January 9, 2005

BY THE COMPANY YOU KEEP?:

Exclusive Interview : Paul Weitz (Movie Hole, 24-Dec-2004)

P.F: Is there a sort of a danger that you repeat yourself?

P.W: There are sort of 2 dangers which are flip sides of the same coin, there is a danger of repeating ones self and there is a danger of showing off by trying to do something to be different and neither of them necessarily leads to good film making. I think that, sort of, the piece genuinely has life then you put yourself in the service of it. And I think there is just as much of a danger of like, trying to do something crazy and different, and interestingly there are certain directors who have achieved legendary status by doing that, like Howard Hawks, and then there are other directors, most directors who do very different kinds of things who are looked at as sell outs or they not look good as having a voice...

P.F: How do you define your voice?

P.W: I'm hoping it is developing. I think that I'm hoping that I'm able to be accurate about people's feelings, while at the same time having a believable element of optimism in the films.

P.F: Do you, writing something; are you writing something at the moment?

P.W: Yeah, I'm writing a couple of things, one of which is, sort of, a very active satire of American Culture and the other of which is a film exploring the duality of faith and disbelief in American culture now, that one can sort of, perceive as being such a big part of the last election. It seems like there is this feeling whether it is true or not, that there is part of the country that believes but doesn't understand what the other part of the country does, and there's another part of the country that doesn't believe in, doesn't understand why on earth they feel the country is progressing.

P.F: You start that after the last election?..

P.W: The night of the election, I locked cut on this and saw the election result and came up with this idea, so I'm hoping that it is a good idea that will have legs. But that might be the next sort of windmill, until something happens in terms of getting a studio to fund it, a film they don't wan to fund.

P.F: Yeah, the big studios are frightened of films with political resonance---

P.W: Yeah absolutely. I mean, I'm surprised they let me get away with this one, given what they've gone through

P.F: Well I guess if it is successful...

P.F: Now, if you look at your place in film now, verses where you were at the release of American Pie, how do you chart that progression?

P.W: Well I think that I have the opportunity, and that there's... I have enough rope to hang myself now. I can get a movie funded at a certain budget I hope. So it is up to me now. I mean I think one has to do two things one has to make a living and then decide whether one wants to decide whether to be creative as well. So the first part of my career was just trying to make a living and the second part now, I'm hoping that I don't get afraid; I'm hoping I can do interesting things. It is an enjoyable thing to actually be able to make films a opposed to be doing the 10th rewrite on a particular comedy that if it gets make, is going to stink anyway!

P.F: And what about Chris, what is he up to?

P.W: He is getting started on the epic task of directing Golden Compass. He has written, he's been working on the Phillip Coleman novels, which is a series of novels that he loves and that had a huge meaning for him in his life, so...


The folks at Grace Hill Media send us some promotional info, their aim being to market such films like Mr. Weitz's In Good Company to the Christian Right. This is a case that's interesting on a couple levels: first, that Mr. Weitz and his brother brought us the American Pie films (but also About a Boy); and second, that the brother's project is almost certain to provoke Christian fury, though it has supposedly been drained of much of its anti-God message.


MORE:
-FILM SITE: In Good Company (2004)
-FILMOGRAPHY: Paul Weitz (IMDB.com)
-PROFILE: Brothers move past 'Pie' to grown-up film (Lisa Leigh Parney, 5/17/02, The Christian Science Monitor)
-INTERVIEW: In Good Company: Personal interview with the writer/director (Chris Monroe, Christian Spotlight on the Movies)
-INTERVIEW: INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS AND PAUL WEITZ (Cynthia Fuchs, PopMatters)
-REVIEW ARCHIVE: In Good Company (IMDB.com)
-REVIEW ARCHIVE: In Good Company (MetaCritic)
-REVIEW ARCHIVE: In Good Company (MRQE.com)
-REVIEW: of In Good Company (MANOHLA DARGIS , NY Times)
-REVIEW: of In Good Company (Jeff Otto, FilmForce)
-REVIEW: of In Good Company (Jonathan Rodriguez, Christian Spotlight on the Movies)
-REVIEW: of In Good Company (Harry Forbes, Catholic News Service)
-REVIEW: of In Good Company (Melissa Maerz, City Pages)

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 9, 2005 12:01 PM
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