Author Topic: Guardian PTA interview: "I can be a real arrogant brat&  (Read 2933 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

neatahwanta

  • The Meeting with the Goddess
  • ***
  • Posts: 321
  • Respect: +1
Guardian PTA interview: "I can be a real arrogant brat&
« on: January 27, 2003, 03:05:16 PM »
0
http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/features/story/0,11710,883056,00.html

'I can be a real arrogant brat'
Will film-maker Paul Thomas Anderson ever cool down?

Xan Brooks
Monday January 27, 2003
The Guardian

Standing in his hotel kitchenette, Paul Thomas Anderson veers between the conciliatory and the combative. On the one hand, he's truly sorry to have kept me waiting around today. And on the other he's really not, "because, y'know, these interviews make me feel like a fucking asshole. They can't be good for my soul. The whole thing just isn't natural, is it?" He fixes me with a bug-eyed stare. "You want coffee? I don't want coffee, I'm too wired to drink coffee. Wine? I could do with some wine." And he stoops to fish a bottle from the fridge.

Two minutes in, I understand why Anderson claims that the hero of his latest film, Punch-Drunk Love, is largely autobiographical. As played by Adam Sandler, lowly Barry Egan is a clown with anger management issues. Henpecked by his seven sisters, he responds by kicking out a picture window. Flustered during a dinner date, he excuses himself in order to smash up the bathroom. Anderson - slender, cerebral, a boyish 33 - says he's a lot like that himself, prone to temper tantrums and hailing from a large family (three siblings, four half-siblings) where he had to scrap for his space. He reckons such behaviour has served him well during a vibrant Hollywood career. "You have to be a brat in order to carve out your parameters, and you have to be a monster to anyone who gets in your way. But sometimes it's difficult to know when that's necessary and when you're just being a baby, throwing your rattle from the cage. So I can be a real arrogant, bratty prick at times. But maybe not so much now," he says. "Really."

Anderson's two previous films - Boogie Nights and Magnolia - were works of huge ambition for one so young: teeming, multi-layered ensemble pieces. But Punch-Drunk Love is something else again. It's short (90 minutes), sharp and altogether unstable; a nail-bomb in the guise of a romantic comedy. The director has described it as "an art-house Adam Sandler movie", which only begins to pin down its unique pedigree. Sandler, of course, is best known as the gurning putz from such mainstream outings as Big Daddy and The Wedding Singer. But Anderson has somehow flushed out a darker, more dysfunctional side to the clown's persona.

So on the one hand Anderson's film is brilliant: wired with jittery emotions and threatening to break off in any direction. And on the other it's possibly just too abrasive for comfort. "Yeah, but I guess that's what I like in films myself," he explains between slugs of wine. "I really subscribe to that old adage that you should never let the audience get ahead of you for a second. So if the film's abrasive and wrongfoots people then, y'know, that's great. But I hope it involves an audience. If not, that's my fuck-up."

I suspect, however, that he doesn't believe this for a moment. For a start, Anderson does not strike you as the type to doubt his own abilities. The pared-down Punch-Drunk Love is actually just as thought-through and refined as Magnolia. The film already sounded fully conceived three years ago, when Anderson presumptuously told interviewers that his next project would star Adam Sandler and clock in at 90 minutes. The director lights up when I remind him of this. "I did pretty good, huh?"

But today he's being more wary with his predictions. "Well I'd really love to work with Robert De Niro," he says vaguely, "because he's still the most talented actor out there. Maybe he makes some bad choices, which can be frustrating. On the one hand, you want to say, 'What the fuck's going on?' On the other, you can't get mad at him for wanting to work, because most actors would be murderers if they weren't working." He drains his glass and eyes the depleted bottle. "But I don't know what film I'm going to make next. I don't have much of a roadmap right now."

Then again, Anderson has never steered the conventional route. A rowdy kid, he was kicked out of junior high and later despaired of ever making movies. After graduation, he rattled from community college to Boston University to New York film school before bailing out to raise funds for his first movie. The result was Hard Eight, a modern-day noir starring Philip Baker Hall, John C Reilly and a pre-stardom Gwyneth Paltrow.

But hanging over this eccentric career path is the shadow of Anderson's father, who died in 1997. Ernie Anderson was, variously, a links man at American TV network ABC and "the ghost host Ghoulardi", a costumed presenter who introduced horror films on a local station in Cleveland. The trouble was that Ernie really wanted to be an actor, and never quite got the breaks. Or as Anderson puts it: "He was a bad actor, so he never really made it." Surely that's a little harsh. "No, he was bad," the director insists.

You can't help wondering if Anderson's career isn't driven, in part, by his dad's failed ambitions. Certainly it would explain the preponderance of flawed father figures in his films, be it hangdog Baker Hall, Burt Reynolds's porn producer in Boogie Nights or Jason Robards's dying patriarch in Magnolia. Off-screen, too, Anderson appears to have sought out a surrogate dad in Robert Altman, the white-bearded maverick of US movies.

Most hotshot young directors go to great lengths to conceal their influences. Anderson makes no such effort. His Magnolia is nakedly Altmanesque in style, while the one song featured in Punch-Drunk Love (Shelley Duvall's sugary rendition of He Needs Me) is lifted straight from his idol's most notorious folly. "Oh yeah, Magnolia is obviously influenced by Nashville, and He Needs Me comes from Popeye. And that's fine. If people want to call me Little Bobbie Altman, then I have no problem with that at all. He's always been a big influence. Almost him as a man more than his movies. Just his fucking spark, y'know. And I've had the privilege to hang around with him a lot, and it's good to see him still angry. Still throwing punches."

It transpires that Anderson was in close contact with Altman during last year's controversy, when Altman lashed out at Bush's policies only to find himself demonised as an anti-American and harried by the right-wing press. "I think that bugged him out," Anderson says. "And I think it hurt him too. Because he's a curmudgeon, but he's also very sensitive. The whole thing was crazy. There were death threats, and that's a bit scary. But then they were also sending him pizzas." For a moment I think I must have misheard. Pizzas? Anderson nods vigorously. "Oh yeah. Oliver North gave out his address and phone number and said, 'Call up Bob Altman and give him a piece of your mind.' But their big act of aggression was to send him pizzas that he had to pay for. So all these pro-Americans were sending pizzas." By now Anderson is spluttering with laughter. "Like, are we in high school or what? I mean, what else were they doing? Making crank calls? Ringing up and asking: 'Is Mike Hunt there?' Lighting a bag of dog-shit on his porch? The fucking morons."

The director collects himself and eyes me, somewhat blearily, over his wine glass. "But that's funny, huh?" he says. "Isn't it funny?" And, a little bleary myself, I assure him that yes, it is indeed funny. Actually, I'm torn. On the one hand the notion of American patriots waging a pizza war on Robert Altman is highly amusing. And on the other there's something faintly disturbing about it. Rather like Punch-Drunk Love, in fact. Rather like the man who made it, too.

· Punch-Drunk Love is released on February 7.

neatahwanta

  • The Meeting with the Goddess
  • ***
  • Posts: 321
  • Respect: +1
Guardian PTA interview: "I can be a real arrogant brat&
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2003, 03:20:50 PM »
0
My only comment would be: I love pizza.

Jeremy Blackman

  • Admin
  • *****
  • Posts: 10868
  • Respect: +1278
Guardian PTA interview: "I can be a real arrogant brat&
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2003, 03:33:07 PM »
0
For a moment I think I must have misheard. Pizzas? Anderson nods vigorously. "Oh yeah. Oliver North gave out his address and phone number and said, 'Call up Bob Altman and give him a piece of your mind.' But their big act of aggression was to send him pizzas that he had to pay for. So all these pro-Americans were sending pizzas." By now Anderson is spluttering with laughter. "Like, are we in high school or what? I mean, what else were they doing? Making crank calls? Ringing up and asking: 'Is Mike Hunt there?' Lighting a bag of dog-shit on his porch? The fucking morons."

"most actors would be murderers if they weren't working"


Great stuff..  :D
"Hunger is the purest sin"

Satcho9

  • The Vision Quest
  • **
  • Posts: 262
  • Respect: 0
    • Sloblogdon Blogosovich
Guardian PTA interview: "I can be a real arrogant brat&
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2003, 03:57:19 PM »
0
Finally, A decent PTA article, leave it to the UK.

Pwaybloe

  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
  • Posts: 1216
  • Respect: +31
Guardian PTA interview: "I can be a real arrogant brat&
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2003, 04:18:57 PM »
0
Quote from: Satcho9
Finally, A decent PTA article, leave it to the UK.


That's the truth.  An American article would read something like this:

Entertainment Tonight: Tonight we have with us Paul Thomas Anderson, director of Boogie Nights and Magnolia.  Thanks for talking with us!
PTA: Yeah.

ET: So, what was it like working with that hilarious guy Adam Sandler, star of The Waterboy and Billy Madison?  Was he a riot?  Ha Haw!
PTA: Great.

ET: What exactly makes Love to be Punch-Drunk?
PTA: What?

ET: What was it like working in Hawaii?  Did Emily Watson, star of Gosford Park and Red Dragon, try to work on her tan?
PTA: Sure.

ET: So Paul, we here rumors about you and Feisty-Diva Fiona Apple tying the knot!  Any upcoming wedding plans?  
PTA: No.

ET: Well, let's hope you don't make another fashion feux-pas this time coming to the Academy Awards!  Hee Hee!  Was the suit Versace?
PTA: ...

ET: Well, thanks for talking with us Paul, or as his friends call him: PTA!  Haw ha!  Back to you, Mary!
PTA: Zzzz.

Jeremy Blackman

  • Admin
  • *****
  • Posts: 10868
  • Respect: +1278
Guardian PTA interview: "I can be a real arrogant brat&
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2003, 04:23:18 PM »
0
Someone write an imagined script for an E! interview. Now.
"Hunger is the purest sin"

Satcho9

  • The Vision Quest
  • **
  • Posts: 262
  • Respect: 0
    • Sloblogdon Blogosovich
Guardian PTA interview: "I can be a real arrogant brat&
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2003, 04:30:06 PM »
0
Jules Asner: I am here with the Director of such hits as Resident Evil and Event Horizon, Paul Timothy Anderson

PTA: GO fuck yourself!

Jules Asner: Thaaaanks!

PTA storms out of the room, Jules grows stupider...

Duck Sauce

  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
  • Posts: 1986
  • Respect: +4
Re: Guardian PTA interview: "I can be a real arrogant b
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2003, 06:03:43 PM »
0
Quote from: neatahwanta

But today he's being more wary with his predictions. "Well I'd really love to work with Robert De Niro


I fucking knew it! De Niro, PTA and Pacino in 2004. Now he just has to get his shit together and write something!  :D


Oh and the American interview would be so phony and be by somebody who has only seen Boogie Nights because they love disco and would as such questions as "Why does Adam Sandler travel the world with ff miles earned from pudding!?"

neatahwanta

  • The Meeting with the Goddess
  • ***
  • Posts: 321
  • Respect: +1
Guardian PTA interview: "I can be a real arrogant brat&
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2003, 07:01:22 PM »
0
I find this quote interesting:

"But I don't know what film I'm going to make next. I don't have much of a roadmap right now."

Its refreshing to see someone admit that they don't have some grand plan for the future.  It probably helps with the creative process...not to be restricted early on.

©brad

  • Admin
  • *****
  • Posts: 4509
  • Respect: +221
Guardian PTA interview: "I can be a real arrogant brat&
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2003, 03:34:48 AM »
0
I find it really interesting that PTA has hung out a lot with Altman. I didn't even know if they knew eachother officially. Would love to hear Altman's thoughts on PTA's films, since Altman is a tough critic. (remember reading an article during 1999 Oscars, or 2000 maybe in which he talked over length on how much he hated American Beauty)

Pubrick

  • Admin
  • *****
  • Posts: 12170
  • Lynchian identity mystery
  • Respect: +769
Guardian PTA interview: "I can be a real arrogant brat&
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2003, 03:47:59 AM »
0
the other one is better, prolly the best ever.

when doves cry, man, when doves cry..
endless 'nothing is what it seems'-isms

neatahwanta

  • The Meeting with the Goddess
  • ***
  • Posts: 321
  • Respect: +1
Guardian PTA interview: "I can be a real arrogant brat&
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2003, 10:40:01 AM »
0
Quote from: P
the other one is better, prolly the best ever.


Yeah, I didn't even see that story 'til last evening.  I got the Guardian heads up through different channels.

Gold Trumpet

  • The Master of Three Worlds
  • *****
  • Posts: 5770
  • Respect: +153
Guardian PTA interview: "I can be a real arrogant brat&
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2003, 11:08:43 AM »
0
I wish I would have heard of Oliver North actually giving out Altman's phone number, I would have called and asked some questions from him on movies. That would have been great.

~rougerum

RegularKarate

  • Admin
  • *****
  • Posts: 6048
  • Respect: +204
    • http://www.livejournal.com/users/regularkarate/
Guardian PTA interview: "I can be a real arrogant brat&
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2003, 12:30:10 PM »
0
Man, that other article is great.  Makes him looked like he's bonkers on coke.

I love this:

"Flustered, I ask if he's really going to do a Boogie Nights 2? Anderson claps his hands. "Julianne Moore stripping again. All right!" Then, with perfect timing, "No. I would never want to do that.""

Duck Sauce

  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
  • Posts: 1986
  • Respect: +4
Guardian PTA interview: "I can be a real arrogant brat&
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2003, 01:33:34 PM »
0
Yeah this one is awesome. The UK knows how to interview....
I like this line "Very few people in America went to see Punch-Drunk Love."

Score another one for the US  :roll:

 

DMCA & Copyright | Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy