Q&A with TRACEY FRAGMENTS director Bruce McDonald

May 5, 2008

Bruce McDonald directs Academy Award nominated it-girl Ellen Page in the explosive TRACEY FRAGMENTS. The film follows Page as an emotionally unstable teenager navigating through a dangerous urban metropolis in search of her missing younger brother. Creatively edited in split-screen style, some have called this surreal story a modern day CATCHER IN THE RYE – McDonald takes a second to elaborate on that as well as some of our other questions below. THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS opens May 9 at the Village East Cinema.


Q: Did you have Ellen Page in mind to play Tracey before officially beginning the casting process?
A: We auditioned many actresses. Ellen was always on the radar. We met in person and discussed our mutual admiration for Patti Smith and the search was over.

Q: Do you think the success of JUNO will help draw new Ellen fans to the this film?
A: JUNOâ??s success will definitely draw new audiences of Ellen Page admirers to The Tracey Fragments much in the same way Rolling Stones fans herded toward Jean Luc Goddard when Godard made 1+1 Symphony For The Devil in 1968.

Q: How would you describe Tracey as a character?
A: She is whip smart, moody and romantic, she tends to exaggeraate everything which is a nice way to say sheâ??s a bit of a liar. Tracey is Patti Smith at 15 years old.

Q: Maureen Medved, who wrote the original novel, also wrote the screenplay â?? was she quick to jump on board? What was her opinion about turning the novel into a film?
A: I optioned the novel by sending Maureen my cowboy boots in the mail â?? express â?? Toronto to Vancouver. The boots secured the deal and Maureen hesitated not for a moment on writing the screenplay. She had a very clear plan for the adaptation from novel to screen. She knew which large chunks of the novel to leave aside. Maureen has seen every film ever made â?? except for Crash (II), Far from the Madding Crowd and Ang Leeâ??s first movie. She understood that the book and the movie are completely different mediums and the best adaptations are often quite different from the original source.

Q: It seems like there have been a lot of films recently that focus on teenagers dealing with very serious, adult-like problems (JUNO, PARANOID PARK)â?¦ THE TRACEY FRAGMENTS is no exceptionâ?¦ do you think this reflects at all on the state of the youth, or what it might actually mean to be fifteen?
A: Yes. These are all films made by people who listen well, who are trying to receive and channel that teenage world rather than trying to create the usual â?? and rather entertaining teenage worlds of Frankie Avalon, Josie and the Pussycats, The Brady Bunch, John Hughes movies, Hanna Montana or Britney Spears. Tracey has a lot more in common with Holden Caulfield in The Catcher In The Rye than she does with Hermione or Harry of the Harry Potter franchise.

Q: Why did you choose the band Broken Social Scene to score the film?
A: They are my favorite band. I love their music.

Q: What are you hoping audiences take from the story?
A: I hope the audiences take some hope from the story and some deeper respect for the wild and crazy- beautiful struggle of what it is to be fifteen.