I really like the creative choice of seeing the band in the background of the frame for a diegetic feel. What was the decision-making behind that choice?

We felt that it was the right decision to have them there. We wanted it to be complimentary, and they’re always there, so the music comes from the place where the actors are.

Paul and Melissa have such wonderful chemistry. What was the path to bringing them together?

She came on, I think, in 2018. She hung on, even when the movie was dropped, picked up, and dropped again. She was terrific, with an incredible voice. And we just did work on the picture a little bit, and then we worked further on set. She came on much earlier, and Paul really came on pretty much at the last minute. 

I love Rossy de Palma’s presence here. She shows up and just adds a kind of refinement to this story. Could you talk more about working with her? 

She came on in 2018, as well. And she never walked away from the film. When she arrived on set, she came in with such a sure hand of who she wanted Masilda to be. She brought props and so many ideas. And I took them all. I very rarely pushed back on anything that she suggested. She is just so amazing.

What props did she bring?

Well, the shawl she dances with at the end, there’s some necklaces and some jewelry, and then the eyeshadow on the eyelids, that was her idea. She just brought a lot of different jewelry that she thought [Masilda] would wear. It was very nice. 

It’s funny because the eyeshadow was what reminded me of “The Cotton Club.”

You’re right. And maybe she did, but I don’t think so. But that’s why I rewatched “The Cotton Club” afterward. It’s really funny; I forgot that. 

You, of course, filmed some of the scenes in Australia, but how much was filmed in established locations as opposed to sets? 

I mean, obviously, all the interiors were built on location. They creatively rendered all those red walls. It was really amazing work, really fantastic because that was the point: We were trying to create a world here. We were also in Australia in the desert. And we were supposed to shoot some exterior scenes in LA, but I didn’t feel like I needed to again.

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