How do you define a sell out exactly? No doubt it seems like a bad sign when an indie filmmaker goes from making six-figure digital films to directing a mainstream $37 million dollar Hollywood movie. But what if that studio film is actually pretty good, does that make him any less of a sell out? Since these days we seem to pat a director on the back when he or she breaks into the bigtime in Hollywood, perhaps filmmaker Gary Winick (“Tadpole”, “The Tic Code”, “Sweet Nothing”), director of the upcoming “13 Going on 30,” is simply the latest indie film success story following in the footsteps of such filmmakers as Bryan Singer or Christopher Nolan. After all, as John Pierson says, indie fiilm in the 90s became Hollywood’s farm team (or to quote him directly, “it’s been a talent scouting movement”). Perhaps Gary would argue that he put in his time, making and producing countless low-budget movies, and now he’s earned the right to make a big movie and finally get paid a decent wage.
In a Reuters interview published today, Gary seems to be saying that he’s achieved a goal, to make a movie that people like, and now, he says, he’ll likely get to make another. “13 Going on 30” is a fun, entertaining film, a crowd-pleaser the night I saw it at a multiplex on 42nd St. However, its clearly not the the sort of artful Hollywood film that former indies like P.T. Anderson, Wes Anderson, or even Alexander Payne seem to be making. So does that make him a sell out? Frankly, I have no idea.
Gary Winick addressed the subject himself in the Reuters article: “People say to get the Hollywood movie, you have to put up with all the bull that goes with that,” Winick said. “Maybe 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to…Yes, you do have to do it a little differently, but that doesn’t mean you compromise. That doesn’t mean I’m selling out.” .