the promotional imagery feel quite natural for the artist, who’s long taken pleasure in crafting indelible images featuring unique personalities. He was particularly enamored with the flamboyant attendants comprising the in-flight crew. “I don’t know of anybody who hasn’t taken a plane and found gay stewards serving them,” he says. “I know I have! The three stewards are sort of like the gay version of the Three Stooges—much funnier and completely outrageous! But Pedro explained to me that the film is really about people that are going to die, so these people are outrageous, but they’re also afraid. Almodóvar is very grave, and he is very hands-on with everything.
“He is a contemporary auteur,” he continues. “Aside from Woody Allen and a couple of other guys in Europe, there aren’t that many auteurs anymore. There are great movies being made in Hollywood, but by groups of people—committees—not by one man who has the basic idea, the scenarios, the dialogue, and does everything, including the cutting, the editing, and even the advertising. Pedro’s crew was helping us out, and they were so sweet. It’s unbelievable, the kindness. And all these Spanish actors—some of them are big stars, and there were no star attitudes at all. We just had fun, like going to a party and taking pictures here and there.”
“We got along straight away,” Almodóvar concurs. “Ten minutes after having met him, I felt as if we had been friends forever. Now I wonder why I didn’t contact him before. Shyness, I suppose.” In the end, the kismet was such that the director even got the movie poster he’d been dreaming of. “Our chemistry during the shoot was amazing, and Jean-Paul told me that he had an idea for the poster of the film,” Almodóvar recalls. “I had secretly been hoping this would be the case, so I didn’t hesitate to green-light it. I’m very enthusiastic about the result!”
“It’s one of my greatest souvenirs,” Goude says of the poster, which features the heads of the cast coming out of the windows of the plane. “It will remind me of when I had a great time with a genius.”