Has anyone here ever met PTA? Tell us your stories....

Started by Marty McSuperfly, January 10, 2003, 03:22:58 AM

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Duck Sauce


Not really relevant to this thread but I would guess after 20 years of Q&A's and screenings and things, PTA just doesn't want to spend all his time talking to fanboys. Figure he's had about a billion of more or less the same interaction and probably at some point just decided he'd rather cut down on it. So he sneaks in and out of stuff now cause he doesn't really wanna hang out with a bunch of awkward 20/30-something film nerds gushing over him. In my experience, he's always been super friendly but I've also seen him dash for the exits and I totally get why.
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.


It sounds like PTA wrote to that guy at 15, signed his Magnolia screenplay and posed for a photo. What more does he want - blood?!

I don't think he owes anyone anything and to get your nose out of joint over something like that and say you won't watch his films anymore - even films you already love - is ludicrous. Sure, everyone deserves respect. But maybe PTA deserves more respect than to be hounded by crazy fan boys he'd rather not deal with. He's being polite - he doesn't give a shit about you and sometimes that mask slips - he doesn't know you and has no reason to want to engage. Also learn to separate the art from the artist - if it was about being a nice guy Kevin Smith would be one of the best directors ever. But it's not and the majority of his films suck (partly due to fan service). Never meet your heroes I guess. Just appreciate the work.

None of this changes the amazing work he's made and continues to make.



Jeremy Blackman

I find no reason to excuse PTA's behavior in that case. Dropping the pen in that way seems especially cruel. He owes his fans a base level of respect. If he really hates dealing with them for too long, maybe just say "sorry guys I have to run, thanks for coming."


Felt the need to jump in here rather randomly, but I saw him in Brooklyn this past August introducing a few Demme screenings and moderating some Q and As (I attended each day of course) and my experience of him there stands exactly opposite of the behavior alleged above. He could not have been more gracious, polite, appreciative, or giving of his time. Seriously, there was a line snaking outside the screening room consisting of fans wanting to get pics, autographs, give him gifts, etc., and he stood and talked to each person with a huge smile on his face the entire time. So, maybe NYFF nerves and a palpably divided reaction to Vice contributed to his alleged prickliness? I was also at the NYFF Vice screening a few years back and he seemed really jazzed and thrilled to be there so...I dunno....


It is very possible that the person writing this comment was pissed that the meaningful note he received from PTA was nothing important for him and then saw him dropping a pen by accident as an asshole move. Or it was an asshole move. Well. I have no conclusion to make about this.


It makes me think of how Franzen was angry at the way people were creating the image of a saint for David Foster Wallace—because he wasn't. And Wallace was his friend. (He was also angry because his friend killed himself.) Like for PTA, the assholeness of Wallace is present in the books, but it is elevated because it isn't human behavior anymore but included in fiction/characters/themes. But we are used to celebrate the artists as good human beings when they do good art—more so in show business and in Hollywood.

I had a friendly what with Matthew Weiner (and he was very friendly with everyone), but I knew he could be a bully in a working environment. (Once again: you can also see how it made it into Mad Men.)

Jeremy Blackman

I really do think an artist should feel obligated to have respect for their fans. But failing to live up to that doesn't diminish their work for me. I try not to deify my favorite artists. And in many cases, those flaws might be a core part of their work, in the way Wilder described. (Post of the month btw.)

You could make a similar argument about LVT's flaws being integral to his work. And I guess I tried to in that thread. In other more egregious cases, maybe not so much.


Having a little bit of experience of film festivals from the filmmaker's perspective on a small scale (and having friends who have had the experience on a larger scale), I would never presume to judge a person's character from one interaction, or even a series of interactions, in that type of setting. You're generally operating on little sleep, often immediately after travelling, you're already physically and emotionally drained from that final push to get the movie in a finished state, you don't always have time to eat when you should, you compensate for your exhaustion with as much caffeine as you can get your hands on, you're being pulled in every direction, your attention is constantly being demanded from multiple sides at once... a person would have to be a literal saint to get through it without ever getting curt or abrupt or laughing at the wrong thing or inadvertently causing offense to someone who may or may not have any reasonable right to be offended. For anyone who leans to the introverted side of the fence, it's an utterly overwhelming experience, and I can't imagine one you ever get fully used to.

That's not to say he's not a dick. Maybe he is a dick! But I would be unable to vote guilty in a court of dickishness based solely on that testimony.
My house, my rules, my coffee


It's disappointing to read that guy's comment and from the looks of his twitter he actually does interact with a fair few industry people.
Having said that who knows how we'd react if we were in PTA's position. Im not excusing him being a dick but from the sounds of his behaviour it sounds like he's being consumed by a big ball of stress and anxiety and maybe add in a shitty nights sleep and you get someone trying to get from point A to point B in a foul mood with people trying to stop him every 5 seconds. I know what happens when Im stressed and I can be a fucking asshole but Im a nice person most of the time. Who knows?

I just joined the forum, I've lurked for a long time and have always enjoyed people's insights. I dont have a PTA encounter but I do have a weird Daniel Day Lewis encounter. It was August a year ago and myself and two friends went hiking in the mountains of County Wicklow, Ireland (it's the county south of Dublin). DDL has lived there for years, as has John Boorman, it's quite literally Zardoz territory. We were about 90 minutes into our hike which was this winding trail that climbed a mountain through various forests. We hadnt encountered any other hikers in about 40 minutes when suddenly these two sasquatch like figures appeared from a higher up trail, staggering their feet to stop themselves running anymore downhill. Then as they started walking towards us, in the middle of fucking nowhere, I realised, it was Daniel Day Lewis. As we passed each other we all just did the regular hiker thing and exchanged a polite "hello". He was with his kid and we were walking fast in opposite directions so I didnt want to bother him. At the time I would have really liked to ask him what was going on with him and PTA  since there was a report around that time that they were reuniting for a fashion project. Ultimately it didnt matter, we all got the good news later that year. Anyway that's my story, I encountered DDL halfway up a mountain, I chose not to bother him and in that one hello he seemed like a nice guy!

Fuzzy Dunlop

Quote from: wilder on November 09, 2017, 02:24:38 PM
I remember someone here describing a Q&A after an early screening of Punch-Drunk at a college, someone asking a predictably awful meandering question, and PT making fun of him for laughs. This isn't unique to PT, screenings are usually full of film nerds with subpar social skills trying to prove to their heroes how smart they are with their questions or why they're special, but, you know, you can shut someone down without being an ass, too.

I think that may have been me, asking about why he switched editors at NYFF, which, I'm sure I was stuttering and trying to sound smart or whatever, and he wasn't being a dick, he just kinda made a joke as if the question I was asking was "Did you switch editors to make the film shorter than your last one?".

Or maybe you're referring to another screening of PDL where a dude asked a really really weird question about the frogs that Paul kind of deflected, and then said to the next audience member "Youre not gonna be weird too, are you?" Fun Xixax historical anectdote: That's also the origin of the username AntiDumbFrogQuestion.

I mean let's be honest, most Q&A questions are fucking terrible, and its nerve-wracking enough to be on stage to begin with, even when you're getting good questions, so I really don't see an issue with PTA cracking jokes about it.

I've met him in person at these events a few times over the years and he's generally just seemed sort of stressed about the screening and not super into chatting it up with a bunch of strangers that feel as if they have some special connection to him, or that he owes them something. Which is totally fine. He's an artist, not a star. And the art he makes is edgy, and challenging, and often about difficult people, and there's really no reason to expect him to treat fans like he's Tom Hanks or Keanu Reeves or whatever.

They say never meet your heroes, but as I get older, the idea of having heroes is kind of fucking weird, anyway. And the idea of trying to make saints of deeply flawed creative types is kind of stupid. Isn't it enough to just love someone's work? Why do we have to indulge this fantasy that maybe if we get to meet them they'll think we're cool and end up being our best friend? Does that make his films any better? As far as I'm concerned, he can be as prickly as he wants as long as he keeps making dope shit.

EDIT: Also holy shit going back to the beginning of this thread is insane. So much drama and weird posturing back in the early days after the exodus from C&RV. Someone oughta write a book.



I love Paul's movies but I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if that YT comment is representative of a lot of his behaviour IRL. It doesn't really bother me, the separation between the idealised artist and the man is something I came to terms with at a pretty young age.


I can seperate the art from the artist no problem. I think the issue is more so that PTA presents himself in press situations as this mild mannered, soft spoken, polite cool guy and then by these accounts CAN be a collosal asshole to his fans.

Yeah he doesnt owe anybody anything but I'd rather there be no fascade. The way people are describing these encounters sounds reminiscent of the time an interviewer asked him the leading question of whether Tom Cruise had been shown The Master. PT got understandably vicious but save that shit for people who deserve it, not people who enjoy your work and like you.