PK: How about "It's a Wonderful Life?" Or maybe that's a
generation before you.
MD: I've never watched "It's a Wonderful Life."
JD: It's one of the great Christmas movies. I've seen it a
couple of times. But I guess one specific thing that we've noticed about
ourselves that makes us kind of laugh is
that when our friend were watching "Star
Wars" we were watching "Ordinary People" and "Kramer Vs. Kramer." These really
heavy hitting relationship movies where it's all about the close-up of the
face. We got into John Cassavettes pretty early, comparatively, to our friends.
It's just something we've always been obsessed with. We tried to emulate other
filmmakers for a long time and we failed and, ultimately, we were on the brink
of quitting when we luckily found our voice by exploiting these private
conversations that Mark and I have always had about people intricacies and how
embarrassing their agendas really are and how loveable and funny it is when it
comes out in the end. And right now, I think, stylistically in a way we kind of
just threw away all of those filmmakers that we wanted to be because it didn't
serve us very well. The only thing, stylistically, that really motivates us is
documentary filmmaking. It's the one genre where everything we see is valid and
riveting and has meaning because you know when you're watching it that it's
real and it's true. The stakes are just higher. That's something that moves us.
We're looking for that realism in our films. And we hope to bring that
documentary realism so that these epically small moments, as we've started to
call them, between people and their emotions within - that's everything to us.
We want to heighten that to the level where other films have their climaxes,
like a building burning to the ground or people being saved from death. Ours is
that somebody cries because they're
afraid that they're going to be alone and they work through that moment.
JD: Probably our favorite movie is "American Movie"
which is Chris Smith's documentary about this loveable loser [Mork Borchhardt, director of "Coven."). How easy is it to
take a character like that and make fun of him and tear him to the ground. But
Chris Smith loved that guy and we felt that and we fell in love with him too.
And he's a hard guy to fall in love with. And when you can achieve that thing where
you're just laughing at him and then you see your spirit in this guy it's like
"Holy shit." We haven't achieved anything like that. That's kind of the path
we're on though, and we want you to see some of that strange loveable stuff in
all of our characters.
PK: Did you make a documentary called "Comrades?"
JD: I edited a documentary for a filmmaker who's from former
who basically was in the Yugoslavian army in the early 80s. Then when Yugoslavia
broke down all of his comrades were in separate armies. So I worked on that
with him. Mark and I have done a lot of little documentary type stuff that has
definitely influenced how we make movies. But it all comes from our initial
obsession with the inner workings of people and how messed up, beautiful and
hilarious it all can be.
PK: So, just three quick questions, maybe multiple choice.
Mumblecore: change the name? Is there need for a name? And what are you doing
next? I believe the next thing on the IMDB is "Jeff Who Lives at Home."
MD: "Jeff Who Lives at Home" - we just shot that. We just
wrapped a couple weeks ago in New
Orleans. So we'll be editing that and it's a little
bit of bigger movie than "Cyrus." We're taking these little progressive jumps
up in our career.
PK: And then finally your version of "Star Wars."
MD: Yep, "Star Wars" is
coming. But no light sabers this time just sarcastic witty comments that hurt
JD: And Mumblecore. I think it was necessary to bring
attention to films that cost under $20,000.
MD: This film was not that.
JD: Yeah, this film was not that. And for us it's very
important. We feel like Mumblecore is, ultimately, for the general population
exclusionary because people hear it, they don't understand it. Even if you Google
it a million times, you're never really going to understand it. For Mark and me
it was nice to be associated with something special a while back but
ultimately, between us, we're just making films that we want to make. It
doesn't fit into any category for us. We're just doing what we love. For this
film in particular, we really want people to come see it. We want everybody, we
want to invite everybody to come see this film.
PK: Even Kobe
come on out, man. Let's get sensitive, let's get weird.
PK: But there is a network of filmmakers who are around your
age. You work in each other's movies sometimes. You cover similar subjects, the
style is drawn from reality. Do you think there's a movement afoot? You know,
Dennis Hopper just died recently, so we're wondering when we're going to have
another reprise of the 60s where the filmmakers took over studios. Do you think
MD: I think the technology based thing that's happened and
that microbudget feature films are possible because there's good looking HD
cameras that are cheap now. I mean, it used to cost you $50,000 just to get a
16mm camera and the film together to make a movie. We're going to see, and we
are seeing, an influx of tons and tons of microbudget feature films being made
for $15,000, $10,000 or even under that. But those movies are going to be as
disparate and different in and amongst themselves as a lot of movies are. It's
almost it's own form, but within that form, style and content is going to be
pretty drastically different.
PK: People tend to imitate success. For a while there
everybody was doing Quentin Tarantino.
MD: And before that it was the Coen brothers.
JD: And in between there were these obnoxious brothers
trying to rip off Coen brothers movies.