Forget the grand plan. Forget the master scheme. Forget control. That is the bleak but true basis of independent cinema. Inch by motherfuking inch we must, because we have no other choice.
I have the right to interpretation as a dramatist. I research. It`s my responsibility to find the research. It`s my responsibility to digest it and do the best that I can with it. But at a certain point that responsibility will become an interpretation.
I think that many people in history who had power were bumped off because they had power.
Well first of all you have to make the character strong so that people can follow that. And then hopefully that character can integrate with the background of the social situation that people can recognize.
I consider my films first and foremost to be dramas about individuals in personal struggles and I consider myself to be a dramatist before I am a political filmmaker. I`m interested in alternative points of view. I think ultimately the problems of the planet are universal and that nationalism is a very destructive force. I also like anarchy in films. My heroes were Buñuel and Godard. Breathless was one of the first pictures I really remember being marked by, because of the speed and energy. They say I`m unsubtle. But we need above all, a theatre that wakes us up: nerves and heart.
When I was a child, I`d see a movie, I took it for what it was, I enjoyed it. And if I believed it I would tend to be more interested in knowing more about it.
(On his movie "Platoon") I wrote the Platoon script in 1976 in New York City. Primarily because I`d reached a point in my life that if I didn`t write about it, I would forget what had happened in the war.
I`d like to do a story about the medieval ages where in every scene you`d sort of feel that you were in the 12th century. That would be great to get that feeling.
I am not trying to be a historian and a dramatist; I`m a dramatist, a dramatic historian, or one who does a dramatic interpretation of history.
I`ve been to war, and it`s not easy to kill. It`s bloody and messy and totally horrifying, and the consequences are serious.
I think experience will teach you a combination of liberalism and conservatism. We have to be progressive and at the same time we have to retain values. We have to hold onto the past as we explore the future.
I will come out with my interpretation. If I`m wrong, fine. It will become part of the debris of history, part of the give and take.
I wasn`t prophetic. It was there all around us. Money was the sex of the 1980s.
The Indians once told me that stones are the most revered and ancient of recording devices. And that perhaps I am here on this Earth to write of these mute histories - just another stone, an `Oliver` stone.
If we had to do things the American PG way, then we were screwed. Alexander had to be an R picture. If you work in Hollywood, you have to get past the studio development committees. The thousands of demands. The previews where they dumb it down for the audience. The system wears you down. It`s a monster -- demanding, uncompromising. Marty Scorsese and Spike Lee have been through hell ...
A woman can be very beautiful and an ideal model and she will photograph incredibly well, but she`ll appear in film and it won`t work. What works is some fusion of physical beauty with some mental field or whatever you call it. I don`t know.
Fear may very well be a caveman fear of the predator, of the giant lizard chasing them - maybe that`s what Steven Spielberg connects with so well in Lost World.
I would vote for the man who`s lived life, who`s done different occupations, who`s been out in the real world and struggled to make a living, struggled to raise a family, struggled with life as it exists. So I`d vote for experience, honest experience.
If anything, if you can get somebody interested in something and get them excited, that`s great. You should be praised for having opened the debate and having asked the right questions.
I`ve met people who will go to a movie that I can`t stand and they say that they saw that movie ten times. There`s something they like and identified in that movie, and I don`t see it.
One of my fantasies in my life has been that I was granted access with a camera to go back in time, and to film the actual campaign of Alexander crossing into India through Iran and Persia.
When you look at a movie, you look at a director`s thought process.
This was the golden boy of all history. I`ve been trying to make (`Alexander`) for a long time. In 1991 with Val Kilmer, in 1996 with Tom Cruise. Then Colin Farrell came along, and he was perfect. He was a tough, Tyrone Power, barstool-looking boy from Dublin. We made him a blond, which was perfect for him, and he became Alexander.
I do believe there are leaders who are like lightning and they come along and they lead. The Lincolns of the world, the Alexander the Greats, they do exist. They have existed.
You`re not a historian, but most historians will tell you that they make very discrete judgment as to what facts to omit in order to make their book into some shape, some length that can be managed.
Alexander to me is a perfect blend of male-female, masculine-feminine, yin-yang. He could communicate with both sides of his nature.
I never put out a history, I put out a dramatic history.
The film business? I love film, but the film business is sh*t.
Coming Home had been made before and Apocalypse Now and Deer Hunter, different kinds of movies.
Anybody who`s been through a divorce will tell you that at one point. they`ve thought murder. The line between thinking murder and doing murder isn`t that major.
I`d love to do historical pictures more, but I don`t know if I can.
I`m terrible at horror movies, by the way. I get scared so easily.
If I were George Bush, I would shoot myself. I think he lives in fear of drinking again. There`s nothing more dangerous for America than an ex-alcoholic President who tells you to believe in Jesus.
There`s an electrical thing about movies.
Josh (Brolin) is actually better looking than (George W.) Bush but has the same drive and charisma that Americans identify with Bush, who has some of that old-time movie-star swagger. I want a fair, true portrait of the man (for my film).
This attack was pure chaos, and chaos is energy. All great changes have come from people or events that were initially misunderstood, and seemed frightening, like madmen. - On the September 11th attacks
I believed in the John Wayne image of America. My father was a Republican, and he taught me that it was a good war because the Communists were the bad guys and we had to fight them. And then there was the romanticism of the Second World War as it appeared in the films we mentioned. Obviously, the reality was very different.
I study history in order to give an interpretation.
One of the joys of going to the movies was that it was trashy, and we should never lose that.
I do believe that movies are subject to a million interpretations.
Never underestimate the power of jealousy and the power of envy to destroy. Never underestimate that.
In any film there`s always a historical implication.
Alexander`s lasted 2,300 years. Why? He`s remembered because of his vision, because of his compassion, because of his generosity, because of his spirit, because he was different. He was a general, a man, who was able to weep over his soldiers on the battlefield. Never before had that happened. So this is a special man who has been remembered. There is a reason this film was made. It is bigger than us, bigger than me, bigger than Colin and all our team.
When I go to the movies, and I have to sit through ten previews of films that look (alike) and tell the whole story, you know that we`ve reached an age of consensus. And consensus is the worst thing for us. We all agree to agree. That`s where we lose it as a culture. We have to move away from that.
It`s interesting that when economic times were the hardest, that`s when many people embraced liberalism.
Lunch is for wimps.
But in answer to your question about the conspiracy angle, I think that any historian worth his salt, and this is where I fault Stephen Ambrose and a lot of these guys who attack me - not all of life is a result of conspiracy by any means! Accident occurs alongside conspiracy.
But I suppose film is distinctive because of its nature, of its being able to cut through time with editing.
You do the best job you can. You take it step by step. It`s hard enough to make a movie. If it works, that`s great. If it means something beyond the moment to somebody, they can take it and it lasts through the years, we`ll see.
The reaction to JFK was just stunning. I`ve never spent so much time defending a film after its release.