John Gulager & Diane Goldner

The Project Greenlight Winner Talks Candidly About The Making of Feast, Family & Everything in Between

 

By Liisa Kyle


 


There's a good reason why "What would Gulager do?" T-shirts are popping up on film sets: John Gulager endeared himself to many in the industry, thanks to the Bravo series chronicling the Project Greenlight winner making his first studio film, Feast. Backed by Miramax and Dimension through Neo Art and Logic, no less than 17 producers are credited on the film -- including Wes Craven, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.

If wrangling 17 producers wasn't enough of a challenge, John Gulager faced assorted budget tug-of-wars, a duplicitous casting agent secretly plotting to hire her friend, a mutinous crew and production nightmares including a bomb scare and a drunk actress.
 

Through all the drama, John remained essentially 'Gulageresque' -- down-to-earth yet eccentric; sensitive yet firm in his creative vision. Production was a family affair featuring John's father, veteran actor/filmmaker Clu Gulager as well as his longtime love, actor Diane Goldner. As she has for the past twenty years, Diane was at John's side throughout the entire process providing considerable personal support. The two of them speak interdependently, often finishing each others' sentences and sentiments.

It was fitting to meet with them not far from where they themselves had met, twenty years earlier, at a hip yet low-key Cuban cafe.

ITL: Thanks so much for taking the time to meet with us -- and congratulations on Project Greenlight.

JG: That wasn't me. That was Philip Seymour Hoffman.

ITL: Separated at birth?

JG: Yes. That was another fellow. I usually just…[he takes out some gag glasses and dons them]. I fool them.

DG: We ran into [Philip Seymour Hoffman] once. We were being followed by the cameras and having lunch at the same place as him.

JG: [The camera crew] didn't know where to shoot. 'There's something wrong with the cameras! We're getting doubles!'

ITL: At this point, how would you describe your Project Greenlight experience?

JG: What we get out of it is pretty immeasurable. We knew what we signed up for. You always hope it's going to go a little smoother and maybe better than it does but at the same time, we have the opportunity, at least, to have a career. To get another movie made, possibly. I couch that with a little skepticism that things will actually work out okay. But so far, it's been pretty wild.
 

Gulager sports Feast Jacket and gag glasses [Photo: Walter Bost]

ITL: Take me through a bit about the rationale to actually enter the contest.

JG: Well, this is kind of a strange story because my friend [Tom] Bliss has entered twice and I…

DG: Edited and acted in his pieces.

JG: Yeah.

DG: And he made it to the top fifty. Both years.

JG: Both years. And by the time I'd be done doing his little thing, I'd be so far behind on whatever I was doing, I couldn't enter. And so this time, when we finished editing his piece, he just sat down and entered me into the contest with his credit card. 'Cause it's a $30 fee to enter…

DG: And so he was kinda paying us for working on his pieces.

JG: And money [was an issue].

DG: And we actually happened to have a couple of pieces [to enter] because we had done a twelve-hour film festival and then the other piece was for my reel. Normally, to this point, we haven't really been making our own projects -- we've mostly been working for Clu [Gulager].

JG: We don't put ourselves out there.

DG: Mainly because Clu is a master filmmaker -- there's just no question that he needs to be making films. And so we've been working with him. He writes and John does the cinematography, editing [and] music and I act in and [John's] brother [Tom] acts in. And it's been that way for years. So finally we had a couple of pieces to enter in there. By --

JG: Accident.

DG: By accident.

JG: Well, not really by accident.

DG: It's just that we were thinking, okay, it's time for us to start putting ourselves out there.

JG: Yeah, it's now or never, right?

DG: Yes.

ITL: So you had your Project Greenlight experience and then when you saw what was represented on the Bravo series, were there any surprises there? How did the series jive with your experience?

JG: It's pretty close. I mean, I'd like to say that all the bad stuff didn't happen. I'd say, it's a journal, it's very compressed and selective somewhat. But the gist of things are true. And I would say that probably I was edited [to look] worse in the beginning and edited [to look] better in the end. So it's a little bit embarrassing both ways. You know?

DG: People have the impression that John is shy and can't communicate from the show and when we go out they'll ask, 'Has he changed completely?' No. The only time he has trouble communicating is when…

JG: When we disagree!

DG: When there's conflict.

JG: When people don't agree with me!

DG: Yeah. He doesn't know how to deal with people saying, 'Your ideas are bad.'
 

JG: 'Your ideas suck.'

DG: He's never had to deal [with that]. His father's always supported him as an artist and always believed in the primacy of the director, so to get into a crowd and have them all say, 'No, you can't do that' and 'That's not okay' [was new and strange].

[John leaves briefly]

And the other thing is that it wasn't just the casting. It was everything. They focused on that one fight but [John] came in with a lot of ideas that were immediately shot down and so that by the time you see him, he's already been shot down in those beginning…
 

Diane Goldner, Gulager & ITL's Liisa Kyle
 (Photo: Walter Bost)

JG: Okay, okay! The girlfriend, defending the man. He gets up for one moment, comes back and she's blabbed the whole thing!

DG: And the control freak husband wants to be the only one [to talk]. It's like okay for him to blab. I'm always shocked at the things he says and then how he censors me.

JG: [he points to the device sitting on the table] Tape recorder.

ITL: I'll just wait for you guys to work that out.

[They laugh].

ITL: In general, what has been the best thing about the Project Greenlight experience for you both?

DG: I think the best thing is exposure. John's been able to establish who he is. That he is an artist. A filmmaker.

JG: Well we all have.

DG: All of us have done it. Our whole family has done it. But it's from people knowing who we are. There are a lot of people who really relate to the artist wanting to do their work. A lot of people in the industry have come up to us and said they really support what he tried to do.

JG: Also…we work together as a family. We don't see anything wrong with that so even at the beginning when we kinda won the thing, we would kinda joke about [how they] were going to be shocked at the office when everyone [in our family] starts coming around.

DG: He'd bring me along and say, 'Oh, this is Yoko.'

JG: On the last two [Project Greenlight] shows, you'd almost never even know that there was anyone else besides the guy that wins. It's like they have no family. We work together….We don't call it nepotism. We call it working with the people you want to work with.

ITL: What's the highlight of the experience for you, John?

JG: Well the highlight is that we have the possibility to make another film. And that we've made a film that's actually going to come out is pretty shocking. I mean, the whole thing is so surreal. You have to admit. Entering a contest. And winning a contest. And then working on a multi-million dollar motion picture. And actually having it released.

DG: And having your heroes like you. Matt Damon and…

ITL: Tell me about your dinner with Matt Damon.

DG: The thing that I was sad about was that [in the show] they didn't use more of the conversation they had because it was really interesting. It was about art and their whole process and there was a chemistry and, I think, a genuine affection on Matt's part for John -- more than just 'Yeah, I'd be in his movie' which is nice that he said that. It's wonderful that he said that but I liked the chemistry more between them.

It was such a dream come true. I was so out-of-my-head excited when they were having the conversation because I just could not believe how much genuine affection he was showing.
 

Goldner & Gulager show "genuine affection" [Photo: Walter Bost]

JG: You know it's just so bizarre and insane. I mean last year I was a bum. And this year I'm a mentor.

ITL: And an inspiration.

JG: Well I don't know about that.

ITL: No, absolutely!

JG: But I mean this is just strange. That said, I think [whenever someone] gets something going in their career, there's always some weird thing that happens. Like [Robert] Rodriguez makes a $7000 El Mariachi just for Mexican television, thinking that that's like his gimmick. He can work that. And then it turns into El Mariachi! Wow! It's the biggest thing. Then everyone's making $7000 movies, trying to [make it like he did] but no, that was his thing. That was his little deal that happened.

ITL: Don't you think talent will out?
JG: Well you hope so.

DG: Yeah, you do.

JG: But somehow there's always some kind of little thing that allows you to begin. Or allows your little process or whatever to be noticed. 'Cause I'm sure there's all kinds of people making all kinds of good things. And then there's people making horrible things, of course.

[Diane frowns].

JG: Well there are.

DG: And we think Clu is absolutely the most talented. It hasn't worked out to this point. And he's made amazing pieces. We're so proud of him.

ITL: Maybe Project Greenlight will help get your family more exposure now, too.

DG: Actually it is.

JG: My brother [Tom] is a great filmmaker and he wrote this incredible script called American Standard. And there are some people that interested in it now. When I was a teenager, my Dad tried to make a rock opera and I wrote the music for it. We acted in it. And Tom was in it. There was a woman [Lindsay Doran] who wanted to get it made…[but] she didn't quite have the power yet to do it. And she went on to make Spinal Tap and she ran MGM-UA….But because of that connection way back, she read Tom's script and she's like 'Oh my God! I couldn't put it down.'

DG: She says 'The worse thing that can happen to me is to have a friend ask me to read his cousin's [or] his brother's script. I read it thinking 'Oh, crap.' I opened it up and couldn't put it down.'

JG: And then they're a little freaked out over the Greenlight thing. But now because of the notoriety, it may end up helping.

DG: In the beginning, they were like, 'You know you're going to have to distance yourself from [Project Greenlight]'

JG: Everybody said that.

DG: Agents even. They said 'It's a shame you're getting exposed like this.' And then, by the end, it's like, 'Can I get a copy of the show and send it out to people?"

ITL: So the best thing about this experience is that you can make another film. Is there something in the works for you?

JG: Kinda. We're messing around with some ideas. Some are from books that have already been optioned. But we know some of the people that the book is about. And so we might make a film about the early Los Angeles punk [scene].

ITL: Is this going to be another family project?

JG: I think with that one…it probably wouldn't be starring Diane, it wouldn't be starring Dad necessarily. 'Cause it's all based on real people. But then there's another film that I want to do. About these girls that work in the sex industry in Portland…. Then everyone could be in it.

ITL: Are you getting interest from the studios for subsequent films?

JG: Yeah.

ITL: You say that without having joy on your face.

JG: No no no no no! It'd be great. I haven't found anything yet. I have a trunk full of scripts but nothing's really caught my attention.

DG: It's hard. We never thought about doing other people's scripts.

JG: It's very difficult to adapt yourself to [someone else's vision]. Everything has always come from myself or if I work with my Dad, it's the same thing. We're in synch. But when I read someone else's script…

Oh and the worst is if they give directions on how to shoot it. I read a script the other day. It was about a violent subject. But on the inside of the script it said, 'None of the violence will be depicted on the screen. It will all be shown on the face of the [actors].' Someone said, 'Well, did you read it?' I said, 'No. I threw it across the room.' If it's going to start that early that people are going to tell you what you can possibly do --

DG: They might as well put handcuffs on you.
 

ITL: Are you looking for a particular genre? Are you drawn to a particular kind of story?

JG: My joke -- it's not really a joke -- [is that I'm looking for] Trainspotting meets Dog Day Afternoon.

ITL: Okay, so something light and fluffy.

DG: Yeah, we like all those 70's movies. We came of age in that period when everything was tough.

JG: We like French Connection, Clockwork Orange

DG: And we literally like all genres, too. There's not one we don't like.
 

Inspiration can come from a dumpster
[Photo: Walter Bost]

JG: Right now every script is a horror script. And everyone has a script, also. Just like everybody has a friend who's a composer, everybody has a script or a friend who has a script right now. But that's the way it is. 'Cause we've been there. There's someone in your life maybe who has a bit of success and then they are the thing you see as possibly helping you…

DG: But the other thing is that if we did it, we would want to change it all and make it our own and they're not that open to that. Most people don't want you to make it your own. That's what that whole thing with Project Greenlight was. And we felt that the guys last year had a really good sensibility. They had a really dark, funny sensibility and for some reason it did not get into the piece at all.

JG:Yeah.

DG: So when we came in to do [Feast], we were like, 'We've got to make it our own.' You just have to really work to get yourself in there.

JG: And that didn't completely work out.

DG: And of course, they don't want that. They want to make the last horror film [that did well at the box office] with all the right parts that make it commercially successful -- as if there was a formula.

JG: Also, those kinds of things you think you bring to it are also those things that are chancey because they may be weird. Or they're not kind of a fratboy humor type thing. They might be something that the straight guys around the table would go, 'Oh. Why would you do that?' And partly, they're right in that it is the chancey part. But if it works, then that's the part that everyone imitates.

ITL: The other thing is that there were seventeen producers on this film. So a few control issues, right?

JG: Well like Matt [Damon], Ben [Affleck] and Wes [Craven], they're all counted as producers and then you have the Maloofs who put in some money.

ITL: All six of them.

JG: And they all work with their family. They all call each other and make decisions together….You have Joel [Soisson] and Mike [Leahy]who are like --

DG: The hands on --

JG: The hands on producers.

DG: But I think we actually got away easy because we were under the radar and nobody thought we were going to do anything, even though Dimension had all of their representatives there, they weren't as involved as they can be. From what we've read. Or heard.

ITL: Yet it sounds like you're seriously considering doing another studio film. In addition to, or instead of, an independent film?

JG: The thing is, we just want to make films.

DG: The idea for us would be to be like Rodriguez where you can just have all the equipment and --

JG: A little bit of autonomy

DG: And have that kind of respect where they let you…

JG: Like [Quentin] Tarantino. I don't know if they're hands off with him or not.

JG: Also, our friend Sage Stallone bought all the equipment from Brown Bunny. He has all this super 16 equipment up at his house. And there are a couple of cameras and Stanley Kubrick's personal stuff from Barry Lyndon and these huge giant zooms -- it's great!…He got the last analog Nagra off the assembly line! But everything is engraved with…'Property of Vincent Gallo' all over it. It's really funny.

DG: The only thing he didn't buy was the van and he's sorry he didn't buy that.

JG: So we have that [equipment] at our disposal. He said we could shoot anything we want.

ITL: I heard a rumor that you were, in fact, actually running off on the weekend and shooting stuff during production on Feast.

JG: It was more like second unit stuff. That wasn't just us. That was like a whole mini crew [including] Carrie. [The Bravo series] shows that Carrie left the show but actually she went onto second unit as script supervisor. So that was good.

ITL: That would be less painful.

JG: When [Carrie was fired as script supervisor], the notes went from extremely, extremely detailed to not as much. But she's been doing this forever.

DG: And she's just so smart.

JG: Almost too smart.

ITL: So you're aiming for a January 2006 release for Feast?

JG: January 20, 2006.

ITL: Why so far out?

JG: Well, you know, it's not completed yet. 'Cause when the Weinsteins left Disney, a lot of stuff just kinda, sorta stopped. So now it's gearing back up again and we'll shoot some stuff at the end of the summer and do our mix and get the film out.

ITL: You think they'd be aiming for an October release, given the nature of the film.

JG: Yeah. But I think it went from Thanksgiving to Christmas to next year. And on Christmas Day, I noticed they're releasing a Stephen Frears movie.

DG: We got bumped for Stephen Frears, so that's not too bad.

JG: Originally, the movie was supposed to be done at the end of the TV show [as it has in the past]. The test screening is supposed to be somewhere in the middle and then hopefully, you bounce back or whatever, you overcome, everything will work out great. But when Bob [Weinstein] actually liked the movie, it went off of the TV show schedule at that point. It was more important to get the movie happening in a good way then to just finish it for the sake of finishing. It was just great for us.

DG: It was really thrilling, actually, to meet Bob Weinstein.

JG: It was like meeting The Godfather.

DG: Yeah. It was pretty wild. We went to dinner with him and he was so nice to John, it was incredible….He actually said, 'Don't worry about the test screening. I saw the movie. I like it.' All kinds of good stuff. And then he had himself edited out of the show.

ITL: In terms of the Greenlight experience, what was the worst or most difficult thing -- or the thing you liked least about it?

JG: Oh, the same thing you liked best about it -- being exposed. Things that you think you're failing on or that you're a little embarrassed about or a lot embarrassed about or if things are going south. People actually will see that.

DG: He's an extremely private person. It's his worst nightmare to work in front of people. When we do things, he doesn't like to have people around that he doesn't know, just because he's afraid to look bad. He doesn't want to learn in front of people. And yet he completely gave himself over to the process, which was wonderful.

JG: Well, you either do it or you don't. I never thought in previous [Greenlight] shows, people opened up very much. And, well, we did.

ITL: What kind of feedback are you getting on that honest revelation?

JG: For a while I was kind of upset with the internet and reading message boards about how nuts I am. Or insane. I should never work in films again, blah blah blah. But then you get the opposite, too. You get a lot of people that are very kind and encouraging. When people come over [and introduce themselves], they say nice things.

DG: Like the New York Times have said really great things. So every time we read something that's really horrible, there will be somebody that'll come out of the woodwork that will say something really wonderful and it'll balance it out.

ITL: Any surprises in the whole experience?

JG: How nice everyone is. Oh and the politics! Just the politics of saying things. Someone hearing something before someone else and how important all that stuff is to people.

ITL: Was that something you were aware of at the time or was it something about which you got clearer insights when you watched the series?

JG: No. I was aware at the time. Although watching the show is kinda painful 'cause you do hear the interviews that people gave. [During the actual experience] you're not privy to that. They sequestered us when we gave interviews. So yeah, I had a few nights of throwing things at the TV.

We didn't write a blog so we didn't want to see it ahead of time. They actually offered us to see the shows a week in advance so we would write a little something for the Bravo website. But I felt it would be better to have some mystery 'cause people thought I was going to get fired…I was prepared to get fired. The guys joked that I'd be the first Project Greenlight director to get fired or to quit.

ITL: Speaking of which, tell me about the casting process.

JG: I hated the casting. You know how every filmmaker says, 'My favorite part of every movie is the casting.' I hated the casting. It was like going to school to a class that you hated.

DG: The first time [casting director Michelle Gertz/Morris] met me she said [in a condescending tone], 'Oh he's learned so much! He's learned so much!'

JG: Again, the casting is where you do a lot of your directing. And the cast you choose -- the tone you want to project -- is done there. So as those tools are taken away from you, it affects the whole picture. It never ends there.

When [Michelle] said on the show, 'Don't worry. He's just a contest winner. Just give him some stuff to keep him busy and we'll get this done.' I'm like, 'Omigod. I can't believe she said that!' For me that was great because I'd been telling everyone that's the way it was and everyone said, 'Oh, you're paranoid.' And there it was.

ITL: Very validating.

JG: A lot of people got angry, though. On the show, of course, the way it was edited, they have you rooting for [Michelle] during the first couple of shows and then it gets to the fourth show [and you see her from a different perspective.]

I was involved in hiring her. They don't really show that. She cast Donnie Darko. And I'm like 'Wow! Donnie Darko.' So I kinda went with that.

DG: And the first thing you said to her when she first came in was, 'I want everyone to be like Jake Gyllenhaal.' And she said, 'Oh no! You have to have a palette.'

JG: Like a palette of colors! And I'm like, 'No. I want everyone to be like that.'

ITL: And when she continued undermining you, you didn't approach the producers to replace her?

JG: Well no.
 

DG: At that point they didn't trust him.

JG: And there was also that whole family thing.

ITL: Was that really as big a deal as they made it in the series?

JG: Halfers. I wanted Courtney Love in the movie. And the insurance people just started laughing.

DG: There were definitely other people in the mix.

JG: Ione Skye. I wanted to see her in there. She said she would do it. I don't even know if I should say this because don't want to hurt anyone's feelings but yeah, there were other people [we wanted to cast]. My whole thing was I wanted names for certain parts. And I couldn't necessarily get those by [the casting director]. But I also thought that because we weren't going to get them and because it's a horror film [we didn't need names]. When I go to a horror film, I'm not going because of who's in it. I might recognize a couple of people but I don't know from where. I go -- it's more because of a concept situation or I'm just going because it looks cool. And sometimes, you're just blown away. I mean you go see something like Pitch Black and they actually had some pretty incredible actors in that -- [Radha Mitchell] was in it. Vin Diesel.

But yeah, the casting thing. You have to pick your territory.

I just said, you know, it's Project Greenlight. It's a contest. Okay, I get it. But as an experiment called Project Greenlight, maybe everyone just has to pretend that they have respect [for me] and pretend that they actually wanted to hire me. Pretend that they saw something they liked and they hired you to make this movie 'cause they think you're going to blow it open and it's going to do great. But maybe that's just not the way it works in the real world. I don't know. I haven't been out there. I've never had a real job. Like Diane said, I've never actually had a boss…

Then again, it is a struggle [anytime anyone is doing their] first film -- people don't trust you. And the studio will start looking to the DP to take over. To guide you through it. And they threaten them that they're going to fire them.

'Cause [cinematographer on Feast] Tom Callaway is actually a friend of mine. You don't really notice that on the show.

ITL: No! Quite the opposite.

JG: He told me a few things later about the pressure on him.

DG: They're used to working in the [studio] system and they're used to getting fired if [the shoot isn't going well]. So there were a lot of ideas that [Tom]'d just nix immediately.

JG: So it came down to that kind of thing -- the A.D.s and Tom versus me. But they're involved in making the day and I understand that. But they'd break the script down so arbitrarily. It's like they don't even look at the crazy stuff in the paragraphs they've just broken down. We doing monsters and holes in the floor and the wall. Just crazy stuff like that -- or eight people standing around talking, spread out in a bar.

DG: And they're like we've got that! We've got that! Let's go on. Let's go on.

JG: There's always a lot of pressure like that.

DG: And there'd be a whole thing missing!

ITL: Let's talk a little bit about your creative process as an actor and director.

JG: I have no creative process. I just want to put on a show and have people love me.

ITL: We do. We do, John!

JG: I haven't done that much. That said, I haven't failed that much either in my own little world. I always want to win. And for me winning is, like, people like your little film or --

DG: I just think that anything and everything he does, he always puts everything in, no matter what it's for, how much money or whatever. He has a drive to always do the best work he can. It always amazes me how much he'll put into it. I think the thing about the creative process that we've learned and that's difficult is that it takes time. We really like rehearsal and time and we didn't get any of that [on Feast] and for me, that was most difficult thing. I was stunned -- like moving through my moments like Bam! You're doing it and your not [acting in the way you'd like]. It was horrific.

JG: Well, we had a crazy schedule, too.

DG: There was no time on the set to really work things out.

JG: We were just moving on. Moving on. And the good thing about now, having all this time where we're actually going to get to go back and shoot new stuff is that we'll get to put a few things in that we didn't have time to shoot [before]. And even if they're maybe not quite as elaborate as we would have liked, it's like adding another week [to the shooting schedule].

DG: As an actress, it's about the moments that you find and finding those moments takes me moving through it physically. I don't just Bam! Do it! Okay react to that! And that! And that! And that! And because you have a life of doing this kind of work, you can do it. You do it. But it's very unsatisfying, knowing that you could have really lived it so much more fully.

ITL: It seemed during the series that both of you enjoy a certain amount of improvisation --- doing a scene then trying it different ways and perhaps playing with it a little bit with it.

DG: Yes, exactly.

ITL: But that that process wasn't possible, given the schedule that had been set.

JG: Even in normal films, you rehearse it and then you watch it and then you do set-ups according to what you work out there. Otherwise you're just doing all your set-ups which you half do anyway -- with just half an idea of what it's going to be. I can't imagine that you wouldn't [change things] based on what you see [during rehearsal]. You get excited. You get inspiration. It can't all just be storyboards and worked on a page. There is that thing called inspiration that, hopefully, you have when you're working.

ITL: Did you a chance to spend much time on Wes Craven's set?

JG: Not a whole lot. It was a completely different set than our set. They had lots of time and lots of gadgets and equipment. A low-angle prism! Which I recommend everybody get…

ITL: And what was the experience of interacting with Wes Craven like?

JG: He's great. He's such a nice guy. Even when he says bad things about people, he says it in a nice way.

DG: In the beginning, he wasn't rooting for John. And what he said was absolutely true. He said, 'John can do great work but he needs time.' And it's absolutely true.

JG: Two scenes a week. Yeah! That sounds great! I would like to work that way. And just have everything deeper and more --

DG: More detailed.

JG: More detailed.

ITL: Did you learn anything from interacting with him or watching him?

JG: Well, yeah but we're two different animals. You know?

DG: They're both soft-spoken gentlemen. They're both kind people.

ITL: What would be your dream project?

JG: My stripper movie!

DG: It's something that he's thought about a lot.

JG: It would be really cool!

DG: It's the details.

JG: It would be…kinda gritty and intense. It's not like I gotta make [another] monster movie.

DG: We love human behavior. That's the great movies for me. How people interact -- you know, like in a lot of the European films.

JG: We like a lot of these European films where people don't do anything. Literally.

DG: In the Mood for Love. Just beautiful….And then there's this movie, L'Humanite, that's probably my favorite film in that it's kinda like Being There, only it's really, really tough and rough and in your face -- and yet it's lyrical. It's such a weird combination.

JG: It won the Cannes Film Festival the year [David] Cronenberg was head of the jury. And everybody booed.

ITL: Looking at the film industry today, what kind of trends or issues do you see?

JG: They're all wimpy.

DG: Yeah. Escapist.

JG: When we were kids… we liked all these gritty films…and now it's all these really slick films that there are seventeen producers on.

How many producers does it take to screw in a light bulb?

ITL: How many?

JG: Do we need a light bulb?
 

Diane Goldner & John Gulager share a tender moment [Photo: Walter Bost]

You know, it becomes a bit of milquetoast…I dunno. I probably idealize the films that I grew up with.

DG: You see they're schizophrenic -- the films. You see the different influences [on the filmmaker]. You know that even someone like Tony Scott on Man on Fire, didn't really get to make the movie that he wanted. It was a great movie. It had some wonderful moments. It was beautiful. But I felt it really wimped out at the end. When the guy went and died -- you know they had to kill him 'cause he was the bad guy. There's always things that are divisive -- to make it correct.

JG: They got to have a happy ending. At home we were watching The Rainmaker again.

DG: It was totally sappy and we loved it.

JG: And I said, 'See Diane, we still like the happy endings.' We're suckers.

DG: True enough. And yet with all the underdog hero stuff, we still felt there was enough truth to it.
 

JG: We're suckers. When we go down to the Dome, we sit in the front row on Opening Night. We like the sound to blast us.

DG: We love the auteurs especially. Like Tarantino and Rodriguez and people who actually get to do what they want to do.

JG: Hopefully, if we make a movie the way we want to -- and maybe you're always looking to have this happen -- maybe we'll come out with something that's not categorical. We'll make our own category. The Gulager film.

DG: Gulageresque.

ITL: And that will be a happy day in Gulagerville. Thanks so much for your time.
 

 
Liisa Kyle is the Managing Editor of HGEN: In the Loop and is  a prize-winning international journalist who has written for every major newspaper in her native Canada.

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