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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Newsweek's directors roundtable

Absolutely nothing to do with technology...but a fun conversation with Steven Spielberg, Ang Lee, Paul Haggis ("Crash"), George Clooney, and Bennett Miller ("Capote"). All five were just nominated this morning for "Best Director,", and all five of their films got nominated for "Best Picture," and all five got nominated for a screenplay award, too (either "Original" or "Adapted.")

Here's a snip:

    NEWSWEEK: In fact, the studios don't want you to make these kinds of movies. [Like "Munich," "Brokeback Mountain," "Capote," etc.]

    SPIELBERG: With the exception of my film, none of these other films were part of the conventional studio system. They were all maverick productions that dared to challenge audiences with things that they feel very private about.

    CLOONEY: But in general you still need the studio to distribute the films, so I'm not bashing studios. I think they've actually taken some chances this year. It costs so much to distribute even the little movies. Bennett, how much did your film cost to make?

    BENNETT MILLER: $7 million.

    CLOONEY: And it probably cost $20 million to distribute.

    MILLER: No way. It was more like $10 million.

    CLOONEY: But now, with the [Oscar campaign] ads, I imagine it's more.

    PAUL HAGGIS: I wonder how much influence those ads actually have.

    SPIELBERG: I never look at the ads, because it's just too much to read. And everybody here has gotten so many kudos. Especially Ang's movie.

    CLOONEY: Yeah. I don't read an ad unless it says "Brokeback Mountain" across the top. [Laughter; Lee smiles and hides his face in his hands.]

    SPIELBERG: My family was actually planning to take a trip next summer to Brokeback Mountain. It sounded like a nice place to spend a week. [Laughter]