St. Vincent, aka Annie Clark, makes an unexpected movie debut in the mind-bending mockumentary The Nowhere Inn.
She and fellow musician Carrie Brownstein (Portlandia) both wrote and starred in the film, which is available in theaters and everywhere you rent movies from now. Expect the unexpected in this narrative twisting movie that starts out as a documentary about life on the road, but descends into brain-melting “meta-fiction.”
Clark and Brownstein both play themselves throughout, as does Dakota Johnson (50 Shades of Grey) who turns up for an eye-catching and attention-grabbing cameo as Clark’s lover.
St Vincent is currently touring across America and she told Newsweek that she hopes the movie isn’t a premonition of things to come.
“Oh, jeez, that part hadn’t occurred to me,” she said. “I’m putting together a show and a production that will scare and delight and move people. I’m good at making things and following a vision to final iteration but I’m bad about thinking about what the effect of those things will be on the world at large.”
Clark says the origins of the movie came from her “begging” her friend Brownstein to help her make a concert movie but Clark wanted a concert movie unlike all of the other ones released by mainstream artists. She said: “We wanted to address a lot of the things that Carrie and I have been talking about for years at this point — this idea of, the currency of and the performance of ‘authenticity’.
“How self is performed every day on social media. What is performance and what is real and does it matter?” Clark said.
The concept for the movie started out as a pseudo-documentary, but Brownstein explained to Newsweek the ball started rolling from there. She said: “We were more interested in the ways that truth can be deconstructed and manipulated. We wanted ultimately to just enjoy the kaleidoscope effect of distortion of a fact and identity and that really freed us up to absurdism and surrealism.
“We just started with something grounded, I think in terms of, you know, facts or storytelling or lived experiences, but quickly wanted to deviate into something that just felt magical, and fantastical,” Brownstein said.
Brownstein admits she’s playing a “slightly more naive” version of herself throughout The Nowhere Inn, while Clark was tasked with playing a “very heightened” version of herself and of St. Vincent.
Brownstein was taken aback by Clark’s performance especially since it was her first major big screen acting role. “I was just impressed by her ability to commit to that ride that vacillation and that exploration, which I suppose I always knew she was capable of just based on her artistic journey but it was really fun to watch her perform in the acting scenes and to really get into that deviousness.
“There was a wicked quality she was able to conjure.”
The third name sitting on the promotional posters for The Nowhere Inn, also playing a version of herself is Dakota Johnson. The trailers show Johnson and Clark rolling around in bed together wearing lingerie while Brownstein is forced to watch and film.
“Oh my god, she’s such a good sport,” Clark said, “It’s a meta-funny tie in where you see her in lingerie, a la Fifty Shades of Grey, but we’re all making fun of ourselves on that level. She’s a good friend of mine and of Carrie’s and I’m very grateful. She was the perfect person to do this.”
The scene in question lingers with Brownstein forced to watch and contribute to the making of a sex tape. Clark says she was very conscious of over stepping boundaries with Johnson, “I really was like, ‘Is this okay? I’m so sorry. Is that okay. Can I do this? Is that alright?’ You know, we had a funny dance.”
From Brownstein’s perspective, she admits she felt suitably awkward throughout the scene. She said: “When I first walked into the room Annie and Dakota were already on the bed in their very stylized lingerie so it wasn’t hard to get to a place of feeling like a third wheel standing on this bed fully dressed with two people that are in a state of undress.
“We just had fun with it. It didn’t feel weird, it just kind of felt funny and amusing.”
The Nowhere Inn is available to watch in theaters and on Video-on-Demand and digital platforms now.
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St. Vincent on Rolling Around in Lingerie with Dakota Johnson