Drawn To Movies

Film geek, illustrator, and bestselling author Brian Selznick pencils us in between a book tour and Hollywood première


Published:

Brian Selznick hails from Hollywood royalty. 

“I’m distantly related to David O. Selznick who produced Gone with the Wind and King Kong. I grew up seeing my name at the beginning of all his movies and I’ve always loved old movies, so I think that might come from the fact that I had what I felt was this very personal connection to David O. Selznick… even though he’s from the Los Angeles, movie-making side of the family and I’m from the New Jersey dry cleaning side.”

But Brian Selznick never became a filmmaker. Instead, he turned to writing and illustrating children’s books and investing them with a very cinematic style. His first book was The Houdini Box in 1991. His most recent work is Wonderstruck, in which one story, set in 1977, is told entirely with words while the other, set 50 years earlier, is told only in pictures. 

“I’m always interested in the work that the reader has to do while reading a book,” Selznick says. “I like to think that the reader is actively engaged in the illustrations and in the reading.”

Meet Brian Selznick
Warwick’s Presents: Wonderstruck with Brian Selznick
Where: San Diego Natural History Museum
When: October 28, 6:30 p.m.
RSVP: Tickets are $40 through Warwick’s 

That’s why when he wrote The Invention of Hugo Cabret he included almost no description and very little action instead conveying that information through drawings. Selznick explains, “My goal was at the end of the book you wouldn’t remember what you had read and what you had seen but that it would all flow together into one single narrative.”

Selznick’s illustrations are meant to evoke the feeling of movies, yet he never thought any of his books would ever be made into a feature film. Then Martin Scorsese decided to adapt Hugo for the big screen.

“Scorsese’s one of the great film directors of all time,” says Selznick. “On top of that, he’s a brilliant film scholar and knows everything about the history of cinema itself. So to have an artist like him creating his vision of a story that I made up is really beyond anything that I could have ever imagined.”

Selznick, who divides his time between San Diego and New York, got to visit the set three times and has written a book on the making of the movie called The Hugo Movie Companion that just came out. For the book, he interviewed 40 people from the film, from the dog trainer to Mr. Scorsese himself. One of the questions he asked was what attracted Scorsese to the material.

Asa Butterfield, Martin Scorsese, and Chloë Moretz on the set of Hugo, from Paramount Pictures and GK Films.
Jaap Buitendjik © 2011 GK Films, LLC.  All Rights Reserved.

Selznick says that Scorsese liked “the fact that my story is about the history of cinema, which allowed him to touch on and examine the very earliest moments of the medium that he has spent his life working in. It’s also a story about a father and a son, and that’s something that he said is very close to his heart. In the interview I did with him, he talked about his dad, and going to the movies with his dad. And by great coincidence, the first movie that Scorsese remembers seeing was Duel in the Sun, which happened to be a David O. Selznick film.”

The film version of Hugo opens nationwide on November 23. 

More »Related Stories

San Diego Thanksgiving Guide 2014

Where to dine out, order catering, buy pies, and turkey-trot your way through the holiday

South of the Border in Beer (and Bites)

Latino-owned breweries prove that Mexican beer is more than lager with a slice of lime

Things to Do: October 21-26

The best events in San Diego this week

Most Popular

  1. Secret San Diego
    Psst! You didn’t hear it from us, but this town has all kinds of "hidden gems" (yes, we said it). And we’re not talking ghost stories at the Hotel Del.
  2. FIRST LOOK: Bottega Americano
    With Bottega Americano opening this weekend, Downtown gets its first gourmet food hall
  3. FIRST LOOK: Fairweather
    Anthony Schmidt tackles "sunny" vacation drinks at Downtown's new patio bar
  4. 5 Reasons to Visit the ‘Coastal Living’ 2014 Showhouse
    For the first time ever, ‘Coastal Living’ selects a California home for its annual showcase, and it just so happens to be in Coronado.
  5. ROAD TRIP: Convivia
    One of the most exciting new trends has been the collaboration of San Diego and Baja chefs. Now a new restaurant in Valle de Guadalupe gives that movement a permanent home.
  6. Best of San Diego 2014
    Our annual list of the best of the best in San Diego right now — with an emphasis on the now.

Promotions

Best of Ensenada 2013

Where to eat, drink, sleep & play

Hawaii: Island Fresh

A handy guide to Hawaii's farmers markets

Connect With Us: