HOW IT ENDS Q&A WITH ZOE LISTER-JONES
July 22nd, 2021 director, writer, and star of How It Ends Zoe Lister-Jones visited Angelika New York to speak with Elizabeth Plank about what it was like to create the film during the Covid-19 pandemic. She covers topics such as mental health during a pandemic, and the ways in which that can influence creativity over the past nearly two years- explaining the deep impact that this apocalyptic experience can have not only on the creative process, but also self-growth, self-love, and self-acceptance.
How It Ends was created in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic- often playing a part as the first moments of socialization after lockdown for many of the cast and crew. Creative projects can serve as a way for an artist to maintain some form of control over an aspect of their lives in a time of severe chaos, but also serve as an outlet to generate positive energy. Lister-Jones cites the project – which she saw from beginning to end – as a source of joy and play in a time of high stress and anxiety. The timing of the film is deeply evident in its content and themes, taking place in the moments before the apocalypse, but also handling topics such as coping with grief and the ability to let go. Lister-Jones reflects upon the absurd dichotomy between such catastrophic events happening outside, but inside, especially during the lockdown for many people, we were “wearing sweatpants and watching Netflix”. The absurdity of a calm view over the chaos – the pandemic leading to rest and relaxation within our homes, but fear, paranoia, and anxiety outside.
Lister-Jones describes how the film came from work with her therapist, specifically that of attempting to speak to your inner child and help yourself grow. Her character exists alongside a younger version of herself, interacting on a deeply meta level, each essentially as the voice in the other’s head. The growth and interaction summons a form of radical self-acceptance that can only come from true internal work – shown externally, in the film. This face-to-face experience with yourself has become a large theme within the pandemic- as Zoe Lister-Jones says, it’s a question of “how we face ourselves when there’s no one else to face.” What can you say when you are alone with your thoughts, alone without the influence of the outside world, alone with your reflection?
How It Ends is a deeply cathartic experience in personal growth in a time of tragedy, a deeply touching comedy, and a brilliant piece of cinema that will warm your heart and leave you moved.
About the film: In this feel good apocalyptic comedy, freewheeling Liza (Zoe Lister-Jones) scores an invite to one last wild party before the world ends. But making it there won’t be easy, after her car is stolen, and the clock is ticking on her plan to tie up loose ends with friends and family. Accompanied by her younger self (Cailee Spaeny), Liza embarks on a hilarious journey across Los Angeles, running into an eclectic cast of characters.