While “The Canyons” continues to evoke a wide range of reactions from critics (read our review here), it has certainly put Paul Schrader right back on the map. His next movie is already brewing, “The Dying Of The Light” starring Nicolas Cage, he’s pitched Spike Lee on a Clarence Thomas biopic, and now it looks like he’s ready to head to TV as well.
Speaking with Interrobang, Schrader revealed he’s got a project in the works over at the most unlikely of places, CNN. And no, it’s not a news or documentary show. “I’m in kind of a negotiation with CNN to do a limited series. They’re thinking of moving over to fiction. And I proposed that we do something on Tim McVeigh and the gun show culture,” Schrader said. “Because that’s what happened – when Travis Bickle moved from the ’70s to the ’80s, he met the gun show culture. That’s where Tim McVeigh came from. (laughs) And now, when Travis Bickle meets the social media culture – I don’t know what comes out of that.”
So an updated take on the loner on edge in the age of social media? Sounds pretty fascinating, and when we spoke to Schrader last month, he was already hinting about going to the small screen. And TV likely provides many more creative avenues than the current movie world does.
“It’s been a huge migration of talent over to TV, it’s almost like a land rush now. If Soderbergh doesn’t watch out, he’ll get trampled by 2000 other directors and actors trying to get into television because that’s where the interesting work lies. Because film, you’re either in the micro-budget world or you’re making films that don’t interest you. Now there will always be say 6-10 interesting films a year that have marquee value. The Spielberg–Daniel Day-Lewis film, they’re still going to make that film, but they’re also not going to make that many of them,” Schrader told us. “And so now you have this huge burst of product at the micro-budget level, there’s probably 10,000 people making movies right now with their Canon-Ds and then you have the ultra-budget stuff which they’re making fewer and fewer of and making less and less for Americans. It’s not a very conducive atmosphere for a writer when your first market is China. They’re making movies for people who don’t speak English. And so in that sense, it doesn’t really excite you as a writer.”
For now we’ll keep an ear to the ground about the CNN gig, but until then, “The Canyons” is in limited release and on VOD today. Below, you can watch a 30-minute Q&A with Schrader from this week’s New York City premiere at Film Society Of Lincoln Center. And after that, you can see a version of “The Canyons” trailer remixed/scored by Kanye West.