Greg Mottola Director of The Daytrippers
If Woody Allen were to offer you an audition for a part in his latest film, would you tell him you had no natural talent and had never acted before? Greg Mottola, debuting director of The Daytrippers, did just that.
'l‘m a huge fan of Woody Allen,’ enthuses Mottola. ’He's one of the filmmakers that made me want to be a filmmaker in the first place. But he offered the audition kind of on the basis that I had acted before, so I had to admit I didn't really have any acting experience except what I did at film school, which I knew he didn’t want to see.’
Such honesty stands Mottola in good stead. Not only did he get the small part in Allen's film - about which he is sworn to secrecy - but his candid way of looking at the world forms the basis of his work as a director.
'As a first-time filmmaker I had to pick one specific area that I was going to protect about my film,’ he says. ’I knew I was going to have to compromise everything else. The thing I decided I couldn't compromise on was the quality of the acting. I knew that the audience would hopefully forgive technical flaws and the inexperience of the director, so long as the spirit of the film was sincere and the acting was really first-rate and
Family man: Greg Mottola directs The Daytrippers
carried that spirit.’
This conviction was put to the test in the biggest way possible when a studio offered Mottola $5 million to make The Daytrippers, a sum which would be most first- time directors' dream. There was, however, a catch.
'l was told: “If you want the money, you'll have to fire your cast and crew, and bring it into the studio and do it the proper way",’ Mottola says. He chose to forego the money and keep his original cast. ’In retrospect, I'm very glad I made the decision, but there were many days when l regretted it. Our camera was stolen on the first day of shooting and I immediately thought, if I had a $5 million budget, this wouldn't be a problem.’
Mottola's career has already been strengthened by the support of friends and colleagues. As well as Woody Allen, there is Steven Soderbergh, the director of Sex, Lies & Videotape, who gave Mottola $40,000 to make The Daytrippers.
’Steven wanted to help me get started,’ Mottola explains. ’He's a great guy. It's very rare that a filmmaker gives money to another filmmaker, and he actually gave me money out of his own pocket. I'm just taking that as a kind of karma thing that I need to pass down to someone else some day.’ (Hannah Fries)
3 Edinburgh Cameo from Fri 24 Jul Glasgow Film Theatre from Fri 74 Aug. See review
intimacy and you can have this very close physical bond, but there can be this whole other world inhabiting those people which steps beyond that ’
To inject his film With a sense of inseCLirity, Bennett has combined the vast alienating setting of the Australian outback With a sowidtrack of weird landscape nOises.
‘What I remember most distinctly about the knife incident is that there was a Window outside which was tapping some galvrnised iron and when I thought back on that moment, that was so much part of it — the sound '
So, now that the film is made, how
Bill Bennett Director of Kiss Or Kill
In 1986, a friend of Australian director Bill Bennett threatened him with a knife as a joke.
'We were in a tumbled-down shearing shed right in the middle of the outback, and he was trying to scare me,’ Bennett remembers. 'He had this knife which he'd been sharpening all morning on a stone. He just held it up and then explained how he was going to cut me up. Although I
Road kill: Frances 0' Connor and Matt Day in Kiss Or Kill
knew this fellow, and I knew he had a wicked sense of humour, I just looked into his eye and he gave nothing away. And it was just a moment, but it was so chilling.’
Ten years later, Bennett has used the emotions from this experience as inspiration for Kiss Or Kill, a road mowe driven by the faltering trust between two lovers.
’l’m really fascinated by the whole notion of trust — how much you can trust somebody and how much you can trust yourself. You can have
does Bennett’s mate feel about proViding, through one momentary prank, the seed for Kiss Or Kill’s ten year gestation7
'I met up With him in an aiipoit lounge many years later and I said to him, "Hey you know l’rn writing a script based on what happened in the shearing shed7”. And he said, “What are you talking about?" He’d totally forgotten about the modem, and it had such a prof0und effect on me.’ (Beth Williams) a Glasgow Film Theatre from Fri 24 Jul. See review
Patricia Hitchcock Daughter of Alfred
She grew up With one of the most famous names in cinema. Patricia Hitchcock O'Connell, daughter of 'the master of suspense‘, shows eVident pride in the legacy of great films left by her father.
Alfred Hitchcock's films still have the power to shock, as new audiences discover the delights of Foreign Correspondent, Vertigo and Rear Window. The latest of his classic movies to be re-released, Psycho, might also be his most famous.
A film that redefined the horror- thriller genre, it came at a time in his career when he could understandably have been settling for an easier life. Instead he chose to direct an adaptation of a Robert Bloch novel, itself based on a gruesome true stay, and shot at lightning speed in increasingly unfashionable black and White.
’lvly father made his pictures for audiences,’ explains Ms Hitchcock, ‘not for critics or himself. That’s why his work never seems to date, because audiences don't change. Above all, he always wanted to do something he hadn’t done before. He didn’t like remakes e he didn‘t even want to remake The Man Who Knew Too Much ‘ but he had a lot of trouble finding stories that were different, and which the audience hadn't seen before.’
Taking a role in the film, as a secretarial colleague of Leigh’s Marion Crane, Patricia Hitchcock could observe her father working at close hand.
'He had made the movre before he even stepped onto the set,’ she adds. 'When he had a finished script, he sat down at a desk with a pad that had three rectangles on it, and he would then draw every single shot in the picture. He would then go over that With the cinematographer, so by the time he got on that set, he knew exactly what the picture was going to look like. His talents really came from his experience at telling a story. Everybody now is delvmg into the significance of this and that in his pictures, but he was JUSI making a movre. It’s as simple as that.’ (Anwar Brett) is Psycho plays Glasgow Film Theatre from Fri 37 Jul and Edinburgh Fi/rnhouse from Fri 7 Aug. See revrew.
Knife edge: Alfred Hitchcock directs Janet leigh in Psycho's famous shower scene
23 Jul-6 Aug 1998 THE usr 31