People were giggling about my penis as if they were schoolschildren. I think it's maybe the dying embers of this Calvinistic idea that self-flagellating and shame and anger and violence is all good and yet sex and intimacy, making love is bad. And that manifests in us all giggling about a penis – it's so stupid.
Why not simply reinvent myself as a movie actor, as opposed to a movie star? A character actor, rather than a leading actor? (What's the difference? Well, essentially it's this. When movie stars get a script they want to do, they change it to suit them. When leading movie actors get a script they want to do, they change themselves to suit the script.)
With film, you can get an actor to an emotional place very quickly and then you've got it. But in theatre you need to have conversations and explanations and it takes a long time until they get there, and even longer until they remember it. Actors expect a lot of what they call ‘table work' and that doesn't interest me.
Now when I saw ["Room at the Top" (1959)], which was in a local cinema in north Salford, what was exciting about it was if you walked out of the cinema into the street, it was the same world as was in the pictures. I'd spent all of that time up till then sitting as a kid thinking, ‘Wouldn't it be great if you could have a film where the characters in the film were like real people?'
At the time I did Vicky Cristina Barcelona, the allegations were already well known for more than 10 years, and two states in the US deemed he was not guilty. If the legal situation ever changes, then I'd change my mind. But for now I don't agree with the public lynching that he's been receiving, and if Woody Allen called me to work with him again I'd be there tomorrow morning. He's a genius.
I was so popular in the 1990s in Russia, at the time they were changing from the Soviet Union – there was big confusion, and people in confusion like my books. In Germany, when the Berlin Wall fell down, there was confusion – and people liked my books.
I made an art film about a major figure who wants to destroy the world. And he liked it. That was, perhaps, my most problematic review.
I try, in what I do, to be myself. So for instance, most of the time when I do film, I put the camera at the same level as the character. I don't try to put it so that the character feels superior or put the camera here so the character feels inferior. I like to think like a person, like if they were my cousin. I always think of that way. I think it's very basic, but I think it's trying to shoot with a certain kindness.
Nothing against [Zadie Smith], but she wanted the people of the [spaceship] to — she wanted them to return to Earth. ‘Going home,' she kept telling me. I said, ‘What the fuck do you mean, going home?' There is no one alive there, you know?
Art should ring a bell in your own life. You should get involved. I don't want people to say it's great, I want people to say: ‘It is for me.'
I am not convinced that Kenya is such a weak society that it cannot handle a gay theme. There are Kenyans who paid the ultimate price for the freedoms we enjoy today.
From the 1940s aliens were originally characterised as saviours who could help humans transcend the cold-war paranoia of nuclear annihilation; especially marked at the time, after two world wars ["The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951)]. But after events like Watergate and the Vietnam war fuelled distrust in government, UFOs came to be viewed more as a possible threat, and some came to believe their existence was verified in secret military documents.
[“I Am Not a Witch” is] sort of a joke about my culture, that I thought we could all laugh along together to, until I realized that this understanding wasn't quite universal. At screenings, mostly across Europe and North America, it occurred to me that audiences weren't really in on the joke. [Some audiences would apologize for laughing at certain parts,] maybe feeling like they were punching down by laughing at Africans in a certain predicament. It's like I had to give them permission to laugh.
I have passed on a lot of roles. There have been one or two that I regretted for maybe a minute, and then I let it go. As I'm growing older, I pass on roles because of my experience of knowing once the movie's out, I'm going to have to promote it. And I don't want to promote anything that I don't believe in.
It was almost more useful at times to watch Liza [Minnelli] than it was to watch Freddie [Mercury] himself. You found the inspiration and birth of those movements.
No one asked Bob Dylan to play a song the same way every night. Why should I have to make one film?
You don't necessarily want [the audience] to instantly associate an image with something because then that's giving the spectator an answer. I'm a little bit repulsed by that idea, because to me the mystery of filmmaking is codes and questions, and if you make too easy of associations then instantly it feels slightly contrived. It's like, ‘This is what we're transmitting, this is what we're saying.'
To be honest, after ‘Do the Right Thing,' I said, ‘That's it.' You know? That's not to say I wasn't happy to get the honorary award, but as far as Oscars, my thing has always been my body of work. What film won best film of 1989? ‘Driving Miss Daisy.' Driving Miss motherfucking Daisy. Who's watching that film now?
I always wanted to make a film and be comfortable with it when I finished it. With ‘Roma,' I was satisfied with it when we finished. I was very happy with it, and that's because it's the first film I was fully able to convey what I wanted to convey as a film. It's a story in many different shapes and hints of emotions that have been present since the moment I wanted to be a director.
I've been through a farm system that most directors haven't. You see it a lot now, where someone directs a small film, that film is a runaway success, so you have a $5 million movie that makes $60 million and someone says, ‘I've got an idea, let's give that guy $200 million and we'll protect him, we'll put a bunch of people around him and they'll guide him.' And as soon as that person is put in charge of the movie, no one wants to do tell the director what to do, so you have someone who has never made one of these movies, does not understand the rules, and is there to reinvent the wheel and they lose sight of the fact that the wheel is round, and it's round for a reason, and their wheel is not...
Those are things I learned, not from the films that I was making, but the films I was making with other filmmakers where I was coming in to help to fix their broken or struggling movies, because I had a level of objectivity I don't have on my own work.
We created a very cool montage where we were allowed to participate and see inside Picasso's mind. We go from the actual event to the actual painting [“Le Moulin de la Galette” ] . We were shooting all our elements; the sets and costumes were recreated immaculately for the painting, with three women sitting around the table in the foreground, and, in the background, people dancing and three men smoking and the band in a gazebo. So the last shot of the day was matching the painting to the camera and recreate his painting, but it wasn't lining up correctly.
No, “Mission: Impossible - Fallout” is great because it fulfills a promise that its star made to moviegoers back in the last millennium, and — with only a handful of exceptions — hasn't reneged on since. It's a promise that's made
the last movie star of his kind, a one-man supernova who's yet to burn out a time when audiences only seem to care about brands.
In fact, it's not, strictly speaking, necessary to make this film at all. Inspiration enough has already been gleaned from the real-life events of the past week in Thailand . Only the thickest-skinned person would fail to have been impressed by the courage of the divers, or to have broken out in a cold sweat at the thought of the dark and the rising tide, the terror of the boys, the guilt of the coach, the worry of their parents. Imagination is a much more effective fear machine than mid-budget fictionalisation...
The best directors for us, for our [horror] movies, are [TV] showrunners. Better than the man or woman who had the hottest movie at Sundance or the greatest resume or anything else, the best prototype to direct a Blumhouse movie is a showrunner... Showrunners are used to our pace in the movie business. We have a somewhat TV-pace in [our] movies, but also the movies are much more successful if the director writes, because you can do stuff on the fly, and the showrunner has a kind-of producer mentality.
I've tried to avoid doing this ever since the picture came out. When you just say the ideas they sound foolish, whereas if they're dramatized one feels it, but I'll try. The idea [ of the ending of
"2001: A Space Odyssey" ] was supposed to be that he is taken in by god-like entities, creatures of pure energy and intelligence with no shape or form. They put him in what I suppose you could describe as a human zoo to study him, and his whole life passes from that point on in that room. And he has no sense of time. It just seems to happen as it does in the film.
There's always got to be reality in my films. Maybe it's the only way I can stop myself from going completely mad. It's the tension between reality and fantasy that is interesting, and that's why I don't like all the big Marvel movies. There are too many of them, they are dominating the industry, and everybody just wants to see the next one and go, ‘Well, there's the Hulk again.' It's horrible, but more importantly, there is no real physical reality to the films. There is no gravity, and gravity is everything. Things fall, and no matter how high you want to jump, you are always brought back down. On a technical level, these films are brilliant, and I find myself watching them from a distance because there is no real tension. There is no real threat. You just know they'll win somehow, or they'll win if the whole civilization doesn't collapse around them first. It's kind of like us in real life. The heroes in my films don't win, they survive.
I hope you watch [‘A Very English Scandal' ] with an understanding of why men were in the closet, how hard it was to be in the closet, to stay in the closet, what that meant for your family, to your wife, to your children. I think I could eulogize him. For all the wrong things he did, nonetheless as an icon of what those past days were and how they've improved, I think he's very important. I hope people now remember both Jeremy Thorpe and Norman Scott a bit more and recognize that in the constant struggle...
While the first “Sicario” may have not been the most sympathetic portrait of Mexicans, its ungainly titled sequel
[“Sicario: Day of the Soldado” ] feels like a piece of state-sanctioned propaganda, a MAGA-sploitation thriller that does not see humanity in our neighbors...
Some of my fellow critics reported people cheering the murder of Mexicans in the film, and it makes me wonder if we'll actually get to a point where even Fox News is outraged about the violent killing of Mexican law enforcement. Maybe not.
I've had people talk to me about Sicario as if it's a documentary. Someone just said to me: ‘Your movie has to do with the exact same thing that's going on right now [on the border]. You take a child and you separate her from her father.' I go: ‘What?' He says: ‘You separate the girl from the family.' I say: ‘No, no, I kidnap the girl. It's very different.'
I'm not completely comfortable with dramatizing people who are still alive and still living their lives because I think it's possible to be unfair. And in the second [season of "The Crown" ], I didn't think it was fair to Prince Philip, to the Duke of Edinburgh, based on very little...
Some of it was extrapolation from a rumor or someone's rather prejudiced account. And then it was presented as fact, and I'm not sure that's just.
I need to know for myself what things mean and what's going on. Sometimes I get ideas, and I don't know exactly what they mean. So I think about it, and try to figure it out, so I have an answer for myself... I don't ever explain it [ to audiences ]. Because it's not a word thing. It would reduce it, make it smaller... When you finish anything, people want you to then talk about it. And I think it's almost like a crime. A film or a painting – each thing is its own sort of language and it's not right to try to say the same thing in words. The words are not there. The language of film, cinema, is the language it was put into, and the English language – it's not going to translate. It's going to lose... [
A film or TV show is like a magic act ] and magicians don't tell how they did a thing.
As a result of the #TimesUp campaign, HBO for the first time has made women and men in lead role positions [equally paid]. I'm one of the actresses that benefited... When I first discovered how much they were offering it made me realise, ‘Oh my God, men have been paid so much more.' I had to have a big swallow of resentment. I gave it half an hour and then felt grateful. Every year I go into a new production or a new season of Westworld and I don't think to ask for more, I just feel so grateful to be working. But we need to expect more for ourselves.
The self-immolating Jack-Jack symbolizes a Millennial baby.
Am I saying I hate white dudes? No, I'm not … [but if] you make the movie that is a love letter to women of color, there is an insanely low chance a woman of color will have a chance to see your movie and review your movie...
[Audiences] are not allowed enough chances to read public discourse on these films by the people that the films were made for. I do not need a 40-year-old white dude to tell me what didn't work for him about ‘[A] Wrinkle in Time.' It wasn't made for him. I want to know what it meant to women of color, to biracial women, to teen women of color, to teens that are biracial.
[The next three ‘Star Wars' films] were going to get into a microbiotic world. There's this world of creatures that operate differently than we do. I call them the Whills. And the Whills are the ones who actually control the universe. They feed off the Force.
I needed a green card to work with Abel Ferrara [on his film The Blackout ] . I'd been convicted recently of possessing heroin and cocaine, and so this consul says: ‘You're not the kind of person we want in America.' He spoke to me disrespectfully. I said to him: ‘You don't speak to your wife like that, so don't speak to me like that.' And I slapped him. I was banned for seven years.
I write what I write because I'm a Christian. It informs everything I do. My father always taught me it's OK to laugh at the things you love. Part of "Preacher" is about interrogating faith. You can't do that stuff lightly. For a time the other writers would look at me across the table to see if I was gonna be offended but I never am. I'm happy to write about faith and God and get angry and deep. Let's pull it all apart and see what's lasting.
Steven Soderbergh, a visual director? Are you kidding? Give me an example of a great, visually memorable scene [from] Soderbergh or a silent sequence based on the staging…I saw an episode of ‘The Knick' and there is nothing that [impressed me visually].
Right around the time ‘Fruitvale Station' went down, I told my agents I didn't want to go out for any roles written for African Americans. I didn't want it. I wanted only white men. That's it. That's all I want to do. Me playing that role is going to make it what it is. I don't want any pre-bias on the character…Writers write what they know, what they think encounters with us would be, and that's slight bias...
I wanted to go out for these roles because it was just playing people.
My father was very difficult. We were not close. It's hard. I don't really talk about my father publicly, because there are a lot of people that really love him very, very much – his work as an actor. I don't want to disabuse them [of] their admiration.
I remember when someone asked Ian McKellen what he thought about the Brexit vote he said, “Queer people are internationalists.” We aren't about borders. We go to other countries and we feel a kinship with other queer people. It does force a universalist, international view of things, and the aliens in ["How to Talk to Girls at Parties" ] are really the opposite of queer. They're so insular that they're not even going to trouble the universe for resources. They're going to eat their own children until they decline. It's their natural form of attrition.
Film is a visual medium, and, if the task of literature is to stud the brain with quotations, cinema's job is to cram it with images which transcend story line and feed the need for myth. There are very few films which have done this. We are told by the French post-structuralists that the writer doesn't write: the writer is written, is controlled by the language he uses. And so Fritz Lang [in "Metropolis" ] was controlled by the limitations of black and white, by mocked-up urban landscapes which never pretended to be real, and probably by the strange ambiguous beauty of Brigitte Helm. The film was never meant to be propaganda. Lang admits that he was primarily fascinated by machines, above all perhaps by the huge machine which is the film-making complex.
Amid the horror of war, [ in
Saving Private Ryan (1998) ] Spielberg seems to be trying to rediscover American innocence, that Holy Grail that existed only in the Rousseau-esque imagination yet was virtually incorporated into the constitution. Spielberg, like other Hollywood directors of the time, came from a generation scarred by the moral quagmire of Vietnam. He understood the national need, in the post-cold war chaos, to reach back to more certain times, seeking reassurance from that moment in history – the second world war – when the fight seemed unequivocally right. “Tell me I've led a good life,” says the weeping veteran in the cemetery to his wife. “Tell me I'm a good man.”
When John Dexter, the director of M Butterfly, started shouting at everyone in the cast, Hopkins told him to stop. “I said, ‘John, you don't need to do this. You're a great director. Stop it.' And he cried. I mean, I understand if people are bullies. They've got their problems. I can't judge them, I won't make fun of them at awards. It's correct for women to stand up for themselves, because it's unacceptable. But I don't have a desire to dance on anyone's grave.”
In the new introduction [of the book, “Transcental Style in Film” ], [Paul] Schrader diagrams the larger movement by showing how well-known filmmakers move in three different directions as they push away from narrative. There are the “Surveillance Cam” filmmakers (Abbas Kiarostami), who emphasize capturing day-to-day reality. There is “Art Gallery,” cinema which is a move toward pure imagery: light and color, which can manifest itself in films that are abstract, or dream-like (Lynch). And the third direction is what Schrader refers to as Mandala, or “meditation” cinema, films that work on the viewer almost like a trance (Ozu).
I just wanted to make, you know, a good song. Something people could play on Fourth of July.
The broken love story in ‘A Star Is Born' kept haunting me. Shots kept coming into my head. I would dream about it. I realized I had to do it, whether it fails or not. I knew I had to try and I wound up absolutely loving it. You can't hide when you sing. The best way to express love is through singing and music. I knew if I could marry that in a way, it would be special.
It's so often that the people who are actually the best are the ones who are thrown out of drama school because they're idiosyncratic. They're peculiar. They don't fit any nicely tied-up box. In fact, they are the most interesting artists. I've known people who were thrown out of drama school for not conforming to what the school felt was going to be a viable option in the profession.