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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

November 28, 2012 at 10:59 AM

A chat with six great directors

I’ve been enjoying the Hollywood Reporter’s roundtable series (previously: six actors); this week, they’ve got six filmmakers sitting around chatting. And when those six are Gus Van Zant, Ben Affleck, Ang Lee, Quentin Tarantino, David O. Russell and Tom Hooper, some interesting things are going to get said. Such as a) Affleck says he worked with a “great actor” who “takes a Geiger counter and sees how radiated his wardrobe is” (ooh, who could that be?); b) Tarantino says he’s getting fed up with movies — specifically with digital projection, which he describes as “TV in public” — and may well soon turn to television miniseries; c) Hooper’s family told him there were pacing problems in “Les Miserables,” which the director says he has fixed; d) Tarantino says his favorite movie of last year was “Midnight in Paris.” You can read the whole thing here; and here’s an excerpt, in answer to the question “What is the weirdest or most interesting interaction you’ve had with a fan?”

Affleck: I had a letter from someone in China that said they were glad about what we did to the Japanese in Pearl Harbor. I wasn’t sure if they understood that it was a historical movie or what, or why they even watched the movie.
Van Sant: One executive wanted me to make a film about a bathroom attendant, which we wrote for him, and then —
Affleck: Three and a half hours. (Laughter.)
Van Sant: It was really about the Wall Street crash, actually, what we ended up writing. And then he didn’t do it.
Lee: Recently I was interviewed by this woman journalist. At the end, she said, “I want to see you doing Fifty Shades of Grey.” (Laughter.)
Russell: Since I just made a movie which has some bipolar behavior in it, I had someone write me a letter that said I should make a movie about a bipolar superhero, and the letter itself was bipolar because it was delusional. But it was halfway interesting. The motto of the superhero was, “I hate being bipolar, it’s awesome.” (Laughter.)
Tarantino: This young 14-year-old girl wrote a little synopsis for Kill Bill Vol. 3.
Affleck: Wow.
Tarantino: She wanted to play the daughter grown up, or at least at her age. And I actually read it. I called her and thanked her for it. I thought it was just so sweet that this little girl liked the movie so much that she continued the story herself. I always really hope that people take the story on themselves and take it to a different place and fill in the blanks that I didn’t tell them about.
Van Sant: We made a silent version of Restless, which was nice, because we did so many silent takes that we cut together a silent version.
Russell: Oh my gosh. Could have beat The Artist to the punch.
Affleck: It would have been very easy to do a silent version of the [Terrence] Malick movie I did [To the Wonder]. No one talked on set. (Laughter.)

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