When I'm looking for Zen and I'm not saying this facetiously at all - I would really rather surf, scuba dive, or fly my plane. And, when I feel tension about the grind of work, it's not getting the money to make films versus making films that constitutes the grind, it's all this stuff.
I started, with three friends, this website called Crowdrise that's sort of the Facebook for personal philanthropy, a place where anybody can have a permanent microsite of their own to stage creative fundraising projects for the charities and causes that they care about. And we did it with serious intent but without any ambition.
A lot of people ask, "What do you pull on in your own life from your character?" In all honesty, it's not something that really works that way for me. I tend to look at these things as an imaginative process and a challenge of imagination and empathy, to some degree. I get much more out of meeting people who have lived these lives than I do digging around in my own limited experiences.
I think one of the most important investments an organization like TNC [The Nature Conservancy] can make is in helping build local capacity - supporting the growth of a global network of small community-based entities. Help people who live within critical ecosystems help themselves and their neighbors to design a better future relationship between themselves and their natural resources.
There are things you do for the fun of doing them or to work or to hang with certain people. But the projects that I've invested myself in and cared about most deeply have absolutely been activated by a desire to chase something that I relate to, or that I see as having the potential to speak to someone else directly.
I'm fascinated by the ways in which people express themselves, because their responses are often counter to what they're actually feeling. Like when they're frightened, they tend to freeze. When they're angry, it doesn't always come out as volume. There are wonderful contradictions in the way that people express their emotions.
For me there's always a line or two in a script, when you hit it you almost decide to do the whole movie off a line or two. You almost do it for the fun of getting to say a line or two like that. I don't have any specific plans, you know. I mean, if Seth Rogen calls with a great buddy pic, I'll be there.
To me, achieving tone, achieving consistency, is exactly the job of a director. It is to be the fusing, the nexus of a whole bunch of people contributing to the complex life of a movie. There are actors, there's a cinematographer, there're costume people, set people, there are all these things, and you somehow have to be the person in the middle of it who is making it all synchronize into the same magic bubble.
I've never acted before in a movie I've directed. This felt like the time to do it just because the " Leaves of Grass" movie itself is so much of a platform for the lead actor. It's really written for an exciting performance and it really depends on the audience watching an extraordinary actor having a great time pulling off this feat. It makes sense to me as a director to act in support of that.
When I think of my background, if I was privileged on any level, it was in terms of the kind of exposure to experience and bohe-mian cultural influence that my parents and my uncles and my grandfather gave me. On both sides I come from an extremely eccentric, artsy, intellectually intense, activist family.
But look at Avatar , one of the most globally viewed pieces of entertainment to have ever been made - the central emotional event of the whole movie was a tree being cut down. And the entire movie, essentially, is saying, "If we let the military industrial complex trash the place that we're living in, we will have committed an epic crime."
When I think about directing a film, the thing that stops me short is wondering if I'm a natural at it the way I think you, and PTA, and Fincher are born directors. Maybe some people's talent is in understanding the ways that film communicates, without dialogue, without plot.
If Nick Broomfield never found anyone with affection for Courtney Love, it's only because he conspicuously avoided the countless friends, colleagues and fans who appreciate her talent and admire her as a person. But then, why would Broomfield have opened up his film to those of us who work with Courtney and are close to her when there are so many bitter left - behinds and desperate attention - seekers eager to validate his attack on her character? Inquisitors in every age, scared of forceful women, have used all kinds of half - baked testimony to whip up chants of... Read more »
You know, independent films have been institutionalized, practically. Every studio has got a boutique arthouse label. There's like, 18 different independent film-financing funds. In fact, I think the children of those films are getting made. A more interesting question is whether those films are going to get seen and appreciated.
When I was about 16 or 17, I had a teacher who took a group of us to the National Theater in Washington, D.C., and I saw Ian McKellen do his one-man show - I think it was called Acting Shakespeare - and it completely bombed me; it put the zap on my brain in a big way.
Even my wife and two of my children are in "Leaves of Grass". Because I love the source material so much, it was really easy to write and an utter delight to get to direct because I had people like Edward [Norton] elevating the material and surprising me in their interpretations of all of this stuff that's so close to me.