Explosions in space, fatalism and injustice, screwy flashbacks, sequels to "28 Days Later" and "Trainspotting," among other controversies. Man, this turned out to be a long interview.
PK: I'm struck by two images. At the beginning of “28 Days Later" you have London
completely abandoned. And at the beginning of this film you have series of
shots of Dharavi, which I guess is one of the most densely populated parts of
Meanwhile, the conversation with Danny Boyle, whose “Slumdog
Millionaire” now seems to be on every pundit’s Best Picture short list. But there also are
some, such as the ever reliable Armond White, who think the film is an
exploitative sop to liberal guilt. Here Boyle continues to sing the praises of
Mumbai, despite the poverty, corruption, crime, injustice and mutilated
children his film depicts.
There are two kinds of opportunism. Here's an example of the good kind.
Gus Van Sant’s “Milk” is a biopic starring Sean Penn as San Francisco
City Supervisor Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man ever elected to a public
office. He was gunned down on November 27, 1978, and so the film opens next week in part to
honor the 30th anniversary of that assassination.
Which Danny Boyle will show up for the interview promoting
his new movie “Slumdog Millionaire?” I’m wondering. Will he be diabolical,
sardonic and head-butting like his brilliant “Trainspotting?” Nihilistic,
mirthfully despairing and flesh-eating like his terrifying “28 Days Later?” Innocent
and romantic like his heroes in “A Life Less Ordinary” or
“Millions?” Or cowering, defiant and relating the story of his life with hilarity and
razzle dazzle like his hero being given the third degree by the cops in his new
So we seemed to be going great guns, with Kaufman even
tolerating my fey digression about Proust, until I asked a gauche question
about Michelle Williams. And then the “M” word. Then it all goes down the toilet. But it neded to be ask. Or maybe not --judge for yourself.
PK: And Cottard is also a character in Proust's "In Search of Lost Time."
More so than a lot of filmmakers, Charlie Kaufman really
cares what you think. I got a chance to interview him the day after his new film "Synecdoche New York" played at the Harvard Square Cinema the crowd there seemed to really love him when I saw him the next
morning sitting in a meeting room in the Ritz Carlton I thought he looked kind
of glum and full of doubt, kind of like the character Caden Cotard, played by
Philip Seymour Hoffman, who may be his onscreen persona.
President Obama. Let’s just ponder that for a while.
As I pointed out a couple of postings ago ,
all of this was foreshadowed by the switch in Hollywood’s undead preference from
zombies to vampires, which should be more than evident when “Twilight” sets
some box office records its opening weekend on November 21.
Should a white guy make films about black people? Should
independent filmmakers distribute their own movies? Will there be a “Ballast 2?”
PK: Did you show the finished film to the participants?
LH: Yeah, all the actors came up to Sundance, and a couple
of them came to Berlin,
and a few saw it in LA at the festival, a couple of them had been there before,
so, um, the Sundance experience was very transforming for everybody.