Interview: Hal Hartley And Aubrey Plaza Talk Ned Rifle

Ned RifleHartley concludes the trilogy with Ned Rifle, wherein Henry’s influence is felt by his vengeful son, Ned, as well as a young woman named Susan, whose infatuation with Henry’s teachings isn’t made immediately clear…

Can you discuss the presence of religion in Ned’s new life?

HH: Well, I wanted to be respectful. I’ve written a lot about religion, actually, and filmed The Book of Life, which actually has Jesus Christ. And I’ve written a play, which is probably what started all this back in the mid-90s … I wrote a play called, “Soon,” which had to do with the events in Waco with the Branch Davidians.

That was really the beginning of my study of “What is Christianity? Who are these people?” I was brought up Catholic socially, I didn’t really connect two and two much. But then, it became like my major reading. What is all this? Why are these people waiting for the end of the world, and all that? It developed over the years.

I’ve become quite acquainted with people like Ned, who are around that age and are searching for spiritual ground and I was always surprised, it was like, wow, I thought you would … It just seems old-fashioned to me. That’s what fashion’s like; it changes. You know, a 20-year-old in 2014 might find this fresh and new, so that’s how we dealt with it.

Yeah, but I knew I didn’t want to make fun of it, but I did want to treat them as actual people with foibles, so it was important for me that the minister has a mistake in his past. He made some sexual mistake in his past.


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