In 2018, director RJ Cutler (The September Concern, Belushi) was invited to Billie Eilish’s Los Angeles house along with her mother and father and brother/producer Finneas O’Connell to debate the chance of directing a documentary of her life. On the time, the excitement round Eilish was constructing to a fever pitch along with her breakout single “Ocean Eyes,” her nicely acquired 2017 EP Don’t Smile at Me, and her debut album When We All Fall Asleep, The place Do We Go? on the horizon.
“She was simply again from a journey to Asia, and there was a becoming happening. The home was overflowing with racks of garments and bins of sneakers that individuals had despatched to her,” Cutler recollects. “The home was like a metaphor for Billie’s life—it was bursting on the seams.”
Cutler says he was intrigued by Eilish previous to that assembly however turned exponentially so afterward.
“She’s a magnetic drive,” he says. “All of us sat round within the yard chatting about what this expertise could be like and my method to filmmaking, which is type of not a lot in any respect.”
Impressed by definitive music documentaries resembling Dont Look Again and Gimme Shelter, Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry is a cinéma vérité exploration of Eilish’s transformation as an on a regular basis teen (getting her driver’s license, working by means of a breakup, navigating psychological well being, and so forth) juxtaposed along with her fast ascension to changing into one of the most important stars on the planet.
“I’m not all that occupied with documentary as supply of data—that’s what Wikipedia is for. I’m occupied with documentary as cinema,” Cutler says. “Vérité is uniquely outfitted to make narrative cinematic artwork out of life. And Billie and her household had been at a second of their lives that was uniquely certified to offer the uncooked supplies for cinematic artwork about life.”
For instance, there’s a notably touching scene when Eilish drives off on her personal for the primary time after getting her license and her dad, Patrick O’Connell, is left within the driveway ruminating about parenthood. Though it’s clear O’Connell is conversing with somebody, i.e. Cutler, it nonetheless feels purely observational.
“If I had rented a studio and put up a roll of paper behind a chair and gotten some lights and organized for make-up artists to present Patrick some basis and a little powder and put a mic on him, that may be what doing an interview is. I don’t try this,” Cutler says. “What I used to be doing was having very pure dialog within the second with the topic, with whom I had this very distinctive relationship with. And that’s why these moments are so actual. I’m seeking to have a relationship with everyone whereby every of them is as comfy being with me and my crew. So if I had been there with out a crew, given my relationship with Patrick, that dialog would have occurred anyway.”
To that finish, Cutler actually gave deference to letting conversations breathe, with The World’s A Little Blurry clocking in at a prolonged runtime of 2 hours and 20 minutes. “Consider me, it might’ve been three and half hours lengthy—and there are variations,” he says. Cutler even included an intermission after Eilish’s whirlwind Coachella efficiency in 2019.
“I edited it with out the intermission and screened it and checked out it and skilled it. After which with the intermission. It wished that chance to take a breath,” Cutler says. “This is a movie about emergence. It’s a movie about arrival. It’s a movie about transformation. Effectively, Coachella represents all of that for Billie and for the movie and for the narrative. So the intermission turns into a very highly effective [tool].”
It additionally helps given the truth that the movie is very a lot a musical as nicely, with tune performances taking part in out of their close to entirety and at intentional factors within the movie, e.g. Eilish speaking along with her good friend backstage at a present about why she broke up along with her boyfriend—reduce to her performing “Want You Have been Homosexual” and “I Love You” on stage.
“I don’t need to be treasured about it, however I imply it: The movie informed me that that intermission needed to be there. And the movie informed me that it needed to be at that 2:20 mark,” Cutler says. “It felt like a feast. And that is according to our intention, and with our expertise of Billie’s life—that’s a full feast.”
Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry premieres in theaters and globally on Apple TV Plus on February 26.