Elvis Mitchell talks to Benh Zeitlin about his first feature film as director, co-writer, and co-composer.
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Jeff Bridges is a lucky break for first-time writer-directors. Thirty-five years ago he got his first Oscar nomination in Michael Cimino’s debut, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. This year, he scored his fifth nomination with Scott Cooper’s Crazy Heart. Bridges on beginner’s luck.
Bridges discusses being directed by and acting alongside Hollywood legend John Huston, the advice of Crazy Heart’s music producer/songwriter T. Bone Burnett, the enthusiasm of debut director and fellow actor Scott Cooper; The Iceman Cometh as a turning point in his acting career, Francis Ford Coppola’s novel approach to directing Tucker: The Man and His Dream, and how, despite years of acting experience, he still suffers performance anxiety.
Martin Scorsese once called Wes Anderson (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou) his logical heir. Is it the way Anderson creates tension in the room or did Scorsese one day imagine Anderson at work in stop-action animation? The director of Fantastic Mr. Fox joins Elvis Mitchell on The Treatment.
Anderson, who loved the Roald Dahl book on which the film is based, explains how he got permission from the Dahl family to use ‘Danny, the Champion of the World’ in his screenplay, and that he cast George Clooney, not because of his voice but because he’d always wanted to work with him. He reveals why he made the animals American and the humans British, and how he based the movements of Rat (voiced by Willem Dafoe) on the choreography of Bob Fosse. Finally, he discusses finding inspiration in Ray Harryhausen and the Brothers Quay, the importance of doing a stop-motion animation film with fur, and how this style involves more decision-making than a live-action film.