Monday, June 23, 2003
Interview: BAM Q&A
HOST: Welcome to the BAM cinemateque. We are three-quarters through our Village Voice series, which has been a tremendous success. And I’d really like to thank you all for coming here. I hope that you will join me in welcoming Paul Thomas Anderson, the wonderful director of tonight’s film, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. (Applause). Obviously everyone is really happy to have you both here at BAM. I’m sure that you all enjoyed the film. Remember, no flash photography during the Q&A. And I hope that everybody has a moment to sign up for our mailing list and get the calendar and all the information about the upcoming programs. And now, it is my privilege to introduce Dennis Lim, the critic from the Village Voice who is going to be moderating tonight’s discussion.
PT ANDERSON: (In A Spooky Voice) No flash photographyyyyyyy. (Pause) It’s ok. (Audience Laughs)
DENNIS LIM: Thank you all for coming. I don’t think these gentlemen need an introduction. Paul is the director of four features – one of which you’ve just seen, Punch-Drunk Love, also Magnolia, Boogie Nights and Sydney, also known as Hard Eight (Applause). And Philip Seymour Hoffman actually appears in all four films and also recently in films like Love Liza, Owning Mahony and on stage in plays like True West. I’m really glad they’re both here this evening. (Applause) I guess I’ll start out with the first question. If you could maybe start by talking about your working relationship with each other - - cause you’ve done four films and I know Philip played very different roles in each film. So can you talk about how you first came to know each other and how your working relationship has evolved over the years?
PTA: Well. I saw the Martin Brest movie, Scent of a Woman, which was actually on TV the other night. Watching the movie again was great because it reminded me of the moment when I first saw Phil. He did this weird crazy movement with his hand and I just thought, “God. That guy is so great. Soooo great. Such a great actor. I’d love to work with him someday.” When I went to make Hard Eight, there was a part [for Phil] and I just talked to him on the phone and arranged the deal with his agent. He came up to Reno. The day that I met him was the day we shot the scene. And then from meeting him we developed a friendship. The great thing about our friendship, for me, is to write a movie. To write the part for him in Boogie Nights. It’s nice because you’re really writing for somebody that you know. You’re not just writing for somebody that you see and meet in the movies. You’re now writing for somebody that…you’ve seen in the movie but somebody that you know a bit better and someone that you’d like to do something good for. Y’know. Work with. So then everything kinda worked from there.
PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN: The year before he called me about Hard Eight, I had seen…I was at Sundance for an afternoon and basically went to see this short film that a friend of mine was in. And the short film that my friend was in happened to be Paul’s short film. Paul was about 22-years old. Coffee and Cigarettes. It was a great short film. So about a year passed and I got a call from my manager saying this guy Paul Thomas Anderson wrote this film and he wants you to read it. I finished reading the screenplay and I immediately knew it was the same guy that had done the short. I just knew it. We just became friends. We’ve been more friends than anything. The good thing is that when he writes for me there is a certain knowledge he has of who I am that he’s trying to put there.
Q: I noticed one of the last names in the credits was Hermelin. I know some of the people at Associates In Science. So I was wondering why you chose to use one of the Hermelin sisters there. And also I’ve noticed lately that you’ve been dealing a lot with male inadequacy. Why do you choose to deal with that?
PTA: Um. I don’t know about male inadequacy. I don’t know anything about that. (Audience Laughs)
PSH: (Sarcastic) Nothing about that. Who’re they talking about?
PTA: I Don’t know. (Long pause) Hi. (Laughter) The Hermelin sisters. The name Hermelin, you actually mention Associates In Science and Associates In Science make posters. They actually worked on the Boogie Nights stuff.
Q: (Simultaneously) They did all the Boogie Nights stuff.
PTA: I know. They did Boogie Nights (Audience Laughs) But I was looking for sister. And it was actually pure coincidence the connection between the Hermelin sister and the people at Associates In Science. We were looking for seven sisters and my casting director came across… I’ve never gotten a straight answer on exactly how it all went down. Two of them were sisters and two of them were, I believe, nephews or cousins. So you have like four of the main sisters that are really connected and related and three are actors and found folk.
DL: Did the sister come first or the brothers
PTA: The sisters came first. The sisters came first and originally the part, the part of the four brothers, was written as two guys. Which I always knew was a little bit like, “I dunno about this. Two guys coming after the main character”. You’ve kinda been down that road. Phil and John [Reilly] were gonna play those parts. Something just wasn’t right about it. Phil and John always knew that and I knew that. We had actually even started shooting the movie and had no real solution to the problem. So I thought that I would go find some unknown actors. I really had a hard time finding actors to fill those parts. And I thought maybe we should go to Utah and find some local Utah actors.
DL: Why Utah?
PTA: That’s where Dean is from. I’d been to a town called Provo, Utah, which is a really bizarre place. You’ve never seen anything like Provo, Utah. It’s gay and it’s Mormon and there are Mexicans and they’re all racist a little bit. It’s weird. And that’s just…Provo is a good spot for a phone-sex place. My casting director came to me one day and she said, “Well I found this one guy”, then she showed me his picture and she said he’s got three crazy brothers that look bizarre and just like him. I thought it’d be so great to have the guy with seven sisters being chased by four blonde brothers. I thought it was a great concept. Almost like a fairy tale. Something really old-fashioned. It got to be like a myth story at that point.
Q: Hi. My name Stephen. I’m from Boston University. I just wrote my first short script that I wrote and I won this contest and I’m gonna be getting a bunch of money in the fall. I wanted to know if you had any advice for a first-time director?
PTA: How much money you got?
Q: I dunno. My parents are giving me like a hundred bucks.
PTA: Uh. You’re fucked. (Audience Laughs)
Q: I don’t have a budget yet. Any advice.
PTA: (Struggles For An Answer, Audience Laughs) Phil?
PSH: Oh God. (Laughs)
PTA: Get good actors. Y’know.
PSH: That’s a hard thing. You gotta get a bunch of people that also wanna make it. I mean that creatively. Then all of a sudden you have more than just your own head trying to figure out how you’re going to make it. Five peoples passionate about something is better than one.
PTA: I think that’s right. I do. Otherwise it’s like being on a baseball team by yourself. It’s not gonna be fun. You’re not gonna win. (Audience Laughs)
Q: I read in the LA times that after two weeks of shooting the film you scrapped it because you said you were making the same film. What exactly did you scrap.
PTA: Well. I remember that, too. It wasn’t exactly like the first two weeks were scrapped. Maybe it was like the first two or three weeks were really hard. There is still a lot that remains from the first two weeks. We actually started out trying to shoot the movie perfectly in order. The initial meeting of Adam and Emily we shot on one of the first mornings. The car crash was shot on the first day. That kinda stuff. Those scenes were great, but then there were other scenes that were not good. That were just bad. That were a combination of elements. I was working with some new crewmembers and was really sort of desperate to try and fuck myself up and do things differently for not only me but also everybody else around me. And that kind of ended up resulting in some good things, but just sort of made more trouble than it was really worth. I think I was just sort of nervous or undecided or just kind of…I’m not sure why exactly. I still haven’t figured it out, but it just took time to find footing. The nice thing was that most of the times previous to that, previous to this movie that I’ve made, you go to work and you know what you’re doing each day and you really have to be rigid. There is nothing about the scheduling of movies that is conducive to any kind of creative thinking. Just none of it allows you to actually fuck around, or scrap yesterday and say “God, that kinda sucked. Or that was really good and let’s keep doing that and change that”. It’s just the way that movies are normally scheduled does not allow for that. BUT, I think we’ve sort of done it enough and worked with the same crew enough. We sort of formulated a plan that allowed for that kind of stuff, but just really stole from people that I knew who make records. Making records is a much more creative environment. Fewer people. You can do it for longer stretches of time. Sometimes what it ends up being is that you indulge way too much. You don’t have a fire under your butt so you’re not kind of making decisions. You just have to balance that out and kind of make sure what’s right for you. I think we were taking advantage of the fact that we could screw around for a couple of weeks and find where we wanted to go with the movie and for Adam to get to know Emily. Maybe we were just sort of over-thinking things and kind of all nervous really is what it was. It all ended up really finding its footing and being wonderful. The thing about making the same movies is, for me, I just challenge myself to do something different each time. To not cover a scene the same way. Sometimes I found myself doing things just to do that and actually betraying what you were supposed to be doing, which is to tell a simple story. Once we got out of that mode, once I really got out of that mode, things were really nice. Really smooth sailing and great. It was weird to have a difficult time initially. I never really had that before. But good in a healthy way.
DL: Checking up on what you said about making the movie like a record. Music is a big part of all your films, especially this one. And I know Jon Brion gets involved in the process very early on. And you had some of the music before you actually shot.
PTA: That’s right.
DL: What did you tell him you wanted.
PTA: When I was writing it I talked to him on the phone and I was listening to a lot of Franti & Kesher stuff, which is tack piano stuff. I was listening to that and he sent me a lot of extra Franti & Kesher stuff that was really inspiring me. We had talked about doing a score that had a lot of percussive stuff in it that would sound almost industrial. Like that warehouse phase. Just sort like getting sounds out of that warehouse, but also to do real lush romance music. So we knew it was gonna be a mix of those two factors. And I knew that from the script that there would be this harmonium and it would be this five-note melody that Barry played. So it was important that Jon create whatever that five-note melody was. Sort of like those five-notes in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. (Mimics the Five-Notes From Close Encounters) You kind of have to have that before you go to shoot. So Jon had come up with that and had done percussive stuff in the movie that actually just ended up being really easy to shoot to. For me. You know. Tempo. We talked about tempo. Stuff like that. Then he’d go away and do stuff…
DL: There are even some scenes where the music is so loud it overlaps the dialogue.
PTA: Yeah. It’s Deliberate. Yeah. There used to be a rule. You go to the theatre and the mixers are like, “No! We won’t be able to hear the dialogue”. I don’t know if I subscribe to the theory that you have to hear every word. You feel that you’re going along for a ride and sometimes it’s kind of exciting when you miss a word. I always liked that on records when you couldn’t exactly hear a word. You’d then make up your own. Something like that. It’s important that the emotions are conveyed. Not every single detail of what characters are saying. It’s a dangerous thing, cause I know it can get on some people’s nerves. We did a little bit of it on Magnolia. I like it. I’m not against that.
Q: What did Robert Altman think of you using the song “He Needs Me”.
PTA: “He Needs Me” was in Popeye. I showed Robert Altman the movie and I sat behind him and I was watching him as I was watching the movie. Well, no. Before I showed him the movie I told him the song “He Needs Me” is in the film. He said, “Oh great”. He told me stories about Harry Nilsson and Malta and drugs and Harry Nilsson going absolutely crazy and threatening him with a gun and saying, “I’m gonna take all the music out”. So after all these crazy old Robert Altman drug stories and everything else, I was like, “Are you gonna be upset to hear ‘He Needs Me’”. And he wasn’t really sure. I think Popeye brought back flashbacks or bad memories to him. But when we watched the movie and “He Needs Me” comes on I saw his hand go (Starts Swaying His Hand, Audience Laughs). And he starts sort of conducting and I was like “Alright, everything is fine”. And I asked, “How’d you like the movie”. And he said, “Loved it. Loved it. Great. Great. Great.”
Q: This is a question for Mr. Hoffman. I was wondering whether you get more satisfaction out of making films or do you prefer the stage. And the other question is, I know you’ve directed some off-Broadway plays, do you plan on directing any films.
PSH: I don’t think I prefer. I think acting in theatre is kind of like a marathon and acting in film is kind of like a sprint. The difference is, in general terms, in both of those things you work different muscles. So I try not to preference. Usually when I’m working on one I miss the other. They just really compliment each other for me and they challenge me and they keep me on my toes and keep me humble. In theatre you can’t go back. In film you can, but you only have that day. And in regards to directing a film. Probably some day. I don’t think that’s going to be my primary thing ever. It’s something that I’ll do when I think I have enough knowledge about telling a story with a camera and lights and designs and stuff like that. Directing on stage…I understand that kind of storytelling. With a camera, I don’t know if I understand it the way that I’d like to. I don’t wanna just show up and do what the DP says. I’d rather be more collaborative and have my own ideas. So when I develop the confidence for it, maybe I will.
Q: There are a lot of subtle blends of sounds in the film. When did you get the idea of mixing sounds?
PTA: I don’t remember. I mean I just remember when I was writing it…I think where it came from is just when I was writing the movie I was thinking there would be…well I knew that the first scene in the movie was Barry hearing something off-camera and just how nice it would be to be able to sort of blend the sound effects and the music and kind of making like an experience movie. Like a hippie kind of movie. Really. So kind of like, the first scene he’s gonna hear something and that is where the movie will begin. Just lots of notes and things like good ideas and fucking it up with the sound and kind of coming at an audience with both barrels. We’d done some of that stuff in Magnolia in the very beginning of the movie with some bizarre sound design stuff. It’ just really fun and exciting to do and made sense. I was keeping on with those ideas that seemed to fit the story and kind of to help electrify it all up a little bit. A nice experience of making the movie and editing the movie and working with Pro Tools and working with the Avid and working with Jon Brion in the next room and sort of get a good group of people together. That becomes a real fun part of the job is making all the sound and doing all that kind of stuff and you’re still blending it into the work. You’re still continuing to create art after the movie is done. You go to make a movie, use all of your ammunition.
Q: Did the Jeremy Blake artwork come before or after you shot the movie?
PTA: It came later. I had written that there would be some kind of color. Bursts of color. I didn’t know what it was exactly. I didn’t know. After we finished shooting the first chunk of the movie, we actually ended up shooting two chunks, and after the first chunk was shot I saw his work at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and called him up and he came to Los Angeles and had him in our studio. We had this great studio where we set everything up. He saw the movie. All I had done was put red, white, blue and green flashes as placeholders for him. We talked for a while and he did ten or fifteen different pieces a day and it was just sort of a great thing. I ended up with a lot more than I thought I would get.
Q: Were you ever conscious of trying to make any social commentary?
PTA: Social commentary? For this movie? (Passive) I don’t know. I mean…like what? (Audience Laughs)
Q: Like we live in a crazy society. Maybe it’s the character’s environment that makes him so crazy…
PTA: I don’t think too much about that stuff. I think you could end up being like Oliver Stone and think too much about the stuff you make. To me, it’s first and foremost from the character. From Barry’s stomach and from who he is and the situation that he’s in. Someone I can relate to. Anything that comes out of that, those are the discoveries that I make after writing the movie. I never have a real big social picture in my mind. I just feel like it would be an Oliver Stone movie. Y’know. Like, I really gotta say something about man versus machine. I really gotta get to the bottom of that (Audience Laughs). I dunno. I mean, I think I know I was obviously kind of lonely and horny and called a phone sex-line. Like. All right. Start there. (Audience Laughs).
Q: How do you usually begin? Do you begin with a character? Plot ideas. Musical elements?
PTA: Yeah (Laughter) You can never really remember. I can never really remember. I start out writing lists. Lists of actors that I would like to be in the movie or maybe I have a title, or just something that you’re reading sparks you or something that you’ve seen, or whatever it is. With this movie it was a great story that I knew about, I knew a girl that did phone sex and she told me other girls that she worked with would call guys back and bribe them. And that’s like in the category of, ok, thinking of ideas for movies. That’s a great plot idea. That could really get a ball rolling. That alone is a sterile plot. With this movie, it was mainly about writing for Adam. Wanting to make a movie with him. Wanting to make a movie that was 90-minutes. Wanting to make a movie that was a love story. A real romance story. Real pop. That went to Hawaii (Laughter). It’s not a very good answer but…just one thing turns into another and you turn around and there’s 90-pages and you’re just fucking happy you got there. Like. Fuck. I got 90-pages. That’s good. Now let me read it. (Smiles). I guess we’ll make it (Laughter).
DL: You said you’ve had, like MGM-musicals in mind. Jacques Tati films. Did you have any other love stories in mind? Any other romantic comedies that sort of dump the anxiety and terror of romance.
PTA: No. I probably had a reaction to not seeing anything good in romantic movies lately. I was sort of working more from a place of anger, like, “If I fucking see one more of these fucking movies”. Y’know, like these supposed romantic-comedies. Maybe it was that dirty part of me saying, “I’ll fucking show them.” (Laughs) There’s maybe that feeling, but a good source of inspiration was the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies. Those were musicals, but those are real love stories. Real love stories. Those were make-out movies. Those were good movies to kiss by.
DL: Do you think this is a good make-out movie?
PTA: This one? I hope so (Laughter). It was meant to be. I don’t think it ended up that way.
DL: Did it change much, in terms of you writing it and…
PTA: A lot. More than anything I’ve ever done. It changed a lot. Especially the back-half. But that was the idea going in, to not have a super-super plan. To kind of be a little bit more loose about it, without it seeming like it was loose. Not like, “We’re just gonna not know what we’re shooting today and do it handheld.” It wasn’t like that. Something that I learned early on was…I was trying to drag Adam through the movie for a little while and you just sort of realize that the movie has to go to the movie star. Originally, Adam didn’t go to see Phil. There was a different showdown where Phil came to Los Angeles. So we shot a whole ten-minute scene where Phil’s character comes down to find Adam’s character and smashes his harmonium. A lot of the same dialogue that we have is still in the scene, but we put together enough of the movie where we just felt like the scene will be no good. This guy has gotta get out of his house and go to Utah and kick some ass…
DL: Phil, can you talk a little about this role. Coming from Magnolia. How was it to go against Adam Sandler and try to one-up him.
PSH: I think that ultimately he one-ups me. I remember we did shoot that scene that Paul mentions. We did it. We got it, but there was something about it. I didn’t know we were going to reshoot it till Paul called me saying we’re going to redo it, but I understood pretty quickly why we had to. I was like, yeah, he should be the one acting up on me. He should be the one winning back the girl. He’s gotta go get rid of his demons. He’s gotta face his dark side. So I kind of look at my part in the film as, for lack of a less pretentious word, a mythical type of character. It’s like a part of a person. It’s like I’m part of him and I’m there saying one thing and he’s gotta get rid of me. Whether Paul sees that or not is not important to me as an actor. I kind of understood that.
Q: Why make a 90-minute movie?
PTA: Well, I think there’s a reason why most good movies, movies that I love, are 90-minutes long. That’s a really good length for a certain kind of movie. Especially a romantic comedy with Adam Sandler and Emily Watson and I think that’s a good length. It works. There’s a reason why good pop songs are 2 ½ or 3-minutes. They fit. It’s a great format. And it’s a struggle. I think Magnolia…that’s cancer. All that stuff, it’s great as a 3-hour movie. 90-minutes for cancer doesn’t seem right. (Laughter) That’s really it. And also, I love watching Friday Night movies. I wanted to try and make a Friday night movie. 90-minutes is a great length. You’ve been there and done that 3-hour movie. I don’t wanna do that again. I do, but I didn’t need to do it again right away.
Q: What’s next for both you guys?
PSH: I’m doing this very hard play right now. Tomorrow is next for me (Laughter). I don’t have anything planned after this. But I have my theatre company, and we’ve got productions opening to the public this year, so I’ll be producing them. I’m okay right now.
PTA: I’m feeding Phil. I’m writing a movie. Trying to figure out a movie I’ve been working on for three years. Three or four years. Just writing and fucking-off, really.
Q: Um. Writing. Are you writing more or less since you’ve achieved success.
PTA: The same. The same. About.
Q: Is it less challenging or more challenging.
PTA: The same (Laughter). Y’know. Things go up and things go down and it’s still a mess. I’m working on something that I’ve been working on for three years and I’m like, “God. This is fucking rough.” It’s hard to get through it and everything else. When I wrote Boogie Nights for the first time, I was nineteen or twenty, I wrote it as a completely different thing. I wrote as a fictional documentary, trying to rip off Spinal Tap. You sort outgrow that and a few years later you’re like, well, ok, it’s kind of corny to do just that. When I was twenty-six or twenty-seven, four or five years later, I wrote it more as a traditional screenplay. So it’s like, wow, y’know. Stuff takes time. And also, just different paths that your life takes. I’m older now and I have different interests besides movies, so much so…
PTA: You like porno as much as I do. (Laughter)
Q: What’d you do with all the pudding after the movie?
PTA: We gave it to the Salvation Army. (Silence) Awwww. (Laughter). No, y’know. We weren’t that sweet. There was a whole sequence in the movie where we shot Emily Watson giving the pudding over, because it’s based on a real guy and he bought all the pudding and he took the pudding tops off, but the pudding was still intact and he donated it to the Salvation Army. So we shot this whole sequence where Emily did that for Adam. This little whole other long subplot that half got shot. It ended up in the Salvation Army and had been eaten by all these guys in the scene.
Q: Is this in the DVD’s deleted scenes.
PTA: No, it’s not.
DL: The DVD is out tomorrow. There are two deleted scenes.
PTA: Yeah. One is the sisters. All seven sisters calling him while he’s at work. And then an alternate version of when the brothers abduct him and take that money from him in that parking lot. Just a completely different version of the scene. We did a lot of that in this movie. Just shoot the scene one way and have a completely alternate version with different dialogue. Same location, but different dialogue.
DL: It’s a great package. It also has this short film called Blossoms and Blood.
PTA: Yeah. It’s good.
Q: How was your experience working with Revolution studios?
PTA: Great. Really great. It’s nice, cause they have a relationship with Adam Sandler. New Line was in a bit of disarray the moment we went to go make the movie, so we ended up going to Joe Roth’s company.
Q: Which Adam Sandler film made you go, “This is my guy”.
PTA: Uh, Happy Gilmore and Big Daddy. The Wedding Singer, I loved. I’m not a big Waterboy fan. Those are his movies that I really love.
DL: I think we have time for a couple of more.
PTA: Keep going. There’s a lot more. If we can maybe go faster…get everybody in.
Q: The scene after Barry punches the wall in his office you show his knuckles, and did I imagine that something is written on it…
PTA: It says “LOVE”. I dunno. I thought it was a good idea. Maybe it was kind of corny. (Laughter). It’s not a reference, because I know it was in Night of the Hunter. The make-up girl was doing it and she’s like, “I keep trying to do continuity about it”. And you get so sick of continuity that it’s easier to come up with good ideas. I was like, I got a great idea. Just fucking (Mimics Writing) write LOVE. I thought it was a good idea. And then I was like, that was in Night of the Hunter and that was in Do the Right Thing and is this gonna be corny. Maybe it’s kinda corny but we decided to do it and leave it in but maybe make it go by real fast. If you liked it…good.
Q: What do I need to do to get involved in your next picture? (Laughter)
PTA: Phil? (Laughter) Phil made his way into all my movies. What do you do?
Q: I’m working temp jobs right now.
PSH: Oh boy. Why is everyone looking at me? (Laughter). Uh…
PTA: I’m not making a movie, so I don’t have a job. (Pause) But when I do…(Laughter)
PSH: Well what would you want to do on a movie?
Q: I’d be willing to start as a lowly PA and work my way up.
PSH: To do something like that, on any film…just become Colombo and find out when something is gonna get shot. Just show up everyday at a Production Office and ask if they need a PA.
PTA: Somebody always needs a PA.
Q: Where were Barry’s parents? Why didn’t you put them in?
PTA: I never really made up my mind about the parents. It just seemed to not have a place. It would seem like another movie, even to include them in the party scene. Yeah, it just seemed like another movie. I wasn’t really sure if they were around or they died or they passed away. Then you gotta cast parents and you have to think about the dynamic between the sisters, when all I wanted to do was seven sisters and him.
Q: This really isn’t Punch-Drunk Love related, but Phil, could you do me a favor and said “I’m a fucking idiot” nine times? (Laughter)
PSH: Wow. No. Gosh. Sorry. Not today.
Q: Uh. I don’t wanna sound like a crazy rabid fan or anything…but um (Laughter).
PSH: You already did. (Laughter).
Q: This is the fifth time I’ve seen this movie in the theatres and I know that tomorrow I’m gonna go out and I’m gonna buy the DVD and I’m just gonna, like, watch it. And I’m just gonna be so amazed. 10-minutes into this movie I turned to my friend here and I’m like, my face just isn’t big enough to like have this grin on, y’know. And I’m just…I dunno. How do you feel about, both of you even, how do you feel about these crazy people that just sit here and watch your movies and are just like, “I Can’t believe it. I can’t believe they just fuckin’, like, pulled it off. They just made everything work and everything is just so perfect that I gotta see it four more times”.
PTA: Fucking great (Applause). Really. There is nothing more bizarre, kind of like this weird head-fuck, when somebody says I really liked your movie. You just feel like, “What the fuck?” I remember when we first showed this movie, it was the best, absolutely the best experience. In Cannes. In this huge auditorium. And it’s just so surreal when you show your work to an audience for the first time and laugh and get scared…to feel like you communicated and you did something well. It’s an amazing feeling. Amazing feeling. And I’m glad that you feel that way. Really glad you feel that way.
PSH: There’s always somebody else that doesn’t think that way, too. (Laughter)
Q: The cinematography is really gorgeous. And it feels kind of personal…flairs of light. I was hoping you could talk about your relationship with the DP.
PTA: Robert Elswit is the DP. He shot all my movies. He’s a great photographer. We’ve worked together for a long time now and we’re very different. So it’s a great collaboration. Robert, he’s an older guy. He’s been around for a long time and he can be more traditional than I can. Sometimes we’re sort of like an old married couple. I don’t like what his taste is, but I think he’s right. Or he doesn’t like what my taste is and we just fight about it a lot. A lot of arguments. But it ends up really just being a nice working relationship where you feel like you sort of look at each other and you really respect that person’s take or eye on something or their natural instinct. Some days I’ll walk out and let Robert find his groove and let him go to work and there are other days where he’ll just walk away and let me go to work. I’m not sure. It’s just that feeling of collaborating and working with someone whose company you enjoy.
PSH: Robert Elswit is the best. He really is. Best guy. I mean, that’s all I wanna say. (Laughs)
PTA: I hope I described it well. It’s just hard to describe that relationship. We really are like a weird married couple. Fight a lot…I dunno.
PSH: The worst working environments, I think, are passive-aggressive environments where everyone is trying to avoid hurting each other. It doesn’t mean that you gotta be bluntly honest every minute of the day. I think Paul, from observing it and also our relationship and his relationship with other people over the years, the best relationships are the honest ones. The ones where ultimately, at the end of the day, you care about that person in your life. So you care to be as honest as you can be and then not worry so much about hurting someones feelings all the time. You just wanna make good work. We might fight some times, we might laugh some times, we might hate each other some times, love each other…at the end of the day you get out on the other side and you’re still close.
DL: That should wrap it up. Thank you both. (Applause)
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