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Paul Thomas Anderson Offers Some Tips to Young Filmmakers: ‘Work With Your Friends, That’s What I Say’

In a totally charming interview at the Santa Barbara Film Festival, the "Phantom Thread" filmmaker gave some young hopefuls some insight into his craft.

Paul Thomas Anderson

Paul Thomas Anderson

Eric Charbonneau/REX/Shutterstock

In the midst of the final throes of awards season, it can be easy for some bigwigs to burn out on the whole red carpet interview thing, skipping it wholesale, rushing past those eager microphone-toters, just check out. Not Paul Thomas Anderson. In what might be the year’s most charming interview with the “Phantom Thread” filmmaker and Best Director nominee, two middle schoolers from Santa Barbara Middle School recently interviewed the director on the red carpet at the starry Santa Barbara Film Festival.

“Are you guys doing interviews? Do you want to talk to me? Are you sure?” he asks the eager pair. “You’re in middle school? That’s cool.” The very game filmmaker even offered up a handshake to the two, before asking them about their career aspirations. Turns out, one of them has her eyes set on filmmaking.

“That’s a good idea,” Anderson said. “You gonna be writers? Directors?” (Wholly appropriate answer: Director.) “Yeah, that’s the good job,” he added with a smile.

The pair then asked Anderson to what he attributes his success in the filmmaking arena. “I think that I do what I love, I think I do it because I love it,” he said. “I just happened to be lucky enough to make money at it and get awards, I don’t do it because of that, I do it because I need to and it’s important for me to do.”

Asked about his initial idea for his lauded “Phantom Thread,” Anderson offered up the kind of tip only he could: work with Daniel Day-Lewis, basically. “Work with your friends, that what I say,” he said. Well, he’d know.

Check out the interview with the Santa Barbara Middle School Teen Press below.

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