P.T. Anderson On His “Phantom Thread”

Aside from the trailer and synopsis the other week, still not a lot is known about Paul Thomas Anderson’s highly anticipated new feature “Phantom Thread”. This week, Anderson is finally talking about his work set in the couture world of 1950s London.

Daniel Day-Lewis plays a renowned dressmaker whose life is upended by the arrival of a young, strong-willed woman named Alma (Vicky Krieps), who soon becomes his lover. Anderson tells EW the film is effectively his attempt to emulate Daphne du Maurier’s novel and Alfred Hitchcock’s film adaptation “Rebecca”.

“It’s not your standard love story. It’s more peculiar for sure. A lot of directors have tried and failed to make Rebecca. I’m probably next in line, but it’s a different story. I’m a large aficionado of those large Gothic romance movies as the old masters might do them. What I like about those kinds of love stories is that they’re very suspenseful. A good dollop of suspense with a love story is a nice combination.”

Anderson adds that unlike some of his other films, the story he came up with was fairly recent and saw him collaborating with Day-Lewis on the screenplay:

“It came about at my suggestion because I thought we did it well together, and we loved what we did before. I suppose there’s always the risk of trying to do it again, but it seemed crazy not to take the opportunity. I was actively pursuing that, saying, ‘We have to do this. We have to get back together and make a film.’

I couldn’t quite tell you which came first. If you’re hoping for something, you can start to will it into existence. He was receptive to it, so that was a good start. Then the process of writing it was really the two of us together, quite honestly. I’d give him things as I was writing.

Rather than go away and write a script and try to impress him, I was collaborating with him each step of the way as I was going, which was very helpful in terms of forming the story and the character. But also, it was incredibly practical for time [purposes] because it gave him time to prepare whatever he was going to have to learn how to do to play a dressmaker. It would not have been practical to write a script alone in my room and then hand it to him and say, ‘Oh, now we have to get started.’ That seems crazy.'”

“Phantom Thread” opens in theaters on December 25th.