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What is filmmaking but groping in the dark?
– Alexander Payne
Life mixes tones all the time.
You just never know when you’re living in a golden age.
Joe E. Lewis said, ‘Money doesn’t buy happiness but it calms the nerves.’ And that is how I feel about a film being well-received.
I want all of my films to belong to me.
I think a badly crafted, great idea for a new film with a ton of spelling mistakes is just 100 times better than a well-crafted stale script.
The biggest fear I have is to die with regrets, and of course that will come true.
Jesuits encourage an intellectual rigor in a way that I like.
I still have energy and some degree of youth, which is what a filmmaker needs.
Hollywood films have become a cesspool of formula and it’s up to us to try to change it… I feel like a preacher! But it’s really true. I feel personally responsible for the future of American cinema. Me personally.
I like voice-over in films, and most of my films have been voice-over films.
But it’s just that the whole country is making generally lousy films these days and has been for quite a while. That’s the big problem that we all have to think about.
I’m hoping one day I can make one really good film.
I think if you watch most of my films with the sound off, you could still tell what’s going on.
A pitfall of making a comedy with a studio-and it’s also an American cultural thing-is that I get tired of being encouraged to go always for laughs.
I like actors who, when you see them on screen, you sense a person, not just an actor.
The kindest thing a director can do is look with open eyes at everything.
There is an audience out there for literate films – slower, more observant, more human films, and they deserve to be made.
I think cynicism lasts. Sentimentality ages, dates quickly.
I’m so not interested in producing, other than doing my own work, producing my own films. I only do it as favors, for other people to get their films made.
The hardest part of this whole movie-making endeavor is finding ideas.
The most heinous shift in American films is that they reinforce good things like ‘couples’ and ‘relationships.’
As the years go by and I make more films, I am increasingly interested in capturing place as a vivid backdrop for my films.
I think that Peter Jennings is the only decent one of the big three.
In a sense, ‘Schmidt’ is the most Omaha of my films. But have I gotten it right? I’m not sure. Did Fellini get Rome right? Did Ozu get Tokyo right?
Well, that’s what life is – this collection of extraordinarily ordinary moments. We just need to pay attention to them all. Wake up and pay attention to how beautiful it all is.
Omaha, like Rome, is built on seven hills.
My flag is always flying. My shingle is always out. I’m always looking for movie ideas.
‘Independent’ means one thing to me: It means that regardless of the source of financing, the director’s voice is extremely present. It’s such a pretentious term, but it’s auteurist cinema. Director-driven, personal, auteurist… Whatever word you want.
You look at how many years you have left, and you start to think: ‘How many more films do I have in me?’