Being a father at a later age is different from when I had my other two daughters when I was in my 20s and 30s. If you're in your 60s and you're with the kid every day, you're dealing with the mind of a child, so it opens up that childishness in you again.
I was saying as a joke the other day that I love film editing, I know how to cut a picture, I think I know how to shoot it, but I don't know how to light it. And I realize it's because I didn't grow up with light. I grew up in tenements.
The tone of the picture and the atmosphere was in my head and in my blood in a way once I'd decided to make the picture. I had to find my way through that to choose, select, emphasise certain visual elements and sound.
Michael Jackson was extraordinary, When we worked together on 'Bad,' I was in awe of his absolute mastery of movement on the one hand, and of the music on the other. Every step he took was absolutely precise and fluid at the same time. It was like watching quicksilver in motion. He was wonderful to work with, an absolute professional at all times, and it really goes without saying... a true artist. It will be a while before I can get used to the idea that he's no longer with us.
Our world is so glutted with useless information, images, useless images, sounds, all this sort of thing. It's a cacophony, it's like a madness I think that's been happening in the past twenty-five years. And I think anything that can help a person sit in a room alone and not worry about it is good.
[Kubrick] was unique in the sense that with each new film he redefined the medium and its possibilities. But he was more than just a technical innovator. Like all visionaries, he spoke the truth. And no matter how comfortable we think we are with the truth, it always comes as a profound shock when we're forced to meet it face-to-face.
Violence is not the answer, it doesn’t work any more. We are at the end of the worst century in which the greatest atrocities in the history of the world have occurred... The nature of human beings must change. We must cultivate love and compassion.
Always get to the set or the location early, so that you can be all alone and draw your inspiration for the blocking and the setups in private and quiet. In one sense, it's about protecting yourself; in another sense, it's about always being open to surprise, even from the set, because there may be some detail that you hadn't noticed. I think this is crucial. There are many pictures that seem good in so many ways except one: They lack a sense of surprise, they've never left the page.
I think when you're young and have that first burst of energy and make five or six pictures in a row that tell the stories of all the things in life you want to say... well, maybe those are the films that should have won me the Oscar.
And so you try your best. Sometimes you go in with one thing, with one desire and come out with something else. In the case of The Aviator it was to create a Hollywood spectacle, but by about the second or third week of shooting you just want to literally survive it. Because don't forget, I also go through the editing process too, and when the film is released I have to talk about it. So, I take all of that very seriously.
What the Dalai Lama had to resolve was whether to stay in Tibet or leave. He wanted to stay, but staying would have meant the total destruction of Tibet, because he would have died and that would have ripped the heart out of his people.
DAYS THAT I'LL REMEMBER is a lovingly assembled and beautifully written collection of conversations, observations, and memories of music, friendship, and days gone by. It's good to be back again with John Lennon, his beloved Yoko Ono, and his trusted chronicler and friend Jonathan Cott.
If Kubrick had lived to see the opening of his final film, he obviously would have been disappointed by the hostile reactions. But I'm sure that in the end he would have taken it with a grain of salt and moved on. That's the lot of all true visionaries, who don't see the use of working in the same vein as everyone else. Artists like Kubrick have minds expansive and dynamic enough to picture the world in motion, to comprehend not just where its been, but where it's going.
I've been extremely lucky to work with Elmer Bernstein, Howard Shore over the years, but I've always imagined films with my own scores, because I don't come from that world or that period of filmmaking. And so how could I make up my own score on a film like this where it isn't necessarily made up of popular music from the radio or the period; it isn't necessarily classical music. But what if it's modern symphonic music?
When I was growing up, I don't remember being told that America was created so that everyone could get rich. I remember being told it was about opportunity and the pursuit of happiness. Not happiness itself, but the pursuit.
Rock & roll seemed to just come to us, on the radio and in the record stores. It became our music. . . But then we uncovered another, deeper level, the history behind rock and R&B, the music behind our music. All roads led to the source, which was the blues.
Oh, the foghorns... even the foghorns, they're all brass. It's something by Ingrid Marshal called Fog Tropes. It's not a sound effect. It's an actual piece of music. If you listen to what's going on after he has a flashback about his wife you'll hear... it sounds like the humpback whales in a way. But it's all music. And we use it again later, too.
It’s also true that I might have never made Taxi Driver  were it not for the success of Alice [Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, 1974]. The question of commercialism is a source of worry. Must one make a choice, must it be a matter of either setting your sights on winning an Academy Award and becoming a millionaire, or making only the movies you want to make and starving to death?
There are movies that change the whole way in which films are made, like Klute, where Gordon Willis’s photography on the film is so textured, and, they said, too dark. At first this was alarming to people, because they’re used to a certain way things are done within the studio system. And the studio is selling a product, so they were wary of people thinking that it’s too dark.
When everything is added up, the frequent blows weighted against the sporadic triumphs, this is I have to say not just a vocation, it's a great gift. But you also know this, for your work, for your passion, every day is a rededication. Painters, dancers, actors, writers, filmmakers. It's the same for all of you, all of us. Every step is a first step. Every brush stroke is a test. Every scene is a lesson. Every shot is a school. So, let the learning continue.
I look for a thematic idea running through my movies and I see that it's the outsider struggling for recognition. I realize that all my life I've been an outsider, and above all, being lonely but never realizing it.
For me, the key image is the boat coming through the fog at the beginning. It's something I imagined and liked and I guess there are other references in other films I make - the similar type of image. But I think it's interesting, it's breaking through the mystery, or maybe it stays in the fog... we don't really know. Where is he at the beginning of the film, who is he?
One of the things is that the good intentions of Prohibition, from reading over the years and from becoming obsessed with the research of gangs in New York City, seems to have allowed crime figures at the time, like Luciano, Capone, Torrio and Rothstein, to organize to become more powerful, which pulled all the way through until the '70s.