XIXAX Film Forum

The Director's Chair => The Director's Chair => Topic started by: MacGuffin on April 17, 2013, 11:23:14 PM

Title: William Friedkin
Post by: MacGuffin on April 17, 2013, 11:23:14 PM
The Exorcist Director William Friedkin Tells All in His No-Bullshit Memoir
By Paul Teetor; LA Weekly

Hollywood heavy hitters normally wait until they're out of the film game to write their memoirs. That way they can settle scores and write the first draft of their cinematic history without severing relationships they still need.

Not William Friedkin. Still going strong at 77, the director is releasing his tell-it-like-it-was memoir, The Friedkin Connection, in the middle of a late-career renaissance. Horror-thriller Bug (2006) and Killer Joe (2011) garnered some of the best reviews of his 50-year career. Killer Joe, a critical darling slapped with an NC-17 rating, would have done even better at the box office had Friedkin given in to the rating board's demands that he trim some of the Southern-fried depravity surrounding Matthew McConaughey's police detective with a side career as a contract killer.

Friedkin's against-all-odds success story is compelling reading from the start. He was raised in the white slums of Chicago by Jewish immigrants from the Ukraine; his mother was a saint who kept him away from the neighborhood toughs; his father a semi-pro baseball player turned clothing salesman. Inspired by Citizen Kane to become a director but with no money for college, Friedkin started working in the mailroom of TV station WGN. Within a couple of years he was directing live TV, and soon his documentary about a convicted murderer, The People vs. Paul Crump, won several awards and contributed to the commutation of Crump's death sentence.

Lured to Hollywood, Friedkin made The French Connection, which brought a gritty sense of cinema veritť to what could have been a conventional police procedural. It won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor (Gene Hackman) and Best Director, catapulting him into the New Hollywood stratosphere. When he followed it up with one of the all-time box office champs, The Exorcist, all of his worst qualities ó arrogance, abrasiveness, obsessiveness ó were in full bloom. He thought he had found the magic formula, but this time it produced Sorcerer, a dark, relentless film that came out the same week as Star Wars, a popcorn film that crushed Sorcerer at the box office and signaled the end of the serious, morally curious films that Friedkin specialized in. The project drained his energy and killed his mojo ó "my hardest shoot ever," he says ó and led to a long period of decline and despair before a comeback that began with To Live and Die in L.A. (1985).

A notorious womanizer, Friedkin had three failed marriages ó to L.A. newscaster Kelly Lange, French actress Jeanne Moreau and British actress Lesley-Anne Down ó before finding lasting love with actress-turnedĖstudio mogul Sherry Lansing in 1991.

L.A. WEEKLY: Why wouldn't you make the changes to Killer Joe requested by the ratings board?

WILLIAM FRIEDKIN: Fuck them where they breathe. I gave them 17 seconds, but they bounced it right back for more. So I said the hell with it, that's it, that's the picture.

Why do you say luck and ambition are just as important as talent in Hollywood?

Ambition is probably more important than luck and talent. A lot of the people directing movies today, writing them and even big stars, they're more lucky and ambitious than talented. I've seen great films at festivals, people have sent me great DVDs and emails, I see very talented people out there that are not going to get a shot. Maybe one out of 20 will get a shot.

Tougher to handle: success or failure?

Failure is tougher to handle, in spite of a lot of guys that would like to say otherwise. Failure is more difficult because you often don't know why it happened or what you can do about it. Success is easier because you just ride the wave.

Steve McQueen loved the script for Sorcerer and said he would do it if you filmed it closer to L.A. or if you gave Ali McGraw a producer's job so she could be on location with him. Should you have accommodated McQueen's requests?

Without a doubt. That was the biggest fuck-up I ever committed. I was arrogant and stupid and didn't accede to his requests, which I would have done today.

Why are you able to still make films that matter, when so many of your peers are either dead or long out of the film business?

One reason ó it's the God's honest truth ó is that I have never tried any kind of drug or narcotics. Never even smoked grass.

Did many of your peers destroy themselves with substance abuse?

Many did. The most important thing you need to direct a move is stamina. Your brain can't be scrambled. There's a lot of stuff out there today that looks like it was made by scrambled brains.

You've been happily married to Sherry Lansing for 22 years, but you chose not to write about your three failed marriages and all the other women you were with before Sherry. Why not?

No one is interested in that. I'm not a sex symbol. I actually wrote all that stuff, but I looked at the whole book and thought, this is going to trip people up. They did not end well and I didn't want to be in a position to either lay blame or accept blame. I also wrote about casual, one-night affairs with famous people, but then I didn't want to tarnish their memory.

The French Connection won the Oscar and The Exorcist didn't, but The Exorcist became a part of American pop culture. Why?

It resonates with people on a far deeper level because it deals with the mystery of faith. French Connection is a good thriller, a damn good story with interesting characters, but Exorcist is about the mystery of life and faith. Even atheists are interested in that.

What caused your heart attack at 41?

Deep-dish pizza from Chicago and hot dogs from everywhere. I consumed more hot dogs than Wimpy did hamburgers.

You say Al Pacino was always late to the set of Cruising and unprepared with his lines. That'll be a shock to fans who consider him a great craftsman.

It's no skin off my ass. That's the truth. I tried to write the book as honestly as I could. Once I agreed to do it, I decided not to bullshit anybody. I was going to tell things the way I remembered them and how I felt about them.

You tell the story of fighting back against Joel the bully as a kid, so why did you resort to bullying so often to get your way on film sets?

Be specific.

I don't have it right in front of me, but ...

Well, fuck you ó you want me to name the times I was a bully?

Are you saying you never bullied anybody on your sets?

Absolutely not. Are you talking about the handful of occasions I slapped someone to get a performance? Read Sidney Lumet's autobiography and he discusses doing that. I know that Hitchcock did that and John Ford did it. No one did it constantly, nor would you do it to every actor you work with.

You say your mother sacrificed her life for you and is responsible for whatever goodness is in you. What goodness is in you?

Oh, fuck that. My mother taught me ó and my wife underscores constantly ó don't brag on yourself.

You admit to risking lives to get that great chase in The French Connection. Why do that?

I would not do that again, but I did in my youth. I was sort of fearless and I also had faith. Fortunately, by the grace of God, no one got hurt in my films.

You admit that after The French Connection and The Exorcist, you were overtaken by a sense of entitlement and hubris. In hindsight, how should you have handled that kind of overwhelming success?

I should have been more compassionate.

You sometimes cultivated a rep as a dangerously psychotic person. Why?

It got a lot of studio executives off my back. I learned that from Bill Blatty.

Easy Riders and Raging Bulls, Peter Biskind's book about the New Hollywood of the '70s, paints you as a womanizer, a tyrant and a bully quick to fire people for any reason or no reason at all. Any truth to that?

I've actually never read the book, but I've talked to some of my friends who are portrayed in it, and we all share the opinion that it is partial truth, partial myth and partial out-and-out lies by mostly rejected girlfriends and wives.

Ellen Burstyn claims she had an affair with you after she starred in The Exorcist. True?

I hope she enjoyed it.
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: polkablues on April 18, 2013, 12:32:50 AM
What a terrible interviewer, but what wonderful answers.
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: ©brad on April 18, 2013, 11:15:01 AM
Seriously. If only I could be as feisty and hysterical a curmudgeon in my 70s. I wanna read this book now.
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: Mel on August 30, 2013, 04:10:17 PM
Bit late, still I love the guy (in I-owe-you-a-liquor way):

(https://xixax.com/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fsorcerer1977.files.wordpress.com%2F2013%2F08%2Fpicture-28.png%3Fw%3D640%26amp%3Bh%3D297&hash=9819a5788f29d137cb737e31143218f5f2b83fe9) (http://sorcerer1977.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/what-weve-all-been-waiting-for/)
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: Mel on September 09, 2013, 04:57:14 AM
Bit cheesy title, still very good interview (not much of usual Exorcist/French Connection stuff).

Talking With Legendary Director William Friedkin
Source: The Credits (http://www.thecredits.org/2013/08/talking-with-legendary-director-william-friedkin/)

William Friedkin, legendary director of The French Connection (1971), which won him the Best Director Oscar, and The Exorcist (1973), one of the greatest horror films of all time, recently published his memoirs, The Friedkin Connection, a candid look at his early life and his long movie career.

We caught up with him as he was touring the country to promote his book, as well has host several screenings of his late 70ís masterpiece, Sorcerer (1977), which this summer underwent a digital restoration supervised by Friedkin. Itís premiering at the Venice Film Festival this week, as well as getting a theatrical re-release from Warner Brothers and Universal. New Blu-Ray and DVD editions will follow later in the fall. Mr. Friedkin will also be receiving the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the film festival.

The Credits:  I would like to talk a bit about Sorcerer (1977), because I know you have been working on a digital restoration of the film. What inspired you to want to do a new version of Henri-Georges Clouzotís The Wages of Fear (1953)?

Friedkin:  I had seen The Wages of Fear back in Chicago before I ever became a film director.  I loved the film, as well as Clouzotís other masterpiece, Diabolique (1955).  I came back to it about two or three years after I finished working on The Exorcist (1973).  It then just occurred to me that The Wages of Fear was kind of a timeless theme. It was about four strangers who didnít like each other. They were all imprisoned by their own sins, and they had to either cooperate with one another in order to survive, or blow up.  It seemed to me that that was a metaphor for the world at that time, and even more so now

So I went to see H. G. Clouzot [the director], and I spoke to him and told him what I had in mind.  He said, ďok, but I donít own the rights. They are owned by George Arnaud [author of the French novel on which the film was based], and he and I havenít spoken in years.Ē  I asked if he would mind if I contacted Arnaud, and he said, ďno, youíre doing an American version of this, it will be different enough.Ē I said it would be the same thing, but with different characters and different situations, and I would want to dedicate the film to him.  And he said that was not necessary, but I did it anyway. At that time I could neither read nor speak French, so I hadnít read Arnaudís novel. My knowledge of it, and what [screenwriter] Wally Green and I worked from, was the film.

Watching the film again recently, I noticed that there is very little dialog in the film.

Well, that was a conscious thing on my part.  When I went on tour for The Exorcist, in Thailand, where they ran a few American films and other foreign films, there was never a version either dubbed or subtitled in Thai.  So they used to run an American film, often on a sheet tacked to a wall, and a guy would stand next to the screen and they would stop the projector every ten or fifteen minutes, and this guy would explain to the audience what the characters had said and what was going on. I made a silent vow to myself to never again make a film where they would have to stop it to explain it in Thai.

Sorcerer seems to be made up of about ten to fifteen very tight action sequences with little to no dialogue.  Was that created during the screenwriting process or did it evolve in the editing?

Yes, events. Itís a series of events that coalesce at one point maybe 40 or so minutes into the film.  And yes, Wally Green, who wrote the script, contributed enormously to it. So many of the ideas were his, and all of the writing was his. I only altered a few things when we got to the actual locations. Itís his screenplay and I donít share the screenplay credit with him because I donít deserve any screenplay credit.

When you were working on location on these extensive action sequences, did you do any preparatory storyboarding?

No, I never storyboard anything.  What you have to do is get them in your mindís eye.  You have to see them, feel them. And thatís how you make those sequences, one shot at a time. But you have to see, visualize, the whole sequence.

For instance, the scene with the trucks crossing the frayed rope bridge.  You shot that for several weeks, if not months.

Yes, but not every day. We had a usual pattern. Two rivers virtually dried up on us. The first river was in the Dominican Republic. It was twelve feet of rushing water, but by the time we had built the bridge and got ready to shoot, it was down to less than a foot. But John Fox, the production designer, found another location with a similar river in Mexico.  That was also about twelve feet of rushing water, and it dried up to about three feet.  So I had to add a lot of different effects, mechanically, not digitally, because we didnít have CGI or anything like it. So I added rain, we brought in these big pumps and pumped water out of the river, we dammed up the river so we were able to have a bigger flow than was actually there, and I needed cloudy days to shoot it because of the rain. But it was sunny all day when we were there, so we could only film in the morning. Then we would have to stop and shoot something else, but in Mexico there was nothing left to shoot, so we just had a hiatus until about 6 in the evening, when we could come back and shoot a split day, from about 7pm, when the sun had gone down, until about 10pm, when we ran out of light.

During that time, were you continually building up the shots and the sequences while you were shooting them?

Yes, because we never saw rushes. We had to send the negative back to California to be processed.  There were very few phones and it was very difficult to get a call through, but the director of photography, John Stephens, was able to get a call through to the lab maybe once a week to determine that the stuff was ok. But we didnít see it. I didnít see it until I finished shooting. I had no idea what we were getting, or whether it was properly shot or exposed. There was a great deal of trust involved. When I came back to Los Angeles to edit the film, I was pleasantly surprised. The stuff looked pretty damn good.   The editor, Bud Smith, and I put it together without any necessary order. We sort of improvised the montage, although itís certainly based on an event that begins at point A and ends at point Z.

Some of your films seem to have a structure of independent montage sequences, that donít necessarily have to be placed in a strict narrative order.

Yes. When you get in the editing room, the film that you shot almost speaks to you, almost literally. That happened to me with The French Connection (1971), where I had taken out nine scenes that I had shot, and I was convinced they had to be in the final cut.  As I was putting them in and trimming them and sequencing them, it was almost as though a voice was screaming at me, ďno, no, I am not this. I am that. Get this out of there.Ē

In the sequence after the four main characters are chosen for the mission, thereís a tracking shot of Roy Scheider looking at the broken trucks, which leads into an extended montage of them fixing the trucks, and which includes cuts of an abstract flame [from the oil well explosion] and also two close ups of Francisco Rabalís face, as he is waiting to kill one of the guys. Youíre telling the story, but a viewer gets an almost visceral pleasure from the editing and the soundtrack music by Tangerine Dream.

Itís telling the story visually. When I shot those different scenes, I had no idea how I was going to use them. I had made close-ups of the big oil well fire that I didnít know how I could ever use again. I had a beautiful close-up of Rabal, and I shot it because he was sitting next to a candle in his room, and the light was so beautiful on his face that I made shots of him without knowing how I could use them. The whole sequence of rebuilding the trucks, in effect raising them from the dead Ė thatís one of the reasons why the second truck is called Lazaro, or Lazarus Ė I thought I would keep that whole scene together without any interruption when I shot it.

Are you trying to subvert whatever genre your working in through the formal qualities of how you shoot it and how you edit it?

Yes, I think thatís true, but I donít set out to subvert anything. I just love to discover the process, and I feel that the process of editing is like a dialog between myself, and the film that Iíve shot. I remember reading about F. Scott Fitzgerald, some 50 or 60 years ago, that he had a little card pinned to a bulletin board above his wall where he typed his novels. The card said, ďaction is character.Ē Iíve tried to follow that. What a person does is who they are. You donít have to explain them, you just show what theyíre doing and thatís who they are.

Iím so glad that the movie is going to get out there again and people are going to see it.

Iím glad that the film is coming out. I think itís really a tribute to the people that made it. That may sound like bullshit, but I donít bullshit. Iím not out to confuse anybody or blow my own horn, but that film and all of my films are collaborations of many people. I was the director, but there were other people whose contributions were equal to mine, I assure you. People like John Fox, our art director, and Roy Walker. Roy became a really great production designer.

Can we talk a little about Cruising (1980)? I recently watched the film, and in doing a little research I came across a 2004 essay by film critic Bill Krohn. From reading the essay and seeing the film, it seems you were really trying to have several people portray the killer.

That came out of the editing process. It wasnít in the script. I didnít realize that that was a possibility until I got into the cutting room. I thought, the actual murders that [Paul] Batson confessed to were basically unsolved. There were still a lot of questions, because there were a lot more body parts placed in huge drawers in the morgue marked ďCUPPI,Ē which stood for ďcircumstances unknown pending a police investigation.Ē There were many more CUPPI murders than the ones that Batson confessed to, and it was not all gay men. It occurred to me, that as these murders were not solved, there may have been other possible explanations.

In his essay, Krohn refers to you as a montage director. He says you work with ďmodulesĒ of scenes that you moved around during the editing process.

Thatís correct. The whole meaning of the film was a question. How were these murders committed? A fantasy-like atmosphere existed in New York at that time. Not only these murders but other mysterious deaths were occurring, primarily but not exclusively in the gay community. Shortly after that, these deaths had a name: AIDS. When I was filming Cruising, maybe scientists understood the cause and effect, but we didnít know about AIDS until about a year later. So there was a kind of a panic around New York. It was best captured by this really sensational writer for the Village Voice, Arthur Bell. He wrote about the deaths in the gay community and the murders, as kind of warning shots to gay men.  I read those articles and they were part of what inspired me to make that film.

It seems that most reviewers at the time were writing about the protests and controversy around the movie, rather than reviewing the movie itself.

As I recall, most of the people who reviewed the film, reviewed their feelings about gay rights, gay liberation and the gay lifestyle.  The reviews were largely attacks on me for making such a politically incorrect film.  There were no politically correct films about gay life in those days, because studios for the most part wouldnít touch them.  If they did, everything was watered down and nervous about dealing with the subject. It was a completely different era. Today there are gay people in the mainstream of all stories.  There has been tremendous progress in gay life since then. But at the time, there were a number of critics who thought that Cruising would increase the attacks on gay people, both physically and in print. It would increase murder and violence against the gay community. Fortunately that didnít happen.

Your last movie, Killer Joe (2011) was the first movie you shot digitally. In terms of the new technology, where do you think the industry is headed?

Well, hereís what Iím aware of.  I canít say that I endorse this, but this is the way things are going. They are going toward streaming. All of the studios are counting on a gigantic revenue stream from streaming films to people on their iPhones, iPads, computers and television sets. That is the next big thing in terms of the economics of filmmaking. In other words, theyíre trying to get rid of all of the hardware and software. 35 millimeter [film] is dead and gone. Eastman Kodak is out of business, and so is Fuji. Most of the theaters, and all of the major chains, have converted to digital projection. So thatís where the technology is going. I donít know how much it will affect the films themselves in terms of stories and characters. You still have to light a scene interestingly or even beautifully. I donít know that the stories are going to change much. Most of the films today are only enhanced by the digital technology. Most of the films today are about comic books or video games or vampires, or werewolves. They are complete fantasy.  One of the most important anniversaries in the history of film is May 1.  On May 1, 1941, Citizen Kane opened at the RKO Palace in New York, and it changed film forever.  They arenít making too many Citizen Kanes today. Citizen Kane couldnít rely on digital technology, but the effects produced mechanically and optically are just wonderful, and all in service of the story and the characters. Citizen Kane would not be a better film if it was done in 3D or digitally. It is by far the greatest film Iíve ever seen. I love a lot of films, but that is the one that inspired me, and so many others, to try to become a filmmaker.

Thank you for speaking with us, and congratulations on being awarded the Golden Lion at Venice, and on the restoration of Sorcerer.

Thank you and thank you for your time, I appreciate it.
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: Mel on September 17, 2013, 05:14:31 AM
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: Mel on February 01, 2014, 03:52:40 PM
Long discussion with Friedkin about "Sorcerer": http://www.cinematheque.fr/fr/dans-salles/rencontres-conferences/espace-videos/master-class-william-friedkin-propos-sorcerer,v,701.html

Some highlights. Friedkin wants to be remembered for "Sorcerer" more than any other film. Paramount has rights to theatrical distribution, Universal to TV, Warner Bros to home media - makes total sense. Restoration took 6 months. When asked about restoration vs. creation, he gets a little animated (something to do with infamous Blu-ray of  "The French Connection"?).
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: wilder on April 15, 2014, 10:54:52 PM
Nicolas Winding Refn in conversation with William Friedkin

Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: Lottery on April 23, 2014, 07:27:06 PM
What's Sorcerer like? What do you folks think about it?

I'm intrigued.
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: jenkins on April 23, 2014, 09:03:39 PM
tangerine dream baby

^sexy talk(?) sorcerer's score was also terminator's temp track, and i hear that's ridiculously noticeable

the movie: in certain circles it's regarded above wages of fear, i think that's crazy talk, but i think it's impressive it could even be considered

definitely recommended
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: Alexandro on April 23, 2014, 09:41:11 PM
it's both very different and at the same time alike wages of fear. I liked the first one more, but sorcerer is awesome in it's own right. it takes it's time to develop the characters in a way that would be impossible if the same film were to be made today. fantastic cinematography and suspense. sounds clichť, but it really is "edge of your sit" suspense here.
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: Mel on April 24, 2014, 08:46:05 AM
Two different directors from different decade - hard to compare. Friedkin is a montage director with background in documentary. He doesn't write, he adopts and then creates films in editing room. He likes ambiguous endings, there is exploitation part to what he does and his films are often very bleak.

"Sorcerer" is pretty much a dozen of action sequences stitched together without much dialogue. There are no positive characters here: in Clouzot's version father of one of characters was murdered by Nazis, Friedkin introduces Nazi character that is hiding from justice - this is good example of contrast and bleakness. There is a lot of montage: truck repair scene is great example and Tangerine Dream is all over the place. Very different films overall.

If you looking for action film with a lot of tension or a film that is almost devoid of dialogue, "Sorcerer" is worth watching. It has its own quirks, but it is one of my favorites.
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: BB on April 24, 2014, 10:53:11 PM
For me, it handsomely fills the gap between Wages of Fear and Chill Factor.
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: Lottery on April 27, 2014, 06:22:22 AM
Thanks. Definitely watching it in the future. Interestingly, I don't believe I've seen The Wages of Fear either.

Anyway, fascinating stuff:
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: Lottery on April 30, 2014, 09:17:24 AM
Guys, Sorcerer was totally awesome.
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: Mel on April 30, 2014, 10:25:09 AM
Guys, Sorcerer was totally awesome.

Did you see new Blu-ray version or old DVD version (this cropped version scanned from poor material was released again without Friedkin consent)? And tell us something that we don't know already (at least some of us) ;)

Wikipedia is hardly good source of accurate information, but in case of "Sorcerer", some fan of film have provided a ton of information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sorcerer_%28film%29 There is also this fan site: http://sorcerer1977.wordpress.com/ which has even more material, if anyone is into the film. I reposed some scraps from there already.
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: 03 on April 30, 2014, 11:15:26 AM
ive seen the bluray version and it is pretty amazing. clean, but it messes up my vhs nostalgia.
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: Lottery on April 30, 2014, 12:28:20 PM
Yeah, the new one.

Various Spoilersish

Anyway. This has to be one of the most dangerous feeling films ever. There was an overwhelming sense of tension throughout the film. Incredible setpieces which left me wondering how did they do it/how could they afford it. It's just that ability to shift scale- from the intimate stuff to distant views from the sky looking down on infernos. Those disasters in the film were remarkably convincing, and there was a doco feel to all the carnage.

Each individual intro section felt detailed and stylistically unique, as if each section could have been parts of separate films. The main plot (or whatever) comes into play around the halfway mark of the film and I just loved that gradual build. The film's approach to exposition is overall commendable. Didn't need an excess of dialogue and the plot nicely climbs out of the chaotic first half.
I forgot that it was an adapatation when I was watching. The flow was more novel than film, I can imagine reading it in book form.

One remarkable little thing is how an influence can be felt through a work- I read that the screenwriter recommended 100 Years of Solitude to Friedkin. I was seriously bouncing up and down/couldn't believe it when I read that, because I 100% got that vibe. Fantastic.

- Seemingly disparate lives lead to a unified fate (reflected in the style of the film well)
- I read somewhere that the real tragedy was that their fates were set at the beginning, they were always doomed, cool thought
- Fuck Friedkin's all star cast intentions- every primary character was individual and interesting- and real
- Wins award for best explosions
- Don't think I made a mention of the visuals, they were highly impressive
- Goddamn Tangerine Dream, unconventional and effective, love that main theme
- I loved the various crowd scenes- the returning of the bodies/riot was a fantastic great (more 100 YoS feels).
- Nightmare sequence felt like a different planet
- Must get around to watching Wages of Fear

Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: Mel on April 30, 2014, 01:19:15 PM

Anyway. This has to be one of the most dangerous feeling films ever. There was an overwhelming sense of tension throughout the film. Incredible setpieces which left me wondering how did they do it/how could they afford it. It's just that ability to shift scale- from the intimate stuff to distant views from the sky looking down on infernos. Those disasters in the film were remarkably convincing, and there was a doco feel to all the carnage.

Previous to "Sorcerer" Friedkin hit the pot twice with "French Connection" and "Exorcist" and was new flavor for few minutes. He could do and get financing for anything.

So he decided to go to the jungle (almost at the same time as Coppola). Roads were created in the middle of forest leading nowhere. Bridge was also built and those truck did go few times overboard. Water in river dropped so much, that had to lower the bridge (hence slack seen in film) and add heavy rain to mask it.

- Seemingly disparate lives lead to a unified fate (reflected in the style of the film well)
- I read somewhere that the real tragedy was that their fates were set at the beginning, they were always doomed, cool thought

I have read some speculations that they are long dead before reaching Porvenir. How Jackie gets away from car incident can support that - he escapes like a ghost, without anyone noticing him. Following this scent you can get to some kind of limbo/hell vision.

- Wins award for best explosions

I'm not sure how much I trust Friedkin. In one of the interviews, he stated that they had problems with blowing up tree trunk - studio pyrotechnics couldn't do that. So he got arsonist from States to fly to the set. He destroyed trunk in first approach and explosion actually was too big - you can see afterwards a lot of clear sky.

- Don't think I made a mention of the visuals, they were highly impressive

First DP was fired, because he couldn't lit locations fast enough. Second choice was a DP, who Friedkin befriended when making documentaries - that solved issues. They used mostly deep focus lighting on location as far I'm aware (I could be wrong though).

- Fuck Friedkin's all star cast intentions- every primary character was individual and interesting- and real

Probably it wouldn't bomb as much as it did. Still I love what every actor did in this film.

- Goddamn Tangerine Dream, unconventional and effective, love that main theme

Even better, music was composed before film. Friedkin liked music enough so he took first version. "Tangerine Dream" wasn't 100% happy about how music was edited - according to them it could be used even better.

- Nightmare sequence felt like a different planet

Location for that sequence is located in New Mexico: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bisti/De-Na-Zin_Wilderness
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: jenkins on April 30, 2014, 03:01:18 PM
[butterflies in my stomach]

[heeyyy now, are you derailing?:]
narrative films are my favorite, they give me the most emotions, compared to let's say nonfiction aka documentary. i like how friedkin's history as a doc maker is conversationally incorporated alongside  sorcerer's "dangerous feeling" -- i think achieving this effect requires familiarity with how people feel in nonfiction and how cinema can be used to heighten feelings. i like how this is an example. if it's imagined as a doc, if all events occurred irl with cameras around, i don't think it would be as impressive. it steals us with its cinema. reminded also of my favorite example, kieslowski, who switched from docs to narrative fiction because he felt the creative tools of cinema were best expressed through deliberate intention. i agree

lottery you now might like sorcerer more than wages of fear, the choice might be related to the common problem of which one was your first encounter. like mel said, they're different perspectives, different times, different makers, and however related they are they're unrelated by the force of the creator's vision. mentioning this to shield myself from despair over understandable preference. k
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: Lottery on April 30, 2014, 08:05:14 PM
@Mel, yeah, I read the wiki after I finished the film. Loaded with fantastic information.

@Jenkins, yeah I see what you're getting at. General consensus is Wages of Fear is better but my perspective has already been shifted. I don't think I've seen many films executed this way. I wonder if a film like this could be made today.

Also, about it's name, I read why it had its title and what Friedkin intended with its meaning (fate), it's hell of a lot better the original Ballbreaker (this may sound awful/rudimentary, but I have a nagging suspicion that titles will affect how I percieve a film). It may be misguiding on the surface but it suits the film in a sort of atmospheric/tonal way. I think that's important. The content of the film changes how I see the title in a way, instead of swords, lords and magic, I think shamans and ruin and fate.

Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: Alexandro on April 30, 2014, 08:40:00 PM
I have to take a small detour during this Sorcerer conversation to highly recommend and remind everyone of Friedkin's Bug. That one's a tour the force.
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: ElPandaRoyal on May 01, 2014, 05:42:08 AM
I saw Sorcerer for the first time a few weeks ago (didn't really feel like watching the cropped version for years, hoping I'd get a chance like this) and man, what a ride. Revisiting Friedkin these last few months has been a huge pleasure, I'm even thinking about giving The Exorcist another chance. One think that comes across in a lot of these movies is how ambiguous they all are, either in the narrative or morally. Such a ballsy filmmaker.
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: jenkins on May 17, 2014, 02:59:33 AM
just like in case anyone didn't somethingsomething excuse:


nothing to say but he's become a new personal hero of mine
Mel [17|May 03:15 AM]:   jenkins<3 http://pic.twitter.com/jIgS80S0vx and http://pic.twitter.com/0czuSjcpPD and http://pic.twitter.com/dgAFVrLyPy

friedkin's next leveledness is now totally confirmed
Mel [17|May 03:21 AM]:   Some monkeys: http://pic.twitter.com/kciZjN2zvw and http://pic.twitter.com/c8PXKqpdH1
Mel [17|May 03:22 AM]:   And yet another panda: http://pic.twitter.com/BgDRNCY4mc
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: wilder on October 03, 2014, 05:54:00 PM

Please be Cruising
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: wilder on June 25, 2015, 07:43:50 PM
William Friedkin To Direct TV Series Version Of His 'To Live And Die In L.A.'
via The Playlist


"The only thing Iím interested in now is long form, which is what youíd call television," William Friedkin said last year, upon revealing TV series for his films "To Live And Die In L.A." and "Killer Joe" were in the works. "...I donít want to make a feature film, because I donít want to make a movie about a guy in a mask and a spandex suit flying around and saving the world." And now one of those movies is pressing forward to the small screen.

Deadline reports that Friedkin will helm the TV series iteration of "To Live And Die In L.A." Bobby Moresco ("Crash") is penning the script for the show that has been snapped up by WGN, with a straight to series order expected. It will be a "reimagining" of the movie, but will still involve the Secret Service and the dark underbelly of Los Angeles. No word yet if Wang Chung will reunite to score the series.
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: OpO1832 on June 27, 2015, 11:52:47 AM
Wow i am so elated to see folks discussing the brilliance of Sorcerer!

One guy Lottery broke it down so well !Thank you! I do not know why this movie bombed but perhaps at the time in America the movie audience had enough of pessimistic movies, rocky hit and star wars and the 80s were coming...

I fucking love the style of Sorcerer so much, it has such a great feeling to it, you can tell the d.p has an background shooing docs, just in the coverage of the mid east section and the scene were roy gets away from that bloody mess!

Wes Anderson had to have seen the movie cause he used the music from the French guy's last hurrah with his wife for the opening title and character introductions in Royal Tenebaums, when i heard that for 1st time I was so happy.

I wonder what happened to that french actor he was interesting. I wanna read more about the Sorcerer production any good resources ?

To Live and Die in L.A is also so fucking great. Forget the performance by William L Peterson who is perhaps the most badass man next to Michael Biehn, (can you tell I am man/child who grew up watching movies from the 80s on cable in the 90s?) How cool would it have been to see Peterson in Heat and Saving Private Ryan! !!!!
instead he was in The Contender ( he basically gets owned by Jeff Bridges, hard role to play for Peterson, and he'd did a good job and The Skulls in the 90s)

I always felt the departed ripped off to live and die in L.A with the whole QUICK GUNSHOT TO the head of the main guy, but nothing beats to live and die and L.A... ( YOUR UNDER ARREST ASSHOLE! ) The chase scene and the fact that ROBERT MOTHERFUCKING DOWNEY plays the chief wow! If your a boogie nights fan and  a fan of  RD its worth watching just for him, Downey basically causes Peterson to go rouge because he wouldn't give him the buy money he needed to nail masters. I thought Downey was going to tell Peterson this is a Y.P NOT AN M.P ! ;P

speaking on a little bit of everything boys in the band just got a release on KINO i haven't seen that but i will check it out.

Crusising is such a haunting movie, it was shot so well! Ive said it before and I will say it again its like the best looking grind house movie even though its not a real grind house movie, the cinematography is on another level! The end is so haunting.
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: wilder on August 06, 2015, 04:45:38 PM
William Friedkin To Direct Don Winslow Novel ĎThe Winter Of Frankie Machineí
via Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: William Friedkin will develop to direct The Winter Of Frankie Machine, an adaptation of the 2007 Don Winslow bestselling novel that once had Martin Scorsese and then Michael Mann attached to direct, and Robert De Niro attached to star. The project, which shook free of Paramount some time ago, hasnít yet been set up anywhere. Theyíll start fresh with a script that Winslow will either write or co-write. This comes after Winslow made a monster Fox deal for his current bestseller The Cartel, which continued the characters from Winslowís 2006 novel The Power Of The Dog. The commitment to book rights and writing fees was around $6 million and Ridley Scott is aboard to direct a script that is being written by Shane Salerno, who co-wrote one of the Avatar sequels with James Cameron. Fox is courting Leonardo DiCaprio to play DEA agent Art Keller, whose blood feud with Mexican cartel kingpin Adan Berrera fuels a story that covers the start of the war on drugs and brings it to the present. For Winslow, getting Friedkin on his book is a dream. He ďmade the decision to become a writer after seeing The French Connection,Ē he said. ďThat how strong of an impact it had on me.Ē

While the stakes and the budget of The Cartel will be commensurate with what a studio like Fox spends on an impact film with Scott at the helm, Friedkin tells me he is eager to approach Frankie Machine similar to the way he did Killer Joe, that gritty adaptation of the Tracy Letts play that starred Matthew McConaughey and was one of the indie building blocks that got the actor to his Oscar performance in Dallas Buyers Club, followed by the classic HBO series turn True Detective. Friedkin said he wants to make this down and dirty, on a low budget. While those past Paramount incarnations of Frankie Machine bore budgets in the $70 million range, Friedkin wants to do this for under $15 million. The hope is for it to have the bite and burst of violence in films like Eastern Promises and A History of Violence.

The drama revolves around Frank Machianno, a mob hitman who has retired to run a bait shop. He agrees to help the son of a mob boss resolve a dispute with another Mafioso but is forced to turn into Frankie Machine again when he realizes heís been set up to be killed. Salerno and Winslow will be producers on this, through the Story Factory label. You can read more of Friedkinís words about this project in the lengthy interview with the director that appears right under this article, where, among other things, Friedkin said that Walton Goggins, the Justified star who moved to Quentin Tarantinoís The Hateful Eight, is a prototype actor to play the hit man, and that McConaughey would also nail it. They wonít approach an actor, or a financier, until theyíve got a script to show. But this is a seminal tight thriller novel by Winslow, who finally seems poised to get his due in Hollywood.
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: OpO1832 on August 19, 2015, 11:13:50 AM
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: wilder on February 25, 2016, 03:27:47 AM
William Friedkin on WTF (http://www.wtfpod.com/podcast/episodes/episode_684_-_william_friedkin)
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: The Ultimate Badass on February 28, 2016, 12:45:25 AM
He hasn't done a compelling movie in 30 years. What's so excellent about it?
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: Alexandro on February 28, 2016, 12:06:11 PM
Bug and Killer Joe, particularly the former, are certainly "compelling".
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: 03 on February 28, 2016, 12:27:14 PM
don't feed the tuba, alexandro.
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: Reelist on March 01, 2016, 09:59:28 AM
Most memorable excerpt from that 2 1/2 hour interview^^

"She sits down, her mother sits next to her. I say "Linda, do you know anything about 'The Exorcist'?
Linda Blair: Yeah! I read the book.

William Friedkin: Well, what's it about?

LB:  A little girl who gets possessed by the devil and does a whole bunch of bad things.

WF: What sort of 'bad things'?

LB: She pushes a man out of her bedroom window, she hits her mother across the face, and she masturbates with a crucifix.

So, I looked at her mother, who was smiling and then said:

WF: Do you know what that means, Linda?

LB: What?

WF: To masturbate?

LB: isn't it like, 'jerking off'?

I look at her mother, still smiling and ask:

WF: Have you ever done that?

LB: Sure! Haven't you?

And that was it. That was her audition. I knew this wasn't going to hurt her. She was comfortable with the language, comfortable with the ideas, and I made it a game everyday."

Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: The Ultimate Badass on March 05, 2016, 12:21:53 AM
Bug and Killer Joe, particularly the former, are certainly "compelling".
LOL. Bug and Killer Joe? Did those movies say something interesting, or novel, deeply thought-provoking? Did they do so something cinematically or audiovisually interesting, or novel, or new and innovative? While I was watching them, did i feel i HAD to finish watching them? Was there anything extraordinary about the acting, or the cinematography, or any other technical aspect? Did these movies stick with me?

No to all.

So I disagree.
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: Alexandro on March 05, 2016, 09:51:03 PM
interesting, novel and deeply thought provoking?
I would say yes to interesting.
Novel, don't think so.
Thought provoking? yes. Wouldn't say "deeply".

They both did "something" cinematically interesting, but I'm not your personal guide to appreciate films so let's say that's your problem. novel again, or innovative...I'm sorry, but how old are you? Because usually people that put down films because they are not "innovative" are younger than 20.

And yeah they both had tremendous acting and technical chops, and played around with narrative and expectations enough to be "interesting". But I already think you are way too smart and advanced for me to possibly comprehend the heights from where your film notions of value are coming from, so I will agree to disagree.
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: wilder on March 20, 2020, 02:27:37 PM
Just published as part of the Conversations with Filmmakers Series (https://www.upress.state.ms.us/Series/C/Conversations-with-Filmmakers-Series)

(https://i.imgur.com/2rCeIfl.jpg) (https://www.amazon.com/William-Friedkin-Interviews-Conversations-Filmmakers/dp/1496827082/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=william+friedkin+interviews&qid=1584732209&sr=8-1)
Title: Re: William Friedkin
Post by: eward on March 24, 2020, 11:42:20 AM