The great thing about the business is how Darwinian it is. We have to swim or die – if you are found wanting over a period of time, you’ve either got to change what you’re doing or find something else to do.
There are three major social issues that this country is struggling with: education, poverty, and drugs. Two of them we talk about, and one of them we don’t.
When a film like Chris Nolan’s Memento cannot get picked up, to me independent film is over. It’s dead.
I guess why the Ocean’s films are hard for me is because on the one hand you have to make sure the performances are there, but on the other hand it’s a film that demands, to my mind, a very layered and complex visual scheme. That takes a lot of time to figure out.
Reality shows are all the rage on TV at the moment, but that’s not reality, it’s just another aesthetic form of fiction.
I guess I didn’t feel confident enough to be searching in a big public way. I was very content at the time to toil in obscurity on things that I thought might point me in certain directions or teach me certain things – not knowing what that would be.
Traffic is about drugs. As detailed a portrait as I can muster about what is happening in the drug world, from top to bottom, from policy to how things move on the street.
I’m sure some people will say, ‘Why do this?’ And my response is, ‘Why wouldn’t you?’ The film business in general is using a model that is outdated and, worse than that, inefficient.
I know why we can’t have a frank discussion with our policymakers – if you’re in the government or in law enforcement you cannot acknowledge that drugs are anything but inherently evil and morally wrong.
The key is, if you’re not monkeying around with the script, then everything usually goes pretty well.
But my sense in talking to people when I travel is that the film business is not that dissimilar from a lot of other businesses.
The ought to be a worldwide cultural taskforce that just stops you when you have ideas like combining The Red Desert with an armored car heist movie.
I think I’m good at amplifying an actor’s strengths, and minimizing their weaknesses. And they all have strengths and weaknesses.
I look at other filmmakers and see skills in them that I wish I had but I know that I don’t. I feel like I have to work really hard to keep myself afloat, doing what I do. But I find it pleasurable.
Well, it’s 15 years since Sex, Lies And Videotape, and if you hang around long enough you’re having the same arguments with just a new set of people every few years and it gets boring.
It’s pretty clear to me that working as a director for hire agrees with me. I like it. The films that have come out of that, I personally like better than the ones that didn’t.
Warner Bros. has talked about going out with low-cost DVDs simultaneously in China because piracy is so huge there. It will be a while before bigger movies go out in all formats; in five years, everything will.
I’m in the process of working out an arrangement to make some very, very, very small films in the midst of all these films and maybe that will help. But you get tired of talking. You just want to do it.