It`s a risk casting anyone against type or what they`re known to do. But there`s one thing better than having a great actor, which is having a great actor who`s never done what you`re asking him to do. He`s hungry to get out of the trailer every day and hungry to test himself.
Truly great actors carry their characters in silence with them. They communicate without words the relationships that predate the movie.
I still can`t quite believe it. Although there was something about the fact that it was a first-time writer, a first-time producer, and a first-time director all at the same time.
I deliberately, in a way, went for something that was a huge challenge and was a big period film. I was excited about the canvas on which I could tell the story as much as the story itself.
I think movies are a director`s medium in the end. Theater is the actor`s medium. Theater is fast, and enjoyable, and truly rewarding. I believe in great live performance.
This is the first time in 10 years I don`t know what I`m doing next, and I`m rather enjoying it. Soon I`ll be climbing the walls no doubt, but right now, it`s not clear, I`m just enjoying the freedom.
Regarding his commitment to directing Jarhead (2005) without a personal soldiering background: "This is new territory to me, but I hadn`t spent two days in American suburbia when I directed American Beauty (1999). I only knew the script had an unusual and original voice and it was a challenge I wanted to take on. Jarhead (2005) is equal parts black humor, honesty, rage, lyricism, profanity and the mixture of machismo jarhead culture. With the exception of Three Kings (1999) this is a war that has been overlooked but which has a burning relevance to what is happening right now in the Middle East."
It took me a long time to film the plastic bag, and then I had to get the cut of the scene right. But if you find it as beautiful as the character does, then suddenly it becomes a different movie, and so did he as a character.
I think with Blair Witch and The Sixth Sense, people are much more open to something that is different.
I wanted to keep exploring... I`m not about to choose a series of movies in which I can use the same bag of tricks and style that I used in the first film.
My process is slow and I enjoy it too much to rush. And I like to return to the theater between films. But after not doing any movies for a few years, perhaps I might do two in two years.
I`m certainly getting a lot more mail... that`s basically it.
You just never know when movies are going to take off or not. The lucky thing about this was that it didn`t cost a lot of money, and therefore there wasn`t loads of pressure on me.
One movie is only one movie. I want to have a lifetime of making films.
I like throwing snowballs at small children.
There`s one thing better than having a great actor, and that`s having a great actor who`s never done this kind of role before and is hungry to do it. They`re testing themselves every day. They want to get out of their trailer and get to work.
I want to try and work in different genres with different types of actors, on small movies and big movies.
As a first-time director in America, I feel I`ve been very fortunate.
If you lived through the shooting of Jaws, you can live through anything.
You think about taking audiences on a journey.
If you shout in the theater, people think you`ve gone a bit mad. But if you raise your voice on a film set, people just work a bit harder.
Thank God I don`t live in Los Angeles. I think if you`re there the whole time it just gets out of proportion and you lose touch completely with reality.
You freeze with the number of opportunities given to you and just decide to do nothing at all.
All I know is that I operate by going out to each of them and trying to learn the territory in which they operate. My language to each of them has to suit their brain.
Directing, I realize, on film is far more personal, you know. Cinema really is a director`s medium. This is a very personal film.
The movies that influenced me were movies that told their stories through pictures more than words.
You`ve got to believe as a filmmaker that if a movie`s good enough, it`s going to survive; and if it`s not, well, it won`t.
One of the reasons I loved working with Tom is people feel they know who he is... I think working with an actor who the audience already has a relationship with actually helps you in a film like this.
Regarding the different reactions of Europeans and Americans to his film, "Jarhead" (2005): "I feel they`ve understood in Europe. In America, it`s like talking about a different movie. Fundamentally, Jarhead disobeys all the laws of American movies, and not just the political laws of American movies right now which demand on some level to tell us which side they`re on. In Europe, there`s a sense this film comes from the tradition of absurdist war movies about the futility of conflict. It has more in common with Beckett, Sartre and Banuel than it does with Oliver Stone. In America, they assumed I was trying to make an Oliver Stone movie and that I`d failed."
I feel they`ve understood in Europe. In America, it`s like talking about a different movie.Fundamentally, Jarhead disobeys all the laws of American movies, and not just the political laws of American movies right now which demand on some level to tell us which side they`re on. In Europe, there`s a sense this film comes from the tradition of absurdist war movies about the futility of conflict.
There`s good and bad in everybody. I wasn`t looking for the good, or looking for the bad. This is a man who signed his pact with the devil 20 years ago, and he`s learned to live with it. He`s tried to protect his family from it.
I feel very undeserving. I feel the award is a bank loan, which I`ll take out and pay back by the end of 20 years, and by then I`ll feel more deserving. - On receiving his Lifetime Achievement award from the Directors Guild of Great Britain.
The perceived wisdom is that people do not go in large numbers to black-and-white movies anymore - which is a great shame, but I`d love to make a black-and-white movie one day.
Just because I hold a shot for more than five seconds and it`s all a deliberate tableau, people say it`s theater. It`s not really.
For me, certain shots or scenes are keys in the movie.
I don`t think good and evil are polarized.
You`re in the lap of the gods. If people go, they go, and if they don`t.
Sex. What Fun. to the students of Atlantic Theater School
Kevin and Annette... I wanted them to do it together. They clearly wanted to work with each other.
Actors get pigeonholed very quickly, particularly movie actors. In the theater, one is more used to casting people against type and trusting that their talent and skill will get them through.
The characters are trapped within the lifestyle. It`s about what goes on before the movie starts.
When I drive through a field, I want to see green grass sometimes, and I don`t want to see black and white.
I don`t think of it as a competition - which might surprise you, given the way movies are reported constantly.
You`ve got to work. You`ve got to want an audience to sit forward in their chairs sometimes, rather than sit back and be bombarded with images.
Now I`m back home, living in London, running my theater. I just want to enjoy all that.