Film Scouts Interviews

"From the Journals of Jean Seberg" Press Conference
at the 1995 New York Film Festival

by Kathleen Carroll

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The New York Film Festival press conferences can be more intimidating for a director than actually shooting a film. For example Mark Rappaport, in facing the press, was at first told that his film, FROM THE JOURNALS OF JEAN SEBERG, was "excessively brilliant." When Richard Pena, the moderator of the press conference, started to repeat the compliment Rappaport impishly interrupted him, saying "It doesn't have to be translated." Minutes later, however, the filmmaker found himself under attack. One member of the press corps accused him of taking "a morally superior attitude" towards his subject - namely Seberg. Another stood up and said "I think the film mocks Jean Seberg more than J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI did." "That's your opinion," Rappaport calmly responded.

"I loved the film," declared a woman in the audience. "This is one of the best films I've ever seen that is truly from a woman's point of view." "Well I don't think it's from a woman's point of view but I'll take that as a compliment," said Rappaport looking understandably baffled.

He did get to explain why he cast Mary Beth Hurt as Seberg. It was the result of a sugar high. Having fallen asleep after devouring a box of sugar cookies he woke up and suddenly said "Mary Beth Hurt." What cemented this casting decision was when Rappaport looked up Hurt's biography in a film reference book and discovered that Hurt was born in Seberg's home town of Marshalltown, Iowa.

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