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Directors Roundtable: Todd Phillips, Martin Scorsese, Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach | Close Up

Directors Roundtable: Todd Phillips, Martin Scorsese, Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach | Close Up
hello and welcome to

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-up with The Hollywood Reporter

directors

I'm Steven Galloway and I'd like to welcome Fernando Morales CQ

Martin

Scorsese

Noah

Baumbach

Lulu Wong

Todd

Phillips

and

Greta

Gerwig

thank you for being here thank you I will start with the business before we get to the film several of you who've worked in the business for a while what has changed most significantly for good and bad Marty let's start with you what has changed for good bad where would you
directors roundtable todd phillips martin scorsese greta gerwig noah baumbach close up
begin again I mean basically we could take the Irishman for nine years we couldn't get financing that means things have improved financially no I don't know what what you want me to say I think what you were getting at is through three of the film makers here made movies for Netflix that's huge changed out of six

directors

here three of the films are on Netflix that's been a giant change in the business and ultimately the the situation in my case in terms of Irishman was
something that DeNiro and I hadn't made a picture since 1995 casino and over the years we wanted to make another film and then we never kind of met on certain subject matter and things changed you know life goes on and we looked around and we're still interested in working with each other long story bottom line is that we get to be 72 73 74 years old and he comes up with this book that Eric Roth gave him describes the character to me becomes extremely passionate and somewhat emotional
about it and I said well that might be it and really couldn't get the financing with him and Al and Joe couldn't get the financing so he went off did his work I went off and did some films and when the time came around any possibility of them playing younger was out of the question it was gone God so he looked at each other so I wanted up I want to shoot silence I had to go and make silence yeah and that's when Pablo helman mentioned the de-aging I think unification which is
something we heard about but was almost like science fiction you know we did a test of DeNiro doing Goodfellow scene in Goodfellas and we did it him again and we played it back two months later and we said let's take the risk let's try for it but of course that comes with a price tag right you know then it was even more money in terms of the budget in terms of that so ultimately what happened was that we still after we still could not get richer financed and I got a call from Ricky on
said you interested in Netflix and I said what's the story there and they explained it financially the film would be complete backing will need to take the risks with the computer-generated imagery you call it that but you know it's more complicated and certainly the main thing for me was creative freedom the trade-off is that it's a streamer okay however I said but it will be shown in theaters right by that point you know I've been at this like 47 years I think so at that point
I've had a few films I mentioned this the other day I've had a few films play one or two weeks in the theatre and taken out right yeah including especially King of Comedy right yeah lasted a week and a half they took it out is that never shown again you know yeah I see this film of the two popes we're like 35 festivals then we're gonna have it like two three weeks so yes theatre and then the plataform I mean can't be better yeah we're having older yeah and it stays in
theaters yeah question is that we're in the more than an evolution we're in a revolution of communication and cinema really or movies or film whatever you want to call it and now all these venues you know because the the audience for Netflix for instance is much bigger than theatrical audience they can take risks actually how you shoot a film if you know it's going to be seen on a TV screen I mean for me it didn't know I'd be approached it exactly the same way and and Netflix
also has made adjustments I mean even as recently as two year ago there was still there was no exclusive theatrical run they would do theatrical but it was always day and date and now you know they've they've adjusted I've never had a movie released wide immediately it's always been a roll out you know New York LA and you know then it moves out to the thing and then and then you break wider and and often that's where their bigger challenges because suddenly you're
competing for theaters with you know giant blockbusters no matter how well your movie may be doing sort of in cities and and and so in a sense I feel like Netflix almost reflects the traditional independent cinema model now which is you get to play exclusively in theaters you roll out you can kind of you know have and then the wide break is Netflix which in a sense is a more democratic break for these movies yeah I just say cuz I have a slightly different perspective on the streaming versus you
know independent studios not even the big studios you know I'll just say to be totally honest I would not be at this table if it wasn't for our small independent studio because we got an offer at Sundance from a 24 and also got a much larger double offer from a large streaming platform and you know the financier and producers of course were like are you crazy we have to take this bigger deal and I said no it's not about the money one thing we sometimes don't talk about with some
of these bigger streaming platforms is that you know it's a different business model it's not necessarily about making money back it's about brand their building their brand and when you're an established filmmaker you are a brand that they want to partner with to help build their own brand but with newer filmmakers newer voices you don't have a brand you need to build that brand and I know now cuz our film has been in the theaters for four months you know for a film that 75
80 percent in Mandarin subtitled but is an American film you know it's an even first of all get that financed but then to have that play as an American film a hundred percent Asian Asian American cast to be seen as an American story and play in theaters for four months and then for me to be at this able I for a fact that if I took that bigger you know the bigger money that they wouldn't have the energy to put behind someone like me to build my brand when they have so many esteemed
established

directors

that that are also part of the conversation negative to to it is a filmmaker like Lulu would get lost because no way to find it yes but you're not gonna these guys right and that's what they're saying their pitch was we have a huge global platform like we have millions of eyeballs but you know if you look at the music business and you say to a small independent musician you can put your music on iTunes anybody can upload their music to itunes or maybe even
Spotify these these days it doesn't really matter because if people don't know how to find you it doesn't why did it and there are different business models within the streaming services to it's not they they have different ways that they treat different one of the things I was thinking I never thought of it in terms of this gonna sound strange I never thought of it in terms of money for me yeah for me it was desperation for 160 million dollars doesn't matter is desperation
it had to be done right and I'm not saying to all were relegated and Netflix did a great job you have done it if it didn't have a theatrical release guaranteed maybe Wow oh yeah it had to be done because I had to be it was from here and we're too old now as you know Marty said that a lot of the film AIDS Day are themed part right Marty wedding want to be precise and a lot of Marvel films are themed pot I said I said superhero films superhero film never I don't even know Marvel
our members are comical you've never enough to doctor I can marvel film huh you've never been asked to direct and well know who here became to me director Marvel film you have superhero films that essentially seem part right I mean maybe sure the who but I like theme park rides yeah I could explain a little about what that is you just when you state it like that it's like things coming yeah in India because yeah we coach you ask me what's worth think about tomorrow it's the
you know when Disneyland was built I'm better ancient you know and one of the aspirations of the studios was to become as important in a sense to American culture as a Disneyland and I think the first studio to really do that was Universal Universal tours and then you add the blockbuster on top of that and why not the sense of theme park has always been there it's always been it's not bad we used to love to go to amusement parks you know but now in an amusement park you have the film
because I don't think that theme parks are and I don't think that's what you were saying that it's negative I think you're making the distinction between cinema the the the bigger entertainment things which is which is really made by committee and that's one of the reasons I don't want to do it right now because I don't have them I haven't figured out my voice yet as a filmmaker and and I agree that we have to talk about cinema not in a pretentious way but
when I was on set you know sometimes there were some people who are like oh the girls want to make cinema and there was like this I've always been the case it's oh yeah that's always been like oh nice starting to stop at this art business we used to get nice and what I hear on this I'm doing but making a movie and you know yeah exactly you said these are not cinema Gretel what is cinema I don't know I mean I know what when I see it I see it I know I know I know when you sit
in a movie theater and I've had the privilege of like but you know being a Film Festival jury which is in some ways the really pure way to watch movies because you you have nothing you have no context for what the thing it is you're seeing and and you don't miss it from the first shot you know you know when there's an author there and you know when it's personal and you know it you can feel it you can feel it comes through every moment every shot every and the actors and
every piece of it and it and it just doesn't miss you and I don't know that I can explain it better than that but you just know it when you see it and sometimes for whatever reason a stretch will go by and they don't see something that hits me like that and then I'll go to the movie theater and I'll see something you know it's just it makes you fall in love with the form and yet yeah I don't know I love like when you catch resurface and like you catch something on
your just the TV on and you're in the middle of a movie and you know immediately there's a there's a personality and a voice behind it that's you know that's almost the feeding in the seventies that every film you thought could change your life that's right you told us that still true today I mean I I think it is but if I'd go back to the what Marty said about cinema and yeah and because because I think really he got a lot of heat for it but I understand fully what
you were saying you know when we were struggling to get Joker made which sounds funny because it exists in the superhero world but it's really not one of those movies in fact it was greatly inspired by the works of

Martin

Scorsese

and Sidney lament and other filmmakers that I sort of grew up worshipping in the 70s and early 80's and their movies but we had a really hard time getting that film made which seems insane today now seeing how well the movies done we spent a year at Warner
Brothers and I saw emails back and forth literally where they said does he realize meaning me does he realize we sell joker pajamas at Target and so is that true it's very what you're saying where these come first the pajamas movies you can't make your decisions based on that and that was my argument of course was we're really gonna dictate but you know movies based on pajamas but it but it exists this idea but you know those pajamas when you see them well I mean one of us you
get you get one person to be your ally yeah you in one by one I mean I you know I mean the problem at Warner's for me was was the regime changed so and so you finally get everybody on board and all of a sudden they're gone and now you're starting over and when you start over with you know sometimes people don't like to inherit other stuff from Avellino around say your comedy here's a good example is it yeah so you're overcoming that but but I mean in this film in
particular luckily we had um the head of marketing who didn't change Blair rich who's really championed it from the script and got what we were trying to do got that it was sort of an anti comic book movie so to speak that it was a character study a deep dive and really a movie you know that explored mental illness that explored compassion that explored all these sort of things we wanted to do under the guise of a comic book film and in fairness to Warner's I mean when you see the
movie you've seen it it's it's a bold swinging for a studio to take or did they ask you to change they didn't Jenny thing I mean that wasn't that wasn't part of the conversation it was just about yes or no and DC Comics was involved because they owned the character they didn't ask us to change one thing once they came on board it was it was a thing but it was a literally a year from a finished script to a greenlight we worried before the film came out there might be
some violence no because I just didn't subscribe to that quite frankly thing that was happening in the media where they just pick a movie every so often and declare it it means something that it doesn't I mean we had think pieces being written about this movie where people proudly wrote I haven't seen the movie I don't need to say the movie I'm not gonna see the movie and then they would write two pages about why the movies bad I mean I don't think there's been more
can I tell you a studio she said to me I'm not going to see that movie I said you're a studio chief yeah yeah don't say who but yeah go ahead and produce this film your partner Hamlet is the producer on it why did you decide not to produce personal reasons I think for me also scheduling and primary I mean quite honestly taxi driver and king of comedy and last imitation of Christ you know my time those were my fights yes that wasn't a fight we did it and then there were some
consequences to be paid at this point in time then we went ahead and did King of Comedy and we were attacked for that and the film was considered the flop of the year and the new show Entertainment Tonight on New Year's Eve I was putting my tie on and I look over in this TV and said now the flop of the year and a curtain open it was King of Comedy and we would everything had turn to hold the whole all of Hollywood have turned against that kind of filmmaking really are the reasons to do you
think in a funny way because I mean I think we all romanticize sort of you know well said that this sort of you know you're the 70s and even early eighties perhaps in a funny way do you think King of Comedy would have done better 15 years later with independent studios because they were yeah it wouldn't have it would have been like a twenty four these companies would have known what to do was that however in 1978 79 79 Apocalypse Now right at you way then Raging Bull 1980 10 days later
heaven's gate opens up was the end well I'm not saying that I'm just saying they finish the fault they've had enough of these crazed or tours yeah and everybody including the the critical community particularly in New York Times one review the film

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d one night so that was the end of it all and then you had other films that were being made that were you know wonderful sci-fi fantasy things and people wanted to see those we go ahead and make King of Comedy we just made raging
directors roundtable todd phillips martin scorsese greta gerwig noah baumbach close up
bold so when people went to see if they expected Janiero as as Jake LaMotta again and that changed things you see yeah and at that point also the studio had changed right so they said so that's doing it yeah God picture finish so I went I try to do Last Temptation of Christ was 1983 I spent the whole year here and six weeks before shooting started was cancelled which point I said I think I should leave death threats when you do loss yes yes you don't go through the fight did you mean you
didn't want to go through that again with Joker or you didn't know it's an issue it's a personal issue about the kind of picture I want to make at this point in my life I wanted I'm more comfortable with this picture Irishman I'm more comfortable there you know if I could help if I can help a younger filmmaker get something good but God knows he's them The Hangover things and yeah you know we were talking about this because yeah you live outside the Hollywood system
an international maker you need an easier position or that tougher have that world changed too for me it's been easier I mean because I don't have the involvement I don't have to to to to make people like me you know so I can be very and I'm finding very good producer that supports what I want to do so I'm I'm very independent in whatever I want to do and without having to to please people around because I don't depend on on the get this I'm really yeah it's
very there's a very good thing about being an outsider and one thing to be an outsider did you ever think of moving to America no I have very deep roots in Brazil and I like to to to direct in Portuguese what I'm doing the last years when I went to to direct in Portuguese I'm doing TV TV series and because it's different I mean I understand English but I don't feel English when you like like if you say mango tree in English this is just a tree in Portuguese mangueira is my
mother sometimes that's what was the toughest thing about making two popes I think when I read the script I lifted dialogues and I said yes and then I realized that the film was two men talking about religion quite exciting isn't it it's just about how to make it cinematic so that was the big challenge how big was the bankability of your actors a factor in making the film were you at all like no no I was completely free to cast and to be honest how I cast johnson price i google when
when I signed the film I looked for pictures of the Pope just to see how he felt and there was a lot of picture of him and next to the price because they look alike the obvious choice what this guy just he's being himself he's great and I felt he's so humble and funny and I said he has the same kind of energy from the book this guy look alike and has the same let's go for him and I mean did you have watchable any either of those popes now while I shook hands with Pope Francis and
I told him I'm making a film on you he couldn't care less you you have a screening of violence at the balcony yes he was not at that screen he soared later yeah yeah and what extent is autobiographical Philip Roth has a great quote about you that he would keep he always started by taking two stones of reality and rubbing them together to spark the imagination and and I find I mean I respond to that because I often you know I like your shooting in New York I like to shoot on streets that
I have memories from childhood you know things and it again doesn't have to have any resonance with the specifics of the movie but it puts me in a place of creativity you know I feel like so much of what we do is a kind of conversation with the child we were you know the and it's that place of play you know I try to use all of these things that I put then familiar people in the movies you know friends my doorman our doorman yeah cuz I mean like when your mom is and whether you know it or
not it's it's you you connect to something personal because I think you can feel it even if you don't know it but it it makes me I mean it goes to what we were talking about how we like our sets I mean I you know I'd like to feel kind of at home and its relaxed and calm at home on a set and I feel like then I can chaos and it can come from that how much does autobiography come into your films one of them seemed to be very autobiographical and now you've made little women
which seems not to be that is that true well I think for me for little women that that book meant so much to me and it was a book that I I don't ever remember not knowing who the March sisters were I always knew who Joe March was I always knew those sisters and that mother and that those adventures and they so became part of the the inner landscape of myself they felt like my memories so in a lot of ways it didn't feel that different to me the book had become part of me and I think
another reason why the little women feel so personal to me is because of the very existence of Louisa May Alcott who wrote Little Women who kind of doubled herself in the character of Joe and the distance between what was real and what was false was is emotional to me things like you know she did have four sisters and and they did they did struggle however in in the book the March family are the genteel poor and and in life the Alcott's were wretchedly poor Louisa was working by the time she
was 14 she was out sewing all day and she wrote stories at night that she sold for almost nothing and she taught herself to write with those hands because when she got home she could only write so long with her right hand and it would bleed and cramp that's not cute that's that's serious and I think that kind of I think there was something that I inherently responded to about that distance and then what I kind of did with my film in terms of starting when they're adults and then
childhood becomes a thing that you go back you you go back to because it was the last time everyone was together and that you were happy in this way and you felt like anything was possible and adults have more limited options and I felt like if I could somehow address that reflexivity and the narrative of my film it both mirrors what I go through because you're always making something that's away from you but part of you and then you know the scene of her selling and trying to sell a
story III took that almost verbatim from the book because you know I know exactly I know exactly what that is to sit in front of somebody and try to sell them a story and they're telling me I need to make changes and I'm figuring out how many changes I can make and still live with myself but I need the money you know that's that's something I understand and also these characters are so

close

to me so I don't know I sort of feel like I need a chart to explain that but I think
I mean it for so long there's a sense in the studio but they had to be you know we're making films for male audience is that changing I mean what's Hollywood right you know like it's different filmmakers like things like to if you have women tell our own stories then it's changing because it's our perspective you know the way and we were talking about this that like when people always ask like what does it feel like to be a female director and it's like I've never
driven anything else in my life I don't I can't compare the two I can't be like so it's just a different perspective well I also think that I'm just wholesale stealing this from Meryl Streep because she's very smart and she said this to me I I think it's hard to make a diagnosis in a way because you know when you think about the movies and the and the female characters and the actresses in the in the 30s and the 40s and the 50s and you think about Carole Lombard and
Rosalind Russell and they have things that they could do in films you know they're great characters they they didn't invent them yesterday and but I Merrill's said this she said well Rosalind Russell can come in and yell at anyone and give him what for because there's no actual tenth chance she's gonna take his job like in this day and age there's an actual chance that you'll take their job so it becomes less less inviting to have a woman come in and give you what for
if she's gonna take your job and I was like well you're just smarter than everyone Meryl Streep can I say for years I was you know I get a documentary on American cinema 20 years ago whatever and I did a whole segment 15 12 to 15 minutes an Ida Lupino oh you know and there's a woman who you know is watched a hitchhiker that the hitchhikers incredible a bigamist and not wanted and so my thing was that I never I wish sometimes you take credits off a picture mmm you know I looked at
Archipelago Joanna hogs film I had no I do is directed by one of her movies are great yeah yes I love with it I didn't know and then we connected or whatever I wanted of working and also the world has changed you know it's it's post-world War two long time now so everything changed and the the trauma of the sixties and seventies is the generations that even remembered those films in the theater are gone so this is the new world if it different in Brazil but oh you're dealing with
a pretty reactionary well mom work on being able to do my work but for the bacillus cinema is a very tough moment yeah he's really dis constructing everything that we built in the last 15 years brazilian cinema i mean in the 90s before a short city of god we were producing like nine films a year last year there was 150 so the industry really boomed and TV industry already also boomed but now he's really blocking order you know he's been a difficult moment what do you most like about
the filmmaking process and what you most dislike I think a good set my like set as well but I do most least to grab things quiet an experiment I mean like we always say making it's the price you pay to get to the editing script you change the acting I think it's because

directors

by their nature are control freaks is what kind of leads us to this and there's nowhere you have more control than in the editing room there's always these variables makes it fun my set is fun casting a
movie is fun but it's a little out of control you get to an editing room and you finally good well I'm trying to get control out of control yes that's attention training those horses you know that's the great you must don't get an actress yeah it's interesting to me I was thinking when you all were talking how many and first of all this tangent but I but it's so interesting to me to watch people who make films about face and in some ways I feel like everyone here has
made a film about faith and I remember than that anyway and sometimes it's directly about phasic silence is directly about faith you know but I do think it's um I think we're always trying to if you give that out anyway that's another I'll I'll stink that thought later but Meryl say well for me I like set and I like being on set I mean III feel I feel very deeply that movies are made in prep I don't by the time you're on set it's too late it's happening I
feel quite vividly that every second you spend doing one thing is the second you don't spend doing something else now that's true for your entire life but I feel it most vividly on a film set and kind of always asking is it good enough can you is it did you you never feel like you got it but maybe it's gonna be good enough and I I don't know whatever the negotiation of time and art is it's absurd to have a time to art form each act but it's also beautiful because
we're all on a dreamer exactly negotiating with yourself it's not good but let's move on that's very hard that's people it's the only art form that exists with that there's you actually have to get it done and not when the Sun goes right because you're never only day to do that happy because you have that location with all the hundreds of people there and I mean true it's different I mean deadlines are good too because they get create it's good you want to
create print I mean weather where there aren't parameters in filmmaking I think we all kind of create our own rules Giles do you want to have anything well no I was gonna say about the faith thing I what I love about production is it is an act of faith you know every day you show up on set is it gonna rain is it gonna what's going to happen and then if you know what you want to say like if the circumstances aren't what you expect you have to change what you were expecting and you to
make the best out of that situation and so many times you know when I look back in seeing the final film I think oh my gosh like this worked out so much better than what I could have planned for example I saw it in China at my grandfather's grave you know my grandfather died when I left right after I left China I was six I had never saw him again and every time I went back it was just to visit his grave and we shot a scene in the cemetery and we couldn't get permission to shoot at anyone
else's grave so I said let's shoot up my grandfather's grave so we were there you know and we were tech scouting and the storm clouds are coming in and I stepped away and I saw that you know people my producers and this whole crew standing around my grandfather's grave feel that electricity like that's why I'm a filmmaker you know and that's is it fiction is it autobiographical like it kind of blends you know and it's just magical no complicated was it shoot in
China it's funny because the film is about like cultural differences and then there were cultural differences on set you know the way that people talk to each other the hierarchy is different you know getting to set people also didn't call me by my name they just called me director and you had to get used to that it's very strange because like then we shot in New York and I came back and they were like what do you need Lulu what like like director what can we get the drugs and I had
to learn like a different language because sometimes my DP and I would be saying we'd just be talking to each other and we'd say I don't know like I love the shot but that tree is not great so like should we move and we're like let's think about that we turn around and I we turn back around and somebody would be chopping down the tree we were like what are you they were like oh well someone's heard you saying that the tree and you're like but I didn't mean for
okay well it's gone now and I had to be careful from that point on of what yeah it's happening and you're like oh can you pass me that thing and they're like oh no no that's not the union says I can't no you can't talk to her you gotta talk to no no I mean that having an idea and it suddenly when I was shooting the constant gunner we were location scouting there was some camels I said well would be nice if I if you had some cameras and we just drove by and then two
months later the producer called me for a meeting because they're bringing camels from the ATO for the whole set I said just a dusting a dusting of the set okay the producers came to me said Marty this is Italy they think you're the biggest thing right yeah they're bringing Matterhorn I mean I did I realize all they're right okay how tough do you have to be to be a director do you have to be prepared to make enemies do you have to be prepared have people not like you I mean I
directors roundtable todd phillips martin scorsese greta gerwig noah baumbach close up
used to joke and say directing as you wake up you have 42 fights and you go to bed yeah but but you also have to have an incredible amount of empathy with actors and really understand what they're doing and how they're putting themselves on the line so yeah you have to be tough in certain regard with the studio with with with sometimes with the crew as far as moving at the certain clip and all that but you also have to have a great amount of empathy yeah yeah so it's a mixture and
communication maybe it's about clarity of so often especially shooting in foreign countries it can be you were saying this before leather some point about it can be a miscommunication oh yes you're fighting right and you think you're being tough but it's like that with all departments with you know I haven't worked with the studio but with producers so often you're fighting it's really just about like oh you didn't understand what I was trying to do and what I was
saying and you know and sometimes you go what it's it's because I say so and you can do that and you can be tough but I find it works a lot better if you say let me explain to you why this is important yes yeah exactly it takes the time the thing I always say they sometimes that's like don't ever say to me but you said I'm sure I did say it but it's like but now and and I find a lot of you know what you want to create time to change your mind you know you go in with this
battle plan you've got all this stuff you know like you're saying are you I mean if you prep everything you go in there and then you want to have the freedom to do what's happening there and sometimes it's very it matches up with what you brought in and sometimes it doesn't at all and usually bored I don't storyboard because because I can't draw well enough and I don't I don't like having another barrier like bringing hiring somebody I know I do I do i when I
was a kid oh well if the picture is and I kind of imagine it here and if script depends the script has to be open enough the scenes have to be open up for us to improvise if we need but there's certain editing patterns we were talking about that that's I I know have to be done that way in a picture yeah and if the film is unless day shooting I want to make sure that goes now that goes over here last summation of Christ we had no time and it's okay Jesus in the desert he comes in from
frame left and they said why frame but that's the way I imagine a frame like it's frame left and we're gonna move you know it could be right I said but it's gonna be frame left at this point because we have no time you know and so then other times there's some miraculous things that happen I mean you talk about a lot of things so Oh an irishman mmm oh just to look I knew it the look of Bob and Pacino when they're blue jamas and that changed everything even the entire crew
we just got yeah everything was very intimate and very sweet well I haven't seen you but I like when you said that I just remember dinero in his pajamas and Casino and thinking how that felt no this is different did you mind about anything on Joker I mean yeah all the time well you know I just think it's it was just listening as I'm going yeah I mean making movies is jazz it's not math it's not there's not a there's not a little way to do it you prep and you do but
then you come in like you said and it might just change on the day when you say change anything on Joker when we shoot we didn't do any reading I don't like reshooting I don't know why it's never been a thing for me we try and get it all yeah particular on this movie we didn't because what King was gonna keep the weight off for that much longer we were there was no going yeah that's why yeah you know that scene where he's dancing in the bathroom is scripted as an
entirely different scene and we went in to shoot that scene that day and he's supposed to go and he gets in he had just done something cataclysmic in the movie and then he goes into this little rundown bathroom in a run-down park and he it's gonna wash his makeup off and hide the gun under a thing and we me and Joaquim we're on the set and we just like my ass doesn't really feel like the Arthur we've been filming now for four or five weeks it doesn't seem like Arthur what
did he see this in a movie why does he care to get rid of evidence like it's just not him so we sat around for 45 minutes while you know the crews outside just thinking about other possibilities and I ended up playing him a piece of score from Hildur who is our composer she had been sending me this beautiful music and I just started playing the score from off of my iphone and he started doing this dance and we just was like wait that's the scene they call the operator even tell the
operator what we're doing I just said start on foot yeah and played it off the phone and that was it and it becomes a transformation well I that wasn't really improvisational because we came true creating you but having done a lot of comedies we leave it loose for him when you mention that just jack I do it jest directly yes so I have a plan when they go to the set but then I mean whatever happens I acted portunity I have to make it different and change the script and change it I was
doing a movie with Robert Downey jr. once and he turned to me it feels like we're on the set of a student film any minute as a compliment because just like this very loose vibe and I've four comedies it's just what I learned works for comedies but I definitely carried it over with Joker and I think Joaquin for a particular actor I don't know that he would need that on every movie but for this movie that's what he needed he needed it to feel like an exploration you can fight
anything on Mary story no in terms of dialogue I mean the dialogue is all scripted it's the overlaps are scripted where people come in in the middle of lines you know we block it all very particularly but I for me I find by creating these parameters that actually gives what I think the actors would refer to as improvisation because it's not new lines but it's it's freedom its its its freedom and and you know there's a scene where they have a there's a Levin Paige scene
between Adam driver and Scarlett Johansson's characters and it starts slowly and it moves and and that was something we rehearsed extensively and blocked out extensively but with their obviously with them I we all all of it was both where I wanted to move the camera how I wanted to edit it the editing patterns when the

close

-ups I knew I wanted certain movements on cuts so I would say you know turn left here when you say this line lunge forward here it was actually inspired by a last picture
show the fight scene with them Jeff Bridges it's the argument of Jeff Bridges and Timothy bottoms when there may be cuts within the line which i think is in Touch of Evil 2 and then the glass goes on the yeah but so all of this was planned but what I knew within this that these two actors were gonna have to like really go there and they do I mean I watch that scene and I feel like I'm watching their movie at times because it's it's so coming from them and so in that way it feels
totally like improv then that way something actually Mike Nichols said about acting he was saying he thought about it when he used to do improvisation with the with Elaine May he said when you're improvising you're never thinking about like what what would my character do here Who am I what's my backstory he's like you're just so thrilled to have come up with this idea right now and you just can't wait to say and it's coming out right and and and he said and I've
always tried to get actors to the place with dialogue where it has that same feeling of it's right there and it's just you know it's just coming out know you and

Greta

or a couple how does she influence your work how do you influence hers I mean it's beyond advice it's like the roots are she's in there from the very beginning I mean it's not things that we've discussed even about things we might want to write together or other projects like sometimes we'll end
up like taking you know

Greta

has lines and all my movie you know but that are actually hers you know I mean maybe think she said in life but also think she wrote you know that I say can I use that you know cuz it's it's yeah we're always sort of thinking about things and so like somebody had asked me is go has graduated great what was it like sharing

Greta

marriage story for the first time I was like I don't even think of what the first time I mean there was the first time but
it was you know I felt like she knew kind of what she was going to see because of we were so in it together all the time similarly I mean know is my first reader and then also when both was Lady Bird and with Little Women I mean there would be days where I would say can you watch can you can you watch the dailies can you just because I think I have the thing can you look at this did I do you think I should is this idea gonna work or you know and and then he look at say I mean it was I mean and
it always will be but it but it's being

Noah

and relationship with no it's just it's in the it's all the time and and all the time I'm like we'll see something I mean the the I think he talked about was you the when we saw silence and there was the the moment of the way you shot the scene where they're talking to the Monsignor oh yes yes anyway and he paused it and was like it's actually it's great it's I'm one of the eye line teach person so Rico
looked at me said well that means we're gonna have to go because of the two priests a year and the money or the bishop is there at the Cardinal whatever and you jump the line on yeah but you go home on signior two months ago left shoulder and my right shoulder to Stephen it'd be like cutting between the two I'm an Irish you looked at me says this is crazy I don't know yeah let's do it the other way we looked at the other way is terrible go back to and we got back to the
mistake which really a mistake was I lived in marriage story I do this a few times because the movie is all about perspective is so much about perspective and about who who are we with and so when they're talking in the very beginning in the movie to the mediator I go the I did would do that exact thing and I did it again in the courtroom it was actually yesterday I asked Marty but the the us if it was intentional I but I had a feeling it felt in the best way like kind of something that work
because I could have always cut through him I mean there would be always the way it wasn't interesting but on set unset is where it happened and we looked at each and said okay let's do this object advice I think I know I think Spielberg you gave me great notes I met him over the course of a couple years ago but he had the post and and I we were both talking and I found him to be so generous and interesting and and totally willing to talk to me and I you know I was gonna go prep Little
Women and and he'd shot a Lincoln and it took place the same year I mean it it's right the same world and he opened up every research he had done he had how he decided to light things given that it was all candle light how had he decided when she shoot interiors he opens the camera here she shut drastic park with but he had me em smell sell you a celluloid because he said you have to shoot on film it's no it smells different he's like you cannot shoot a story that takes place in
1861 digitally you just can't you I won't let you do it and so I actually did end up shooting on film and I and when Tom Rothman asked me why I said I'm Steven Spielberg had me smell but then you know so I showed him the film and he did what he did which is so incredible is that he he talked to me for a long time and what he did was he gave it back to me he talked through the film from his memory and gave his notes as he remembered the movie so it's almost like he did the reverse
back to me of giving me back the movie and and he gave me you know he ran different ideas by him and he gave me and then he'd give it back to me he'd say okay so what you're saying is and then he he'd explain it again to me and it's just um it feels like such an honor to be able to talk with someone who's so thinks about how do we tell stories and how do we bring people into the stories and and and it's just it's not one thing it's everything about how you how
you talk through and communicate it and you know I think it maybe it could I don't know I think maybe for perhaps for all of you I don't know if it was cinema or nothing I don't know that it was cinema or nothing for me it might have been theater or something else but but it's a wonderful thing fernanda with it nothing for you well I'm an architect and before that I try it's real biologists but when I was finishing school I started making experimental videos and you know
video was just coming out small you mathematic videos and started doing some experimental stuff from museums this kind of thing and then I moved on to television and and and then to film was just surfing whatever was 17 I know you one point thought of entering the seminary yes I tried to what I was asked to leave the one-year preparatory was terrible it was only 15 years old I didn't I realized when I got in there this is a big commitment no one said it's not about yourself as this idea
of how you how you give to other people when you can be to other people I was too young I didn't understand there was this priest it was a mentor to me and he was extraordinary man just passed away a couple of years ago and he wanted to be like him but you can't you can't undergo try to try to make a vocation calling because we want to be like somebody you have to find your own and there were working-class people but you know we had no books in the house there was not a reading
culture and we couldn't go to theater it was too expensive so was always movies and that hasma you know and so and the streets were pretty tough Edie you make it in the street or you know the church wasn't bad st. Paxil Cathedral and I found that they were talking about other things that yeah I heard it in the family heard in the family but I found I found that there was something else going on there about um about compassion and about what our lives are supposed to be about and so I
tried and but I found it was channeled ultimately into I had no choice uh basically I was obsessed with the frame perforation by perforation do you think do you see like making films being an artist as a spiritual practice in a way or as a leadership in a way an artistic leadership yeah I've said that it I've said that enough people oh it's so pretentious and stuff but the point is that if you work that way and you got a gift let's say and you work is like a prayer yeah someone
you go to like its brain you know yeah I had that I thought actually I had like a little moment of Revelation when I watched two Pope's because first of all there's a quote in there that says truth is vital but without love it is unbearable this is Benedict yes it is but I heard it yeah because I didn't know that much about his story until I saw the film and then you know his whole philosophy of like spiritual guidance how do you do it from within a palace you know how do you do it
if you are up there separated from the people right and and and he is part of the people he says the carnival is over so he doesn't want to wear the costume he doesn't and it really made me think cuz I'm very new to all this you know and this year I've been like in cars and hotels and like you know a team of people suddenly around me and it's like like literally six months ago I was like good norm I was just like talk to people some wanted to talk to me I just talked to them
and suddenly it's like this kind of separation I've been dealing with it and I and when I watched your movie I had this moment of Revelation of like this is why this year has actually been such a struggle because how do I keep creating if I'm separated how do I you know we're trying to figure out where to live and like we're gonna move and get how I'm like I don't I don't want to live in the Hills I don't want to live up there you know I wanna live in a city I
want to walk out and be able to like talk to the Baker I don't know it's a big test it's a test to to you know you have to hold on to the creativity how did I see what's more what the value was in the creativity they say wait you know I was out here for 10 years and you know I found that I found that you know friend got a car and I had a car and then they got a nicer car and then I understand that I went this way making the films but the point was that ultimately I can't see
how you could sink into a situation where you think of the temporal issues you think of a bigger house you think of a field beyond to buy that house and what are you gonna do with it you have to go back to the creativity and protect that and the only thing I could advise and maybe under the circumstances now you know lived with the the a special person kind of situation but to facilitate you to continue to focus because they help a heart having a partner should say Lulu's with Mary Jenkins
is a director does that help or hurt you with with your current with with the artistic side of your work it helps because I have the support I don't think that anyone can possibly know what we do and there are so many women doing this to where I'm like you know I'm not home I'm not gonna be home for months you know and are you gonna be okay with that like not a gender thing but I think few partners would be okay with that you know and um and but I do think it's specifically
with women it's it's even harder and so it helps to have somebody who's been through this who knows but we don't collaborate in the way that you guys do either there is a lot more separation because you know we've been together maybe for less amount of time but but also I like having that separation you know I like having but you guys have had a long working relationship you know as well as being like romantic partners but I think for me it's nice to have the separation
because because yeah we come from two different worlds and it's also nice to like have him be really fresh eyes and also we're just different people we approach things very differently like being recently visit this is too much information but we recently got in a fight about where to live and just like I've been looking at houses in the hills it was you didn't ask me and he was like it's such a great surprise right and he was like so excited about it and I was like I
don't want to live in the Hills I want to live with the people on the ground I'm gonna be in the city and he's like but then we won't have a view you know those are the things like it helps because we're making yeah like it's so difficult like it takes over your entire life what we do you don't get to just go home at the end of the night or on weekends you know and and you don't get to stick to plans that you've made you know like so often you're like I
know you've been sitting in that restaurant for three hours but I'm still in the sound mixin it's our final day and I've you know if you say that what can you just do it another day can you just add another day well like I've been sitting here you know but he gets that he's like oh it's your last day like this is a small budget film there's no way they're gonna go for it I'm good yeah I'm just gonna keep drinking yeah that is a huge thing that you
don't have to worry about when you're stress out what moment professionally has tested you the most probably this what we've gone through on this picture you know with was was pretty rough as as crazy as it sounds again now through the media that the movie is you know made to inspire violence or to all the things that really weren't in there for me in what Kenan we were making the film there's no need to be misunderstood before anybody saw it so to me that was a great test of
just alright we'll just keep calm and let the movie speak for itself when people can finally see it I mean you know when we premiered at Venice and we had a great screening in Venice when the golden line it was a huge deal from that moment on everything changed weirdly you know people come at it as a target and start talking about again why it's dangerous and really when we made a movie about childhood drama and the loss of compassion and lack of love and in a person's life and what
that might do but everybody always wants to talk about the the spark and not the powder but the films really about the powder what makes that happened you know but it's a much easier and reductive way to just you know so that for me I mean I'm sure there are other things but I'm just trying to tide in doesn't mean I went through recently I wonder for Marty it was last in tatius temptation I would assume yeah you're right all right less temptation sight unseen condemned by
very conservative elements a Christian evangelicals which I have you know I'm Roman Catholic it's a different thing and even then many many hierarchy of the church condemned it without seeing it although pope john paul ii on a plane was asked to at least what does he think of he said well i haven't seen the film but I listen to my College of Cardinals but in any event and still condemned it or what no well it stayed condemned but he didn't condemn it but Mike I don't I
don't know what he personally thought he I don't think he saw the film but the point is that it was really an attempt to understand more about the issue of faith really understand this concept of the Incarnation one would like to get into that sort of thing it is not the place for it but the point is to really explore and have an intelligent conversation about a minute please everybody I know that but by the time we were I don't even think we even really we could have edited for
another month or so but we stopped in a way and we had to release the film when all over the world went to Venice but we didn't get presented in Venice but out of competition and that was a firestorm and in any event I really really truly believed in it and still do well it took me years later to find the other way to go further and that was silence to go deeper into it you know so that what happens is that the iconography of the Last Temptation is so so you know it sets off people right
away better to go behind sohow go around the iconography but I wanted to tell the story that cousins aqus wrote in the book it's just an idea it's not based on the Bible it's not based on New Testaments so in any event it was a devastating it was dangerous but in a funny way something happened about a week before it opened when I was watching all this stuff go on I realize no it's not the film isn't even important it's not important it's about what's happening now
and it saddened me but it made me realize maybe art is important but there's something beyond that you know and that's what I had to deal with in myself really well I had some fools of four years and collapsed but I think the hardest thing was that I directed the opening of the Olympic ceremony in Rio in 2016 with two friends and I had never directed some life and it's not even theatre so there was a really big challenge I have to talk about my country to the whole world like three
billion viewers that was so during this process I managed to director an opera something life to see how to play and the budget was going down down down from from the beginning to be able to like ten times less money this was challenging but they're definitely creatively I think there were scenes in marriage story there was there was that where I felt usually the separation I can feel as a director from from the emotional content of a scene I felt that I actually had to stop and I mean they
had to stop it I also had to stop and take walks around the block and like shake it off in a way that I haven't had before on a set where I usually feel at that point you know with all the planning I think I can be moved by with something in actors doing I am all the time but but it feels in the movie in a way I'm responding you know this felt something like there was there was thought of I felt a real responsibility there I all of mine are petty like people telling me without me asking
that they didn't like my movie it wasn't no no I mean no truly for me you know I saw I so badly wanted to be part of making making movies and making making art and when you feel like oh how am I ever gonna get to that how is that ever gonna work out that those are the those are the moments that's mine to really well when I was trying to make the farewell American producers said this is not an American film it's a maybe a Chinese film you should maybe go talk to Chinese investors
I went and talked to Chinese investors and they said Chinese people are not gonna get it if your main character has this Western point of view right and so and then both sides were like but we would be interested in making it if you change these elements if you made it funnier for you if you brought home a form American boyfriend who didn't know I've used top six and everyone could laugh you know and and - what Gretta was saying earlier it's almost like I feel like my whole life
subconsciously I've gotten used to compromising and it's not even a question it's just you get used to it cuz you go that's the only way to get something made the question is just how far and still keep my sanity and still keep some semblance of what I'm trying to say and it and so I didn't make the film because I couldn't get it set up but I ended up doing that this particular story for this American life and that happened very quickly it would you know it's a
bunch of journalists and they said this story is so interesting it's fact so they asked a bunch of questions we did a bunch of interviews and I recorded I narrated the whole story I was in a studio in New York by myself at 10 p.m. with my producer and into a microphone with some whiskey and and then I went out for dinner after with my friend and we were celebrating but I started sobbing I started crying because I said it was like what's going on your story's gonna be heard you know
within 48 hours by so many people and you finally get to tell your story and I said I've never experienced that kind of purity of storytelling before uncompromised where someone just said what's your story and tell me how that made you feel and tell me what happened as opposed to how do we change it to work for the marketplace and now that I've experienced it I've realized that for the last 10 years I've been in the wrong industry I've been so focused on the goal of like
just you know proving to my parents that I could do it and I can like make a living doing it that I don't fit in in this industry because they tell me that I have to find my voice that's the way to become a great filmmaker but the industry doesn't want my voice and why am I doing this like it takes so much money so much time so much energy and you know with this American life reaches like four million people in two weeks and it's my voice literally into the microphone isn't
that more powerful isn't that more so you go to abandon filmmaking yeah really I wanted to abandon filmmaking and I asked iron then they said that they were interested in potentially having me do an internship for six months and I was gonna leave to go work for public radio because I also got paid more on public radio than I ever did in film for you know one month of work and 48 hours later after the story aired producers called and asked me to make the film and it was because I had this
change of this realization that I was ready to leave that when they called I said I'm not gonna make it unless I can make it the same way that I made the story for this American life and I'm not even gonna take the meeting unless they agree I'm not changing the cast I'm not changing the way I'm the language I don't care what the budget is I just need enough budget to make the film to go to China to shoot there to cast people but yeah and and that was how I picked my
partners and that was the thing that drove me the entire project every decision that I fought for it was going back to that feeling in the studio of being an uncompromised storyteller and every time I got really difficult going back to one of the things that Barry really helped me with he was he would say that a great film is made in the last 10% and so every time you feel that you're stuck just think another 10% so it became like a joke because every time I'd be like just two more
frames just and they were like is this your 10% you know my editor would say that everyone would say that but I and now I truly believe that it was because I pushed that just like millimeters centimeters and that's how you make it look good I want to thank you what a great story to end on yeah thank you very very much thank you thank you hi my name is Fernanda Morales I am a creditor way I am

Noah

Baumbach

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