On Location: Chloé Zhao's ‘Nomadland’ Is a Love Letter to America's Wide Open Spaces

While you have been filming this, you have been really residing out of a van. What was that like? Had you ever performed something like that earlier than?

I’ve performed fairly a little bit of it, as a result of I used to be touring a lot for thus lengthy. When I used to be making my first two movies [Songs My Brothers Taught Me and The Rider], I spent a lot of time all around the nation. And earlier than the prep interval for Nomadland, it was way more of what you’d name “van life.” I’ve a camper van known as Akira, and once we’d go on the market to see the parents in Jessica Bruder’s e-book and in addition to location scout, we have been residing out within the van. Then whereas we have been taking pictures, typically we slept within the van, however more often than not we have been in inns. Some have been in all probability not as snug because the van.

The factor is, one of the best ways to go about residing the “van life” is in case you’re by yourself schedule. That’s the entire level of it. Because issues do take longer and sudden issues occur and you’ll’t actually do this whenever you’re making a movie.

Can you speak about a number of the film’s filming places? Had you ever visited these locations earlier than?

The places on this movie are divided into three classes. One is [locations] from Jessica’s e-book. She had performed a lot of unbelievable analysis; [her book] actually follows one yr of the place the [the workers] would go. That’s very a lot from her e-book. And then there are ones from Frances, for instance, her love for the Pacific coast, her love for the redwoods—that positively labored into the movie. I’ve my very own love for South Dakota, for the Badlands, which grew to become a massive a part of it as properly. So it was actually a collaboration by way of location.

Empire, Nevada, within the Black Rock Desert, and Quartzsite, Arizona—these cities have been actually the anchor for this film. Going to these two locations made me understand I had a film. The character’s backstory is tied to Empire, and the place that she goes to, step one to this journey, is Quartzsite. So these two are very particular, too. 

What have been a few of your favourite locations to movie?

We’d filmed in so many flat and dusty locations, ones that have been often very dry. And then all of the sudden we obtained to the Pacific Coast and simply smelling the ocean air, feeling the humidity, and seeing the redwoods—it was very good. That was within the scene the place Fern was visiting Dave. 


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