bustle.com – 29-year-old Shiloh Fernandez is nothing like his White Bird in a Blizzard character. He is calm, inquisitive, and quiet. He speaks with poem-like metaphors and answers my questions with patience. And he wouldn’t be caught dead in a cut-off tank top. Phil, the teenage next door neighbor of Shailene Woodley’s White Bird character, is your typical ’80s kid. He has wild, untamed hair, a fantastical sense of style, killer dance moves, an earring, and is always horny. Although I suppose the latter isn’t reserved for teenagers of a certain time period.
I sat down with the White Bird star to talk about his role as Phil in the daring Gregg Araki flick. While the film contains major plot twists, there are no spoilers in this article.
“It’s this simple suburban tale of sexuality, loneliness and loss, but done in a very poetic and interesting way,” Fernandez said. The film follows 17-year-old Kat Connors (Woodley), who is navigating her first sexual experiences with boyfriend Phil (Fernandez), when her mother suddenly goes missing. Based on the 1999 novel by Laura Kasischke, director Gregg Araki put his own spin on the film’s final moments.
“There’s a huge twist in the film,” Fernandez said. “And that’s an unfortunate thing with the internet, how many people want to be the first to write about something… It’s unfortunate because the best way to see this movie is to go in blind. Not until I saw the movie at Sundance did I realize how shocking, and how important it was not to know anything about it going in.”
Gregg Araki, known for The Doom Generation and Mysterious Skin, had been on Fernandez’s bucket list of directors to work with for a while when he was called to meet for the role.
“Mysterious Skin inspired me. Joseph Gordon Levitt and his transition into a really fascinating, layered actor in that role. The duality of his sexuality and what he was doing was really interesting to me. And something I wanted to explore for myself as an actor,” he revealed. “You go to work with a director like Gregg and you expect to go to class. But the great thing about him is that every aspect of his films, he knows what he wants. It really demands that you have confidence in yourself.”
And as Fernandez pointed out, his female counter part — Shailene Woodley — has a tremendous amount of confidence. ”From the screen test, the way Shailene gives everyone a hug — she was incredibly friendly and welcoming, open and encouraging. With that, you end up holding hands going into those sex scenes; working together rather than trying to do your own thing, or win,” he explained. “She’s so good and natural, I have to work pretty hard to get to the same place. She extends a rope, and you’re just holding on.”
You may recognize Fernandez from his starring role in the 2013 Evil Dead remake, or perhaps playing a sultry bad boy opposite Amanda Seyfried in 2011’s Red Riding Hood. But with the release of 2015’s We Are Your Friends, Fernandez is sure to become a household name.
“I just finished this movie with a guy named Zac Efron, I don’t know if you’ve heard of him… I see big things in his future,” Fernandez joked. “And Max Joseph, he’s the silverfox on Catfish. Max was so interesting because he’s so tapped into technology and I’m really not. He was able to bridge that gap between filmmaking in a classic sense and the technology we’re dealing with now, this new generation crashing over us. So that was super exciting to watch someone who understands both sides of it, and be able to collaborate and mesh.”
Some highlights from the interview:
“Gregg is such a great filmmaker and he taught me a lot. He knew exactly what he wanted to make and he cast people that fit into it. Shailene [Woodley] obviously was a revelation and amazing to work with, you know, at that time in her life before all this craziness happened.”
“Shailene, my friend, and I accompanied Gregg to a screening of Rust and Bone with Marion Cotillard, Matthias Schoenaerts, and my favorite French director Jacques Audiard. After the movie, we realized, oh sh–, we like the same things, we’re going to be in sync, we know what moves us. My friend ended up being really moved by the movie and was crying for like fifteen minutes after. Shailene didn’t know us very well but she sat with us and we were just rubbing my friend’s back. It was a really sweet moment that showed me a lot about who she was.”
“I turned 29 so I want to do a lot of things this year. My friend and I looked up Vietnam and it seemed like a really amazing motorcycle trip to take. We also started working with this organization called Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, which helps girls who are sex trafficked to China, and local children who are taken from the mountains or the rural areas and forced into child labor. So we went and met with them in the North, in the capital of Vietnam. Then we took our motorcycles down to the South.
The highlight of the trip was our motorcycles breaking down every day. And every day when they broke down, we would be in some random place that had amazing pho, they could fix our bikes, or there was an amazing hotel for us to stay at. It was just a prism of amazing luck in Vietnam.”
“I saw a play a couple years ago called Through a Glass Darkly, with Ben Rosenfield, the kid in Affluenza. I saw him do a play with Carey Mulligan where he played a little brother and he was just incredible. He hadn’t done anything at the time I don’t think. It was his first off-Broadway play. Ben Rosenfield was amazing in this play a few years ago. You could just tell. I’m looking forward to the movie Starred Up, with Jack O’Connell. He looks great. Chloe Moretz is amazing. She’s always been mind blowing since (500) Days of Summer. She’s amazing, I didn’t see Kick-Ass but that one, you can just tell that girl’s got it.”
“I don’t really sing or play guitar very well but I enjoy writing country songs. I don’t ever want my voice to be out but I do enjoy playing guitar!”
Shiloh Fernandez shows off his steamy side in this swoon-worthy behind the scenes pic for the Just Jared Spotlight Series. The full Shiloh Fernandez photo shoot and interview will be up on Just Jared on Thursday!
I have uploaded 8 high quality photos of Shiloh attending the White Bird In A Blizzard Premiere in Los Angeles last night.
Hollywood Reporter – Kat has sex for the first time with neighbor and high school boyfriend, Phil (Shiloh Fernandez). “Virginity — the idea of what it is and what it used to represent — is so different, and I wish that there was some pure thing that is still represented, but I don’t think it’s it anymore,” reflected Fernandez, praising the film’s portrayal of the moment and sexual discovery altogether. “This isn’t necessarily the most clean or natural thing that we want it to be or we dream it to be. It doesn’t mean that it tarnishes you or makes you dirty, whatever that is. It’s about love and connection and growing as a human being.”
Fashion Times – Fernandez revealed that although things were cringe-worthy at times he made the best of the situation and had a good time.
He explained, “It was really just sort of fun for us to dive into this and just laugh at the whole silliness of not having anything sexual happen, and having to wear these pads on your private areas.”
Shiloh attended the New York Premiere of White Bird In A Blizzard yesterday alongside Shailene Woodley, Mark Indelicato, and director Gregg Araki. You can see the photo in the gallery!
We Are Your FriendsShiloh as Ollie
JohnnyShiloh as Johnny Tapia
BlancoShiloh as Ruben
Deep PowderShiloh as Danny
Return to SenderShiloh as William Finn
White Bird In A BlizzardShiloh as Phil
Queen of CarthageShiloh as Amos
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