She’s the creator and star of her own HBO series. She’s had one of her earliest films released by the Criterion Collection. She’s published a controversial memoir. She’s even hosted Saturday Night Live.
Lena Dunham is only 28 years old, but she’s already conquered more artistic and professional milestones than artists who are twice her age. And in 2015, she plans to top her past work with her boldest project to date: a shot-for-shot remake of Andy Warhol’s “Sleep.”
“It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for years, but I was just too chicken to go through with it,” Dunham said last Thursday during an unannounced book signing at Torn Curtain Books in San Diego.
“I saw ‘Sleep’ at MOMA and was blown away by the honesty of it, the intimacy,” Dunham said. When asked if she had watched the entire 5 hour and 20 minute film that Warhol had shot of his friend John Giornio sleeping, Dunham confessed, “I fell asleep 25 minutes into it…but I was watching it in my dreams.”
Dunham announced her plan to shoot a digital remake of Warhol’s 1963 film, casting herself in the role of the sleeper. “I want to keep it as true to Andy’s original vision as possible,” Dunham told Clifford Notes, film critic for the Apache Junction Tribune, after a screening of her film “Tiny Furniture.”
“Same run time, static framing, all done in one day of shooting…but give it a more modern twist, you know? Something that really speaks to what sleeping is like in the 21st century.”
Dunham dropped another bombshell days later when she announced that the film, with the working title “Lena Dunham’s Sleep,” would be shot by Academy Award-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezeki.
Renowned for his innovative and dynamic camera work in visually spectacular films like “The Tree of Life,” “Children of Men” and “Gravity,” Lubezeki would seem like an unconventional choice for such a visually static film.
Lubezeki admits as much.
“When Lena first approached me, I balked,” the Oscar winner said, “but I came around to it. After working on a shoot as complex as ‘Birdman’ with Alejandro (Inarritu), I realized that the best way I could challenge myself to elevate my craft…would be to work under the most miminalist constraints.”
Lubezeki said he cannot wait to begin work on the movie.
“A film where I can’t move my camera at all for 5 hours and 20 minutes? It would take a master to make that look good,” Lubezeki said. “I relish the chance to see if I am that master.”
Production for “Lena Dunham’s Sleep” is slated to occur on the day before shooting begins for the fifth season of “Girls.”
Dunham told Notes that the reason for the back-to-back productions was “So that I can record my last day of peace and relaxation before I have to go be ‘miss mayor of the madhouse,’ you know?” she said.
“I just want to see what I look like when I’m not busy,” Dunham added. “I keep forgetting what that’s like.”