Monday, January 10, 2000

Interview: Rough Cut Chat Transcript

RoughCut Chat Transcript
January 10, 2000

pt_anderson2000: Hello. Let's get it on!


honey_crash asks: Magnolia was amazing, as was Boogie Nights, what is your inspiration when directing such original, emotional films?

pt_anderson2000: I guess I just am inspired by what's happening around me more directly, I am usually influenced by music.

honey_crash asks: Love the music in the film. How did you hook up with Aimee Mann?

pt_anderson2000: Aimee Mann is married to Michael Penn and Michael Penn scored my first two films. Besides that, I would have sought her out anyway if there wasn't that personal link only because I was such a big fan of her work

Marty2634 asks: Hello P.T., Describe what the film "Magnolia" is about?

pt_anderson2000: About 3 hours long. In addition...I suppose it's about.... oh shit.... um....I've really got to figure out an answer to this question. Ultimately, it's about the relationship between parents and their children.

zooey_franny asks: do you feel like you deserve the Oscar for this film?? (I do!)

pt_anderson2000: Fuck yeah!!! Except I have no chance.

deepcore2 asks: What does your daily writing process consist of? Are you disciplined to work a certain amount of hours a day or does that vary wildly?

pt_anderson2000: It does vary, but generally I write for about 3 hours a day and very very early in the morning. Other times, as you propel towards shooting that all changes.

ftjmackey asks: How do you feel about Magnolia's first weekend in wide release? How important is commercial success?

pt_anderson2000: I'm pretty happy with this past weekend. I hope that this is a film that can stay in theaters for a long, long time. I'm not looking to make all the money in one weekend but over months because of the length of the film, they have to make time to see it. So the longer it's available to them the better the chance they will see it, the way it was meant to be seen.... in a theater. And commercial success is very important to me.

manolis_varnassinger asks: Paul in what age did you start your career and what was the first play you wrote

pt_anderson2000: I guess you could say I'm a 29 year veteran. Because this is all I ever wanted to do. And I've never written a play, but the first script I wrote... I was probably 13 or 14.

roxy1621 asks: From your point of view, what's the one thing that someone needs to become an actor or actress?

pt_anderson2000: I actually think that acting is one skill that really benefits from classes and education. The Atlantic Theater Company and all of Bill Macy's friends... Wonderful courses on film acting. All my favorite actors have studied very very hard the trick of acting.

simulos asks: "Magnolia" includes various characters that work or are involved in the television industry. Were you drawn to these characters because of the two-headed nature of television to bring people together and/or alienate them from each other (both for people

pt_anderson2000: Sure

twocutegrrls3 asks: What does the title mean?

pt_anderson2000: (laughs) It means...something that I haven't quite figured out yet.

simulos asks: Have you been a longtime fan of Aimee Mann's music, and how exactly did her work come to inspire "Magnolia?"

pt_anderson2000: I have been a very long time fan of Aimee's. I had her two solo records on constantly as I was editing Boogie Nights and beginning to write Magnolia. And in addition to that I was privy to demos that Aimee was working on for her upcoming record. A very specific line goes "now that I've met you, do you object to never seeing me again". That line was a major influence concerning the theme of
feeling unlovable or lonely.

nathaniel_withnail asks: Without meaning to be overly complimentary, I would like to congratulate you on Magnolia. I thought it was a beautiful, captivating film...And my question is...hmm...what was the intended significance of the frogs falling from the sky?

pt_anderson2000: If I truly answered that you'd hate me in the morning, but it is safe to say that it is something that really does happen. And it is something that at certain times of your life could make total and perfect sense and those times are usually times of pain

ryan_rd asks: I just caught John C. Reilly doing an interview on a Toronto news station, and the interviewer's very first question revealed the ending of the movie. Similarly, critic David Denby revealed the ending in his the first paragraph of his review. Have you had an opportunity to contact (and berate) any of the many inane critics who have ruined the big surprise?

pt_anderson2000: I've responded in print articles to David Denby and to any other film-hating moron who might want to do such things. Their hatred of movies, whether they like them or not, is very clear.

SLCPunk asks: Hello, Magnolia's screen count of 1034 seems a bit low. Will New Line be adding any screens this weekend?

pt_anderson2000: No. The plan is to keep the film on better screens as opposed to a bunch of screens. We may expand in a few weeks, if things go real well.

SLCPunk asks: Have you been to a local theater to watch any audience reaction? What did they think?

pt_anderson2000: I have been to New York and L.A. screenings and they seem to have gone great. And it's one of the most exciting and nerve racking parts
of the job. I plan on visiting theaters in the rest of the country in the next couple of weeks.

ZEPPELINJUNKY72 asks: Paul, hi, first off let me say that I really enjoyed boogie nights, I think everyone did a great job!! I also liked the music you used in that, my question is, who picks the music?

pt_anderson2000: I do.

deepcore2 asks: What is the secret to drawing out the best performance from an actor?

pt_anderson2000: I don't know if it's a secret, but my feeling is that if the writing is there, the performance will be there. The directing doesn't have much to do with it, it's all about the writing.

SLCPunk asks: I caught the tail end of Cigarettes & Coffee on IFC a long time ago, is there any way I can see the entire movie on tape, DVD, cable, etc?

pt_anderson2000: Good god, no! I'm not exactly proud of that movie in retrospect

tiffanygem asks: Is Fiona the BOMB or what?!!!!!!!!!!

pt_anderson2000: Yes. Yes. Yeah. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Yes.

stuck_guy asks: I recently completed my first film and am wondering if Paul could share some the difficulties he has encountered, especially early on with "Hard Eight", with distributors and how one might avoid similar situations.

pt_anderson2000: Boy oh boy....Keep it cool. Keep it together. Don't lose your temper. Pretend that you're listening and just do your thing. Other than that, it's pretty damned tough

ggecko0 asks: I thought magnolia was too long why did you stick with a 3 hour film?

pt_anderson2000: It was conceived as a 3 hour film. At a certain point, you really have to just commit to that sort of length. And while I won't make a 3 hour film every time. Every once in a while, it's nice to indulge in that sort of canvas and style. I apologize if you thought it was too long

WedgE421 asks: PT Anderson is my god!!

pt_anderson2000: My God!!!!!

Marty2634 asks: Hello P.T., Which actors or actresses would you most like to work with in the future?

pt_anderson2000: Adam Sandler

gattman37 asks: Will you be coming to Australia to promote Magnolia?

pt_anderson2000: Yes. When the film comes out there.

film_fantom asks: PT Anderson, Have you started thinking about your next project?

pt_anderson2000: Yes. My lips are sealed

ryantbennett asks: Was there as much improv on Magnolia as there was on Boogie Nights?

pt_anderson2000: No. There wasn't much improv at all on Magnolia. We just took a different approach to making a movie this time.

markymark045 asks: Any advice on beginning steps when writing a screenplay?

pt_anderson2000: Marky Mark? You should know the answer to that. Get in your underwear. Let them see what you've got.

simulos asks: "Boogie Nights" and "Magnolia" are different in subject matter. But what would you say are some of the aesthetic differences between those two films of yours?

pt_anderson2000: I would want someone else to say that for me. I'm enough of a blabbermouth as it is. But I appreciate the question.

qwerty_1999_ca asks: what kind of music do u listen 2 ??

pt_anderson2000: Fiona Apple. Aimee Mann. Jon Brion. Michael Penn. On top of that...a massive laundry list that hopefully I'll be able to expose in my future movies. I wish I were a musician.

goodboy1214 asks: hey Paul- did you intend for tom to be so homoerotic?

pt_anderson2000: What's homoerotic mean?

Andromeda822 asks: where did you get the idea to include the part about exodus 8:2? what does it symbolize to you?

pt_anderson2000: It's from the Bible ......have I successfully unanswered that question?

zooey_franny asks: I was surprised by Joel Siegel's review, what's it like to work in an industry where people are paid to criticize/dissect your work?

pt_anderson2000: It's wonderful and encouraging. I keep on doing what I do because if Joel Siegel doesn't like it, it means I'm fucking great and if Joel Siegel ever likes a movie that I make, I'll either shoot him or stop making movies.

tyler_durden_1 asks: I like the kid who played Stanley Spector way better than that annoying "I SEE DEAD PEOPLE:" kid where did you get him?

pt_anderson2000: First off, I wonder if that's the same Tyler Durden from Australia. And if so, hello. And second off, my casting director found Jeremy Blackman.

ryantbennett asks: Did you see Being John Malkovich? What do you think?

pt_anderson2000: I haven't seen it yet because I've been working. I'm dying to see it because I think Spike Jonze is an incredibly clever filmmaker. The trailer is incredibly funny.

dr_strangelove_420 asks: Does Mark Wahlberg actually have a huge cock?

pt_anderson2000: You bet.

zigmondSH asks: Mr. Anderson--How did you secure final cut with New Line. Usually, that was reserved for directors like Kubrick, Coppola, or Spielberg.

pt_anderson2000: I don't know.... I asked for it and they gave it to me. I work with a great studio who is completely supportive.

BluEyedDude asks: Would you classify yourself as a post-modern movie-maker?

pt_anderson2000: Post-modern what the... who the... how that I'm not sure, but it sounds really cool.

Chex25 asks: As a film student, I am curious. Has "breaking in" to the industry been a challenge? And do you feel that with the advent of such daring movies as "Fight Club", "Being John Malkovich", "American Beauty" and "Blair Witch" changed the way movies are being made? In short, do you think the BIG HOLLYWOOD is finally giving substance over special effects?

pt_anderson2000: Yes, yes, yes I do

nathaniel_withnail asks: Which films do you find inspirational to you?

pt_anderson2000: Lately, I've been obsessed with Adam Sandler's movies and I've been revisiting Max Ophul's stuff as well.

twothings_du asks: I am a student studying under a professor from 2nd City, how do you feel improv sessions impact your writing?

pt_anderson2000: Massively, especially all the Chicago style improv. Being friends with John Reilly, the majority of John Reilly's dialogue from Magnolia came from improv conversations a few years before hand.

thedudeisnotin asks: Jennifer Jason Leigh was in the closing credits, what did she do?

pt_anderson2000: She's a very close friend of mine and she's always incredibly helpful in bouncing ideas off of. I generally show her early cuts of the film. I did the same with Boogie Nights and I just hope to work with her someday.

A_Creative_Genius asks: What is the meaning of life?

pt_anderson2000: I think it's a big fat pound of love.

eugene68 asks: Would you ever consider co-directing with Ron Jeremy???

pt_anderson2000: You mean again???

homer7689 asks: How does it feel to have so many fans?

pt_anderson2000: I hope that's true because it makes me feel great.

arotting asks: Do you storyboard at all?

pt_anderson2000: Not really. There's one key sequence towards the end of the film with many special effects which was storyboarded but besides that, no.

SLCPunk asks: Is there any chance you will be doing running commentary for the Magnolia DVD? I loved your Hard Eight/Sydney and Boogie Nights commentary tracks.

pt_anderson2000: I'm going to start learning how to keep my mouth shut. So the answer is "no."

nightwing323 asks: will there be a mortal kombat three and will u be directing it?

pt_anderson2000: (laughs) No. I'm going to set my sights on making Soldier 2 instead
I'm far more interested in working with Kurt again.

Traceym937 asks: Hey Paul...what are you wearing? ;)

pt_anderson2000: Nothing but my shoes.

waynstock asks: PT do you chat online and hangout on the internet often?

pt_anderson2000: Are you flirting with me?

SLCPunk asks: Hello, I loved Magnolia. Will you be re-scheduling an appearance for Howard Stern?

pt_anderson2000: No

BluEyedDude asks: Orson Welles or Tarantino?

pt_anderson2000: John Carpenter

moritundt asks: In the future do you ever hope to make a massive $100 million budget movie?

pt_anderson2000: Noooo....

stephen_macauley asks: What is your favorite motion picture of all time?

pt_anderson2000: I don't know... I really don't know

ftjmackey asks: What were the origins of the character of Frank T.J. Mackey?

pt_anderson2000: I had a tape that was surreptitiously made of two guys talking about how to seduce women and I took what they said and ran with it. On top of that, there are and have been real guys like Frank TJ Mackey. Eric Weber is the most famous of all of them.

mattoneill asks: Mr. Anderson, in Don Delillo's novel "Libra" the main CIA operative who decides to change the assassination of JFK from a fake the real deal is named TJ Mackey. Is this 'coincidence' or a nod. An odd name, indeed.

pt_anderson2000: That's a coincidence. But it's funny... wow... a total coincidence. But I'm guessing that it might now be a nod, so maybe it just got in my brain.

nathaniel_withnail asks: Not that I think there need always be a moral to a film/novel, but do you think there is a uniting conclusion to Magnolia, and if so, what is it?

pt_anderson2000: Be nicer to your kids.

SLCPunk asks: If you could pick ONE Oscar nomination for this movie, what or who would you want nominated?

pt_anderson2000: Jon Brion's score.

stephen_macauley asks: Do you believe in luck, or predetermined fate Mr. Anderson?

pt_anderson2000: I believe it's time for me to go....Please buy many tickets to Magnolia, even if you don't go see it. And thank you very much. I appreciate everyone being interested.

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