Sam Mendes Interviews A-List Directors and Receives Amazing Answers
Sam Mendes, director of Skyfall and the upcoming Bond flick Spectre, is the guest-editor for Empire Magazine next month and in an actual, literal, beautiful move he decided to interview a bunch of my/your/our favorite A-list directors. Instead of shamelessly self-promoting the next bond flick, Mendes gave me something I'm actually interested in.
Below are some of my favorite questions/responses and if you're interested, you can read the whole thing here.
On Getting Angry on Set...
Paul Greengrass: Once, when I couldn’t work out how to shoot an eight-handed dialogue scene in the desert in the middle of the night. After I’d banged my head against a Humvee for ten minutes trying to work it out, I was fine and carried on!
Ang Lee: I only Hulked [get it because he directed one of the many Hulk movies, do you get it? do you?] out once.
Christopher Nolan: I once tried, but nobody seemed to notice, so I came back. [I really like this answer the most. The idea that someone wouldn't notice that Christopher Nolan was gone is something that astounds me.]
On Having Rules for the Crew...
Edgar Wright: I have my own monitor away from video village that is close to the camera. And I don’t like anyone standing behind me talking. So my main request every hour or so is to ask the AD to get the talkers away from me. No chit-chat about the football in my earshot please. [I love this because it really shows how serious Wright is about his craft. It's something that's inspiring to me, that he needs to pay 100% full attention to what he's doing while he's doing it.]
George Clooney: If anybody has a good idea, speak up. [The fact that George Clooney has that much trust in his team, is great. I usually have this idea that famous people aren't humble but this just proves me wrong.]
Steven Soderbergh: No open-toed shoes [Ha!]
On Advice from Another Director...
Sophia Coppola: My dad told me, “Your movie’s never as good as the dailies and never as bad as the rough cut.”
David Fincher: Scorsese once told me, “The things you do poorly are as much a part of your style as the things you do well...” Which was totally true, and oddly reassuring.
Paul Greengrass: Before I made my first film, having previously worked only in documentaries, I went to see Roger Michell, an old university friend, and by then a hugely experienced and brilliant theatre and film director. He gave me a wonderful piece of advice. He said, “Never touch an actor.” By which he meant — don’t guide an actor. Don’t corral an actor. Don’t decide in advance where they should go. On the contrary, always listen to them. Always let them lead you. Always try to clarify their instincts. Because your actors will always be your best guide to the truth.
Geez, Sam Mendes, way to do a really cool thing for us cinephiles. Even though I'm vocally opposed to watching Spectre when it comes out next month, I think I just might end up seeing it.
Why? 'Cause I like ya, I never thought you'd make me like ya, Mendes. But by god, I do now. I swear, I do.