Interviews from Post Script
Publication Year: 2004
Published by: State University of New York Press
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In 1978, about a dozen colleges and university instructors interested in film and fiction participated in a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar at The Johns Hopkins University. The seminar was directed by Leo Braudy (now of the University of Southern California) and focused on how character is presented in fiction and film. ...
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This collection would not be possible without the assistance of those who agreed to be interviewed and the individuals who did the interviewing and submitted the material to us for our consideration. The name that appears most frequently in this anthology is Ric Gentry, a member of the Post Script staff and a filmmaker and freelance writer. To Ric and to the others whose contributions have graced our pages—Leo Braudy, Robert Kolker, Mark Crispin Miller, ...
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The interviews in this collection bring together major Hollywood directors and actors, independent filmmakers, screenwriters, an animator, a film editor, and several international voices. Even with this diversity and interviews that cover filmmaking in the last two decades, several motifs repeat themselves: the concern for quality films, the influence of business (“the suits”) and money on filmmaking, the importance of the script, casting, and audience, and technology’s impact on the filmmaking process. ...
PART I: Hollywood Voices
1. Robert Altman
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The following interview took place after a screening of Health (1980) and McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1972) in Baltimore, Maryland, on March 28, 1981. The screenings and discussion were sponsored by the Maryland Film Guild and funded in part by the Maryland Committee for the Humanities. The interview was conducted and moderated by Professors Leo Braudy, then of Johns Hopkins University, now of the University ...
2. Francis Ford Coppola
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Francis Coppola is an ardent advocate of new audiovisual forms and technology. While he directs such mainstream films as Peggy Sue Got Married  and, more recently, Gardens of Stone , Coppola nevertheless proceeds to invest time and money in promoting video and, ultimately, in an entirely new, largely electronic means of production for storytelling. And he makes no bones ...
3. Sydney Pollack
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The following comments by director Sydney Pollack were made in Baltimore, Maryland, in May 1983, after a screening of Tootsie and They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? The exchange, including questions from the audience, was moderated by Leo Braudy, then of Johns Hopkins University, now of the University of Southern California, and Mark Crispin Miller, then of Johns Hopkins University, now of New York University. ...
4. Clint Eastwood
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Clint Eastwood frequently refers to an aspiration for “realism” in his films. He was attracted to Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil  because it was about “real people, people whose differences make them interesting.” Savannah, where the film is situated, is depicted “realistically, as if a character in the story.” The actors and the camera perform in tandem to capture “immediacy and spontaneity,” discovering rather than imposing a view on the film. ...
5. Oliver Stone
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Writer-director Oliver Stone was in the final weeks of postproduction on Nixon when this interview was conducted. Under unavoidable pressure, appearing a bit weary, Stone was nevertheless spirited, buoyant, and often jovial, prone to laughing frequently and heartily, including at some of his own foibles. In retrospect, I have the impression that he welcomed the opportunity to emerge from prolonged, intense work on the film to begin reflecting on its processes as well ...
PART II: Independent Voices
6. Barbara Hammer
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Filmmaker Barbara Hammer’s Tender Fictions (1995) and Nitrate Kisses (1992) work to re/construct lesbian autobiographies and histories. Both are highly experimental feature films that interweave archival footage with personal documentary evidence of lost and found lesbian history. Since the late 1960s, Hammer has been making personal films which combine the evocative and the performative in a haunting blend of images and sound in a style which is ...
7. Robert Downey Sr.
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On March 3rd, 2001, I had the opportunity to talk once again with Robert Downey Sr., the father of actor Robert Downey Jr. and a gifted filmmaker in his own right. I first met Robert during the spring of 1969, when his film Putney Swope (1969) was a breakout hit and he was finishing up postproduction on Pound (1970), a film that unhappily never received the attention or distribution it deserved. I was working as a writer for Life magazine at the time, ...
8. Don Bluth
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The following interview was conducted with director Don Bluth on May 28, 1982. After joining Disney Studios in 1971, Don Bluth animated studio releases such as Robin Hood (1973) and Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too (1974). He was promoted to directing animator for The Rescuers (1977) and director of animation for Pete’s Dragon (1977). Dissatisfied with the creative direction being taken ...
9. Jamie Babbit
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Jamie Babbit’s But I’m a Cheerleader (1999) was one of the breakout independent film hits of the 1999–2000 season. Babbit, a surprisingly assured thirty-year-old from Cleveland, Ohio, came to filmmaking though amateur theater, and went on to direct a series of short films, including Frog Crossing (1996) and Sleeping Beauties (1999), before making her debut as a feature director with Cheerleader. ...
PART III: International Voices
10. Paul Verhoeven
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Paul Verhoeven appeared twice on the Ball State University campus, in November 1990 in conjunction with the university’s opening of an exchange with Groningen University in the Netherlands, and in September 1992 to join Millard Fuller, Bette Bao Lord, Terry Waite, Dennis Weaver, James Burke, and others as a “UniverCitizen” in the award-winning UniverCity project. In 1990 he had just ...
11. Stephen Frears
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“You obviously expected a somewhat younger man,” chided Stephen Frears as he gently shook my hand. “Everybody does.” He was right. I suspiciously surveyed the rather scruffy middle-aged man who stood before me on the steps of the Syracuse University London Centre. Dressed in a rumpled brown corduroy jacket and a pair of baggy gray pants, his hair disheveled and waistline creeping over his belt buckle, Frears knew precisely what I was thinking: where was the fire-breathing ...
12. Atom Egoyan
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When talking about the differences between the classic English Canadian and Qu
13. Louis Malle
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The following comments by director Louis Malle (My Dinner with Andr
PART IV: Behind—and in—the Scenes
14. James Woods
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James Woods has become what he initially aspired to be, “a great actor.” It’s not that he’s won countless awards—Emmys, Golden Globes, Academy Award nominations— but that he invariably creates riveting, complex, idiosyncratic, wholly credible characters with fathomless emotional depth: the disenfranchised journalist in Salvador (1986); the aging Southern gentleman assassin in Ghosts of ...
15. Dede Allen
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Outside of the industry itself, very few motion picture editors experience much recognition. Of these, Dede Allen is by far the best known. She credits much of this to her association with the great directors she’s worked with, many of whom were lionized as “auteurs” in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s; for her contributions to an industry almost entirely dominated by men at the time; and because ...
16. Vittorio Storaro
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British cinematographer and Oscar winner John Alcott recently remarked to me that Vittorio Storaro’s Reds (1981) was “the most beautifully textured film ever made.” Haskell Wexler, a multi-Academy Award winner for cinematography, said to me that Storaro’s Agatha (1979) was “a beautifully lit film. The pinnacle of what can be done in our profession with light.” ...
17. Horton Foote
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Previous interviews and articles, though often mistaken in details, have established the general patterns of Horton Foote’s career. They have emphasized, for example, his childhood in Gulf Coast Texas, his use of Texas landscape and history, and his work as an actor (in California and New York) throughout the 1930s. Later in that decade, as he has explained, Foote began writing as an exercise for Mary Hunter Wolf, and with the support of Agnes De Mille, at the ...
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Page Count: 362
Illustrations: 17 b/w photographs
Publication Year: 2004
Series Title: SUNY series, Cultural Studies in Cinema/Video (discontinued)
Series Editor Byline: Wheeler Winston Dixon