Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sean Penn On Directing, On Directors, On Actors Trying to Direct

Into the Wild opens Friday, September 28, at the Ritz Five and Showcase At the Ritz Center in Voorhees, NJ. It's beautiful, sad, funny -- an elegaic open-road odyssey about a college kid, Chris McCandless (Emile Hirsch), who takes off on a vagabond journey across America, winding up in the Alaskan outback.

Here's director Sean Penn talking about a few of the directors he's worked with, directors who have influenced his approach to filmmaking:

"Terry Malick, Clint Eastwood and Alejandro González Iñárritu probably all were influential in terms of the process. You know, Terry Malick’s movies, from a young age, reminded me of how I see life, and so I would say that in the visual scheme of things that we resonated … in the family of Terry, of course, that would for me be quite a nice family to be a part of. Or aspire to be part of.... Terry might have shown me that it was legal in film to tie the fabric of the story together in a way that I had responed to in his movies. [His movies] represented the way that I dreamed, in a sense."

Here's Penn on the stigma of being a movie star who wants to direct (doesn't everybody?), after acknowledging that Into the Wild is on a scale, and scope, that his first three films never got near.

"Some of that represents the way the business works. The very first film I tried to get done as a director had a huge scope to it. But you’re viewed as an actor who wants to direct movies, and then you’re a kid, with a leather jacket on and a cigatette in your mouth, and they can’t quite conceive that you may know how to tell a story….

"And then, after that, you kind of self-limit, you approach projects that are on a scope of something you might be able to get done. Finally you say `F--- that. It’s not their fault that they don’t trust you. Why don’t you commit to this f---ing thing and tell the story that you want to tell, the way you want to tell it?' And what happens then is that you get more support."


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