Plowing through several days worth of interviews and profiles, the lazy way:
Davaa took a crew of just six people to Mongolia, interviewing each in depth to avoid the problems she faced on her first film when she discovered that she had inadvertently employed a vegetarian, which is "suicide" in Mongolia. "I picked the team very carefully and tried to make them adapt and integrate into the culture of the Mongolian nomads. I intended from the beginning that the crew should be very small so that they could build a close relationship with the family."
The notion of playing Hamlet has also been in the back of his mind ever since Marlon Brando suggested he should do it a decade or so ago. "Marlon wanted me to escape movies for a while," he says, slipping into a spot-on Brando impersonation: ‘Take a year off. Go on. Study Shakespeare.’
"So it’s one of the things that keep ricocheting around in my head. He told me that by the time he had got to the point where he felt he could do Hamlet, it was too late. So he said, ‘Do it now, do it while you can.’
"And I would like to do it – although it’s one of the more frightening ideas I’ve had. I think as an actor it is good to feel the fear of failing miserably. I think you should take that risk. Fear is a necessary ingredient in everything I do.
"But if I do Hamlet it will probably be in a small theatre on a small stage and it will have to be very, very soon because I’m getting a little long in the tooth for it."
There’s no doubt as to why [Charlotte] Gainsbourg feels the film is "close to" [Charlie] Kaufman‘s work, a comparison that sees Gondry screw up his pale face. "Why would she say that?" he sniffs, half-joking. "I’m going to call her and complain." With his curly brown hair, checked shirt and soft manner, Gondry rather resembles his erstwhile scribe. Slightly exasperated, he concedes they share some sensibilities. "Maybe, we have in common certain negative feelings," he says, "and some feelings about relationships and emotion."
‘On ‘Miami Vice,’ Michael [Mann] kept saying, whatever you need, you can have,’ she says. ‘Like, do you think it would help your research to fly to Ghana and meet some tribal leader? The budget was bottomless.’ Harris settled for heading off to the Bronx and training with the Drug Enforcement Agency. ‘I learnt to fire machine guns and went out on an actual drug baron arrest,’ she says incredulously.
He has no illusions about the box office potential of what he calls "this weird little indie film." "Scanner" is opening against "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest," the Johnny Depp-starring blockbuster sequel that could well have one of the biggest openings in history. Linklater sees "Scanner" as counter-programming for brainy film buffs, who may need to see it two or three times to get what it’s all about.
And if people leave the theatre feeling completely bummed about the future of humanity, that’s okay by him. "Sometimes it’s just what the doctor ordered," he says of the negativity.
Q: Were you approached about shooting Woodstock?
A: Over and over. Not because I was such a fantastic filmmaker but because hardly anyone had made a film like that. One of the reasons I avoided Woodstock was because I didn’t want to get enmeshed in huge numbers of people. Hanging around it were all of these people who were out to make money. What I considered to be the good managers of the good groups were not going to be in it. Albert (Grossman) wasn’t going to let Dylan go there, or the Band. I thought the music wasn’t going to be good, so I didn’t want to get into it at all.
Suzuki expresses surprise at the regard with which he is now held by the younger film-making generation. When Jim Jarmusch met him a few years after paying homage to him in "Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai," he described him as "amazing" and likened him to a Japanese Sam Fuller, but the respect hardly seems to have been mutual. "I told him I liked his film, but I said it wasn’t really good for a character to die on the street," says Suzuki. "For us Japanese, the place of death is very important, but what could I do? This is American culture."
"This hostile takeover by the religious right has created an unpleasant climate," he says. "It makes you feel like you want to scratch yourself all the time."
+ Steppes back in time (London Times)
+ Truly, madly, Depply (Telegraph)
+ Michel Gondry: No more the dreamer (Telegraph)
+ Miami Nice (Observer)
+ Linklater’s Dark Place (Toronto Star)
+ SPEAKING OF DVDS: D.A. PENNEBAKER (SF Chronicle)
+ Man on the Moon (Guardian)
+ Where whim wanders (The Age)