throwback to gus van sant’s outsider heroes

Icons is the new book that celebrates the life, work and lost heroes of one of cinema’s greatest directors.

by Tish Weinstock
12 July 2016, 11:35pm

River Phoenix in My Own Private Idaho by Gus Van Sant (1991) © Warner Bros Inc.

Combining all facets of his creation - photography, painting, music - for the first time, along with an exploration of the work of those who inspired him, such as William Burroughs and Harmony Korine, Gus Van Sant | Icons explores the visionary world of one of America's finest filmmakers. For over thirty years, the Kentucky-born director has told the tale of the marginalised hero, from River Phoenix's gay gigolo in My Private Idaho to Matt Damon's outcast genius in Good Will Hunting. And now this new book will tell a tale of its own.

Keanu Reeves and River Phoenix in My Own Private Idaho by Gus Van Sant (1991) © Warner Bros Inc. 

Accompanied by Matthieu Orléan's 2015 unpublished interview with Van Sant, along with the director's iconic polaroid portraits of all the actors he's worked with including Nicole Kidman, and Drew Barrymore, the book examines the mechanics behind some of Van Sant's most iconic work, from Drugstore Cowboy and Milk to Elephant, Finding Forrester and even Sea of Trees, which is soon to be released in cinemas. Here we take a sneak peek into the world of Gus Van Sant.

Casey Affleck and Matt Damon in Gerry by Gus Van Sant (2002) - My Cactus Inc.  

Michael Pitt in Last Days by Gus Van Sant (2005) © HBO 

Drew Barrymore. Gus Van Sant, Polaroids, 1983-1999 © Gus Van Sant. 

Gabe Nevins in Paranoid Park by Gus Van Sant (2007) © 2007 MK2 

Mala Noche by Gus Van Sant (1986) © Sawtooth Film Company 

Alicia Miles and John Robinson in Elephant by Gus Van Sant (2003) © HBO 

Published by Actes Sud, Gus Van Sant | Icons is out now.


Text Tish Weinstock

Gus Van Sant
good will hunting
my private idaho