Rupert Grint has become something of a muse for you. What do you think he brings to his roles that other actors don’t? Mayfield Blue
I always look for a cheerful actor: someone who naturally entertains, who is very colorful and beautiful to look at, and has as much muscle in humor as in drama and poignancy. This is rare. Rupert possesses this combined with his kindness and incredible professionalism. He’s just the easiest human being to work with. What we want from actors is a complicated thing. Sometimes it comes with complications as human beings. With Rupert: zero. He’s a Navy SEAL: he comes in and can do anything you ask him to do.
I have a theory that you enjoy complete artistic freedom. Am I right that you moved away from big-budget films to keep more freedom? balders1
yes Maybe it’s the immigrant-Indian-want-to-please-everyone thing. There is something in me that gets triggered when I take a lot of money and then I want to please the person who gave me that money. This is not healthy. So I pay for the films and we make them on the lowest possible budget. This allows me to make unusual changes, both in the stories I tell and the way I tell them. And this freedom allows me to hear myself better.
Have you ever felt or seen telepathy in an ensemble cast? Twist27
I consider stage acting to be the highest form of acting, after film, then television. Because the stage is where you are required to be present the most. That’s why being an actor is so addicting: you’re strangely present, even though you’re not. Most of the time we get tired of ourselves because we don’t perform well as we go through life. That’s why it’s so beautiful when you become someone else. I think the telepathy part comes in here. Almost without knowing it, all the actors do perfect things against each other. Whatever it is, it happens because they listen so perfectly that an unspoken energy passes between them.
In a theatrical market of reboots and comic book movies, how do you get original stories greenlit? Drink your milkshake
This is difficult. The system is built to self-regurgitate, commercialize, and shelve many versions of things that worked before. It’s a sign that you’re on your way out, that the industry is eating itself.
The year I released The Sixth Sense, everything was original. The industry was geared the other way, to feed the filmmakers. And the filmmakers were really interested in reaching audiences, not telling stories to each other. You had The Matrix, The Blair Witch Project, Being John Malkovich, American Beauty, The Insider, Magnolia; all of these filmmakers make seminal films at varying levels of commerciality, yet all at the highest level of audience reach.
Not so now. Yet I believe the health of the industry depends on it. You can repeat the same date again because it was so good. But relationships last only if they are different and exciting.
Do you have any advice on avoiding spoilers to maximize your viewing pleasure? VerulamiumParkRanger
Never talk about them. A reporter last night said: “I just want to ask about the end of Knock at the Cabin; I’ll do that a little later.” And I’m like, “Later, you mean not this life, because even that isn’t long enough for me.” And they were like, “Hahaha.” And I say, “Were you there last night at the screening? Did you see how young everyone in the audience was? A couple of them came up to me before and said, “I just watched Signs last night. I just watched The Sixth Sense a month ago. I have a new generation discovering my films. Don’t talk about the end.”
Are your films influenced in any way by responses to grief? anonymous cat
What a wonderful question. They are. I read in a psychology book about the evolutionary necessity of dreaming. Nightmares are there for us to have superpowered versions of the scenarios that trouble us. Why is this evolutionarily advantageous? When you wake up, you have a better way to deal with these complex emotions in making decisions, instead of being terrified and then making your decision.
Grief is something I always deal with. I feel very lucky: my father is very sick and frail and has dementia, but he is almost 86. I constantly try to deal with the grief by making films like Old. Grief is such a beautiful word. There is such a tenderness to him. It gives dignity to fear. It’s so nice that a reader said this. Makes me feel understood.
It’s not a question, but can I say that you were my husband’s favorite movie– producer. He died, which is incredibly painful – but I watch your films and think about him and it’s wonderful. lexicon_lover
My God. don’t make me cry I deal with very dark themes and dark things. But I think the audience understands that the person telling the story is 100% optimistic and 100% believes in humanity. There is something wonderful on the other side. So at least the audience knows that one more person on the planet has hope.
Why Bruce Willis? how
I saw the ability to convey pathos in a package that was beautiful and vibrant and funny and physical and strong and everything anyone wants. In the center, what was really interesting to me was that he was complex. I had Die Hard and Alien and The Exorcist posters on my wall. I said to myself: just write one of these. So I sat down and wrote The Sixth Sense and said, OK, put this guy in it. And he said yes! He said yes to many of us: me, Quentin [Tarantino]Wes [Anderson]. He was inside [Luc Besson’s] The fifth element. These are unusual films from many auteur directors, so a risk for a big movie star.
Which movies have influenced you the most? Galdove19
I spend my life letting movies affect me. When I’m going to write a new film, I prepare very carefully what I watch. It’s not like you passively walked into my life. There is an occasional romance because of my wife who comes into my life against my will. But that aside, it’s super curated. For Knock at the Cabin were Don’t Look Now and Kramer Vs Kramer. Not another home invasion movie.
There are also films that, for me, are like the Rosetta Stone of cinematic answers. The last movie show is one. Strange and profound, tragic and suffocating. Every scene is about the same thing: all facets of the same diamond.
What scares you the most? Bernie1030
I think about how to keep my family safe. These fears in any form. They can’t say anything before they die. I’m getting old. House protection. You don’t find your purpose. Not being a good father or a good husband. So it’s always about the fragility of the family.