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
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
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
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
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 --
DG: By accident.
JG: Well, not really by
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
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
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
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…
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.
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
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
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.
& Gulager show "genuine affection" [Photo: Walter
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
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.
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
ITL: Maybe Project
Greenlight will help get your family more exposure now,
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
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?
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
ITL: That would be less
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
'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
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
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
ITL: We do. We do,
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
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
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
JG: My stripper movie!
DG: It's something that
he's thought about a lot.
JG: It would be really
DG: It's the details.
JG: It would be…kinda
gritty and intense. It's not like I gotta make [another]
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.
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
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
JG: They got to have a
happy ending. At home we were watching The Rainmaker
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.
ITL: And that will be a
happy day in Gulagerville. Thanks so much for your time.