Spirit Awards Tue 3.4.2014

7 Cool Things We Learned Backstage at the Film Independent Spirit Awards

Awards in hand, the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Award winners stepped backstage this past Saturday to make their way into the press tent. Off stage, out of the spotlight, they were able to let their hair down a bit and share how they really feel. Here are seven cool things we learned backstage at the Spirit Awards.  

1. Matthew had a secret weapon!

When the Best Male Lead winner was prepping to play the complicated, fascinating rodeo cowboy-turned HIV activist Ron Woodruff in Dallas Buyers Club, he was privy to a diary Ron kept for two years prior to contracting the deadly disease. “That was my secret weapon,” Matthew McConaughey told the press backstage. The diary revealed “who Ron was before he got HIV. He was a little bit wandering and a little bit lost. I got his humanity and his humor from that.”

2. Cate is a class act—and funny too.

When Cate Blanchett came off the stage and into the press tent, she politely asked the press if it would be okay if we all waited to watch the Best Male Lead announcement before beginning her Q&A. The Best Female Lead winner for Blue Jasmine then waited patiently through McConaughey’s entire speech before taking the stage. Then when the driving rain and howling wind started battering the tent in the middle of her interview, she joked “Nice to know you all. If we all die here, it’s been great.”

3. Reese isn’t wary of indies.

Sure, she’s earned A-list movie star status, but Reese Witherspoon’s heart is still in the indie-world. And she proves it with her work in the ensemble cast of Robert Altman Award-winning Mud. “Some of the most exciting films in the marketplace are independent films,” she said. “As an actor, it’s an opportunity to do interesting work.”

4. Ryan Coogler did his post-production under duress.

Best First Feature winning director Ryan Coogler gave a shout out to his editors, who cut Fruitvale Station working out of “a small house in a dangerous neighborhood. We cut the movie in a room between the bathroom and kitchen.”

5. Lupita struggled with her confidence.

“I just want to say what a joy it was to embody such a woman,” said Best Supporting Female winner Lupita Nyong’o of her portrayal of Patsey in 12 Years A Slave.  “This being my first film, the first and hardest thing was getting over my self-doubt.”

6. Brad knows he’s distracting.

Heartthrob Brad Pitt confessed qualms about getting involved as a producer on the Spirit Award-winning Best Feature 12 Years A Slave. “I didn’t want to be a distraction,” he said.

7. The lower the budget, the more creative the filmmakers.

When asked about creatively extreme cost-cutting measures, writer/director Chad Hartigan, whose film This Is Martin Bonner took the Cassavetes Award, said his entire crew of nine people lived in a two-bedroom apartment that they also used as a location for one of the character’s apartments, “so when we wanted to shoot, we had to pile stuff in one room in the back.” An elated Hartigan told the press, “We spent $42,000 to make this movie, so we represent a class of filmmakers who have no idea anybody is going to see their film.”

Tony Ferranti / Intern Blogger and Pamela Miller / Website and Grants Manager