Friday, October 25, 2002

Interview: "Love Might Do A Number On Paul"

Chicago Tribune, Written By Mark Caro
October 25th, 2002

Paul Thomas Anderson likes to stick actual phone numbers into his movies instead of those phony "555" ones, and if you called the ones mentioned in Magnolia, you heard phone messages related to the movie.

So when Adam Sandler's character recites his phone number in Punch-Drunk Love, you can imagine all of the Anderson cultists taking out their pens.

If you call the number, you hear a male voice saying, "Hi, this is Paul. Please leave a message."

Is that Anderson?

"No, it's not," the filmmaker said. "It's a funny story, actually. That's a phone number that we bought for Magnolia. You're supposed to just kind of own it forever, and it turned out New Line (which released Magnolia) gave up paying this really small bill per month. So I called the number just to check and see if they still had it, and it was some guy named Paul. So I guess he might get a lot of phone calls."

The number, in fact, is the same one that the Philip Seymour Hoffman character dials in Magnolia. A message for "Paul" from this reporter went unreturned.

"I think that Columbia contacted him," Anderson said. "My producer called to try and figure a situation out, so I don't know what the latest is on it."

Saturday, October 19, 2002

Interview: "Director Punch-Drunk With Joy"

Seattle PI, Written By Paula Nechak
October 19th, 2002

Paul Thomas Anderson has only made four feature films but he's one of our most original, insightful and invigorating filmmakers.

"Hard Eight," "Boogie Nights," "Magnolia" and now "Punch-Drunk Love" have earned Anderson two Oscar nominations for original screenplay, a spate of awards from film festivals worldwide and the coveted best director's prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival (for "Punch-Drunk Love").

No wonder he's so darn cheerful when I meet him in the lounge of Seattle's Four Seasons Olympic Hotel. Anderson is rumpled and casual, easy to talk to, self-deprecating, unpretentious -- and he smokes like a chimney.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Interview: "Paul Thomas Anderson Casts Wider Net With Punch-Drunk Love"

Chicago Tribune, Written By Mark Caro
October 16th, 2002

Here's a theory that doesn't particularly apply to "Punch-Drunk Love" director Paul Thomas Anderson, but since we're talking about a filmmaker who approaches everything from odd angles, you'll just have to roll with it:

When rockers such as Talking Heads, R.E.M. and Elvis Costello started out, they occupied their own strange planets, and their fans gravitated toward them to get a handle on Heads front man David Byrne's jittery alienation, R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe's mumbled lyrics or Costello's venom.

But as these performers grew in popularity, they became more aware of their impact on audiences and began to tailor their works accordingly, choreographing their stage moves (particularly Talking Heads and R.E.M.) and making their material more accessible. They were meeting their audiences halfway, sometimes with better artistic results than others.

The 32-year-old Anderson established a loyal cult following with his first three highly personal films, "Hard Eight" (1997), "Boogie Nights" (1997) and "Magnolia" (1999), the last being a three-hours-plus mosaic of troubled father-child relationships that supporters found mesmerizing (this writer included) and detractors deemed interminable. After "Magnolia," Anderson told interviewers that his job is to "communicate" and that he'd love to connect with a broad audience a la Steven Spielberg.

Then he made "Punch-Drunk Love," a 90-minute romantic comedy starring Adam Sandler, the childish, highly marketable star of such popular low-brow comedies as "The Waterboy" and "Big Daddy."

Monday, October 14, 2002

Interview: "Out There"

Boston Globe, Written By Wesley Morris
October 14th, 2002

Paul Thomas Anderson scales back his scope with 'Punch-Drunk Love' but remains committed to stretching your mind.

Paul Thomas Anderson is tall. He might be lanky, too. Today, he's kind of shaggy and fidgety but totally affable - if a little out of sorts. Somehow, he's managed to irritate his tailbone. This is a self-diagnosis: ''I must have sat on it weird."

Were he paler, he'd qualify for gaunt - like a self-styled hipster fronting a band whose records sell in the thousands and inspires talk of being the next great you-name-it.

But Anderson doesn't make garage rock. He makes movies, which is where he does his styling.

Sunday, October 13, 2002

Interview: "Love At First Sight"

Chicago Sun Times, Written By Roger Ebert
October 13th, 2002

So there I am at the Toronto Film Festival, eyeing Adam Sandler across the room. He knows and I know that I have never given him a good review. That time we met backstage at Letterman, he was very decent, considering. He said he hoped that someday he would make something I liked. Now he has.

The movie is "Punch-Drunk Love," by Paul Thomas Anderson. The moment it was announced, I got a lot of e-mails from people asking what in the hell Anderson was thinking of, making an Adam Sandler movie. Such is the power of Sandler's presence that it didn't occur to them it might be a Paul Thomas Anderson movie. Now I have seen it, and can report that it is both: an Adam Sandler movie by Paul Thomas Anderson. Imagine a Tom Green movie by Martin Scorsese. No, that's easier.

Saturday, October 12, 2002

Interview: "Director Now Punch-Drunk Over Comedy"

Seattle Times, Written By Moira MacDonald
October 13th, 2002

Paul Thomas Anderson, Oscar-nominated writer-director of "Boogie Nights" and "Magnolia," has developed a trademark style over the past few years, crafting ensemble dramas about lost, confused souls seeking connection and community. And now he's made an Adam Sandler comedy.

Say what?

"It was a really conscious decision to do something else," says Anderson, 32, in town last month for a sneak preview of "Punch-Drunk Love." He was in a happy frame of mind and decided to try something new. "I felt good. It's all where you land."

Interview: Charlie Rose Show Transcript

Charlie Rose Transcript, Written By Jeffrey Zablotny
October 12th, 2002

CHARLIE ROSE: Paul Thomas Anderson is the Oscar nominated behind the critically acclaimed films Boogie Nights and Magnolia, his latest film is Punch-Drunk Love.  He’s earned the Best Director award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, and Sandler stars in what critics call his best performance of his career.  I am pleased to welcome AS and PTA to talk about that movie and many other things.  We were just saying this is the...third, fourth?

PTA: Third time here.

CR: Where did the idea for this come from?

Friday, October 11, 2002

Interview: "Punch In The Dark"

The Star, Written By Peter Howell
October 11th, 2002

Punch-Drunk Love director tones down past pretensions

It's a frantic afternoon during the Toronto International Film Festival, and filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson seems to be doing his best impression of Frodo Baggins, the hungry and hairy hobbit from The Lord Of The Rings.

Curled up on a club chair in a darkened corner of a Windsor Arms Hotel bar, he's barefoot, unshaven and plowing through a huge plate of French fries, scarfing them by the fistful. The 32-year-old Californian looks as if he's barely survived a mythic quest of some sort — which, when you're talking about the birth of a Paul Thomas Anderson movie, isn't far from the truth.

"You want some of these?" he says, proffering the platter of fries. The snack is declined, but wine makes a more enticing offer. Soon glasses are clinking in toast to Punch-Drunk Love, the off-kilter romance starring Adam Sandler and Emily Watson that shows how weird obsessions, extortion and death threats can lead to love.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Interview: "Pleased As Punch"

Toronto Sun, Written By Bruce Kirkland
October 8th, 2002

Director of Punch-Drunk Love Delights in Dark Side of 'Goofy' Sandler

Maverick Hollywood filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson sips a fine white wine and gobbles down a plate of greasy french fries smothered in ketchup. He swears like a sailor on shore leave and is as sweet and good-natured as Bambi.

We're sitting in a back room of the bar at the swank Toronto hotel The Windsor Arms and Anderson, with his tousled hair and vaguely sleepy look, is dressed casually in battered jeans and a rumpled white shirt.

Looks are deceiving. This is the genius who, in the past seven years, has made some of America's most daring, innovative, intellectually risky and visually dynamic films: Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, Magnolia and now Punch-Drunk Love. The new film opens Friday in limited release after appearing to much acclaim (but some minor nay-saying) at the Toronto film festival. Punch-Drunk Love is dark and brooding, at odds with its supposed positioning as a romantic comedy. It is prickly and eccentric. It is provocative and hypnotic. It is everything that cinephiles admire and Hollywood marketing teams hate: A film which cannot be neatly packaged, labelled and sold as a product tie-in with burgers and candy.

Sunday, October 06, 2002

Interview: "A Poet Of Love And Chaos In The Valley"

New York Times, Written By Dave Kehr
October 6th, 2002

PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON, 32, is the unofficial poet laureate of the San Fernando Valley.

"I was born in Studio City," Mr. Anderson said by telephone from his home, "and I'm here now, looking out over the expansive West."

The West he refers to includes Sherman Oaks, Reseda, Encino and many other valley settlements, large and small. They are all new cities in the American mode, composed of strip malls, franchises of every description and vast middle-class housing developments. A significant portion of the movie business has also migrated there, slipping over the San Vicente Mountains from Hollywood.

Three of Mr. Anderson's four films have been set in what Angelenos call simply the Valley, and with them he has emerged as one of the most original voices of his generation, a filmmaker who combines extreme formal experimentation with close observation. His work is at once sociologically accurate and poetically abstract.

Saturday, October 05, 2002

Interview: New York Film Festival Q&A

New York Film Festival Q&A, Transcribed By Shaun Sages & Todd Parker
October 5th, 2002

This is a loose transcription of the New York Film Festival Q & A.

>> Since "Punch-Drunk Love" doesn't feature your regular material, such as the "Clementine Loop", or actors like Phillip Baker Hall and John C. Reilly, do you consider it to break the tradition of your previous three films?

PTA: It breaks from the tradition only in that they're not in it. But just because there was really no parts for them in the story…Um…Phil Hoffman is in it, and so is Luis Guzman. There's just nowhere to put the others really.

>> Why did you choose to shoot the film in scope?

PTA: Well, that decision happened a long time ago, when I was a youngster. I thought to myself, if its a movie, why should it look like television? And there's really nothing better than when that curtain opens ALL THE WAY UP.

>> Why is there a car crash in the beginning?

That's just something you write to get going, like, you need something to START. Joel Silver, a guy that, y’know, makes “those kind of movies”, I once heard him say that every movie should start with a BANG, and that just made sense to me.

>> The pudding story is a true thing that there anything else in the movie that's based on real events?, the pudding story is the touchstone of truth in this movie. (audience laughs)

>> Can you talk about the colors in the film. What they're derived from?

PTA: From an acid experience that I've had in 1967. (Laughs) They're just art by Jeremy Blake. I've seen his work…I had just kind of a…like a bad idea of some color. But it was really bad and I didn't know what to do. But then I saw this Jeremy Blake art, he does these installations I saw at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Classy stuff. I thought that was really phenomenal stuff.

>> When did the blue suit come in?

PTA: Uh. We kinda had a little obsession for different Technicolor musicals. And if you've watched many of them, there always seems to be a standard blue suit. There's a great blue suit in "Bandwagon", and I can remember seeing that and saying 'I want that color blue.'

>> How convinced were you that Adam had what was it takes to do this certain type of role?

PTA: Yeah. I was never convinced that it would be anything but wonderful working with him, because I think that's when…you respond to someone as an actor but you wanna make sure that you like being around them, cause you're gonna be around them a lot. You're going to be, y'know, you're gonna be in love with each other for two years or however long it's gonna take. I think Adam and I work in similar ways with alotta the same people and a close group. Adam is kind of in charge of his movies, and I'm sort of in charge with my movies. So you know you're coming from a similar place. A similar works ethic. And that's critical when you're jumping to do it. Does that answer your question?

>> I wanted to know when you were convinced…

PTA: Oh, when I was…Yeah. Yeah. From the beginning. Absolutely.

>> Let's talk about the score. Did you know what the sound was gonna be like while you were shooting?

PTA: Yeah. I worked with Jon Brion when I was writing the movie as well to talk about ideas and notions, what might sound right or good for the movie. And he would do 8-minute chunks of stuff, and it was really nice to have in going to shoot the movie because…if you don't know what the fuck you're doing you're just gonna turn to the music and kinda let it guide you a little bit. And it really helped Adam and Emily, I think, to know…if you kinda know what music is gonna happen there an actor can know how little they have to get away with. Y'know. Like, 'Okay, so that's gonna happen there.' So it's just kinda like attacking it a little bit like you're making a musical, y'know, even though it's not really a musical…just kinda pretend that it is. It becomes helpful. I know Adam is really a musical person, too. So it helped. And then some of the stock sound is just amazing where we shot. We shot in that warehouse, it's kind of an amazing place deep in the Valley. There's a railroad nearby. There's a mountain nearby. Some of the sounds are just natural sounds of the environment…it's just putting the microphone in the right place.

>> Why does Adam wear the blue suit for the whole movie?

(long pause, laughter) Um, you just need the brightest colors you can in a love story like this, I guess.

>> Luis, can you compare working with Paul to working with Brian De Palma? What's different?

LUIS: Um...Brian De Palma directs the movie. Paul directs and writes the movie. He creates the movie, the whole thing, everything comes from him. And he's so amazing to work with because he’s got everything down, and he’s become like a master at this, already. Paul, give me twenty dollars.

>> How did this character sort of develop, or come into shape…come into being. What did you start with? Was there a story or an incident that kinda came in? What was the process of developing the character.

PTA: Uh. Well. Well. I'm trying to remember. I don't remember maybe what might have started it, maybe some loose ideas or notions, but the real trigger was Adam. And then writing it while talking to Adam on the telephone…I went to Hawaii to write the movie and I was there writing it while Adam was working. And, uh, just the - - I don't know - - that's just the way it goes. Y'know. You're just farting around in things that make you laugh, or things that entertain you, or seem interesting and seemed interesting to him and back and forth and then…just collaborating with someone and then once I finished the script then we really started to kinda collaborate and figure out what the hell we were doing.

Adam: I think what happened was, Paul talked to me about the idea, but didn't really tell me much. While he was writing it, he let me hear...on occasion I would speak to him on the phone and he would say 'I wrote a good scene today.' And I'd say, 'Oh yeah? Well, what happens.' He'd go, 'Well I don't wanna tell ya'. And I'd say, 'Well, can you gimme a line?' And he'd say, 'Alright. Page 41, you say 'Sure, why not?'' Ok. I know I like to say 'Sure, why not? 'But now I don't want to. (Laughs) And then, uh, Paul actually came up to my house and he said 'I finished.' I went into my living room, he went away, I just read it and every page I kept going 'Man, what is gonna happen?' I kept asking 'Do I die in it? Do I kill somebody?' I was baffled, though, but it was nice. Paul and I became good friends, even before he showed me the script…talking about it, talking about it…getting to know each others lives. And we just had long conversations about Barry Egan. I learned a lot from Paul, and then I just tried to have fun with it.

>> Im a little confused, exactly why does Emily Watson fall for Adam. What's the reasoning behind her choosing him?

PTA: I think he just called you unattractive.

ADAM: Hey buddy, who are you to call me unattractive?

(audience laughs, the guy stammers trying to rephrase his question)

PTA: The real question is, who wouldn't fall in love with this guy?

>> This film is much shorter than your last two...what was the reason for switching editors?

I worked with an editor named Dylan Tichenor, and now Im working with Leslie Jones and you want to know if that's why the movie’s shorter? This movie was five hours long before Leslie Jones got a hold of it. There she is, in the balcony. She's a totally cool, beautiful woman.

(gives her applause, the audience joins in)

Come on, she deserves more than that!

(audience applauds harder)

>> How long did this film take to shoot?

Pretty long actually. We were doing it right at the time of the supposed actors strike. “The actors are gonna strike! We've gotta make movies!!!” So we shot some stuff, but then Adam had to go do Deeds, and Emily had to go do Gosford Park, but it was kind of an advantage, because  I got to look over all of the footage and kind of handle it the way Woody Allen and Stanley Kubrick did. And then they came back and we shot the second part.

>> When you look at the film now, can you really tell the difference between the footage you shot first and the second part of the footage?

No...I really don't. Because, its all one experience, y’know?

>> (holding up a script) I have a script!

Um, give it to Joe Roth. Joe? Oh, yeah, he's sitting about three rows down from you. Just give it to him. Yeah.

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Jon Brion - Here We Go (2002)

The music video for the original track "Here We Go" was edited by Paul, and created from alternate takes & unused sequences from Punch-Drunk Love. The video was initially released within a 13 minute sizzle reel montage on an extremely limited/rare DVD release titled "Blossoms & Blood."