By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire May 31, 2012 at 12:15PM
I think on network television it's tremendously difficult to do anything with real bite. All the shows that I mentioned are outside network television. The corporate interests are so overwhelming to television these days, from a network standpoint. And I think networks are getting their asses kicked because of it. I think the reason why all those shows I mentioned are from cable or pay cable networks is because they are capable of being more fearless, more character driven, more writing driven. I would be quite reluctant to do network television, because I felt in the end it had to play it safe. I think that's why audiences are getting bored.
Do you think it's too far of a stretch to say there's a correlation between independent film and cable, and studio films and network television?
The problem in what's going on with independent film right now is that there's very little avenue for it to find an audience. The story there is if you click on pay-per-view these days, there will be 50 or 60 films that you've never heard of, some of which star friends of mine, major incredible actors. I'm always like, what's this movie? I think what's happening is that it's kind of similar in that way. These movies are falling between the cracks.
There is the audience for television out there. People are finding these shows and these shows have that support. It's generating not just press, but there's media support underneath it. I've had a number of movies that have been some of the of the best movies that I've ever done, that are literally sitting on a shelf.
But the bigger movies, definitely I feel consistently, unless they have an extraordinary director behind them, are corporate entities these days. Studios have really changed. They used to be run by filmmakers or people who love film, to nowadays being run by financiers and people with banking mentalities. That's changed completely the kinds of films we're seeing come out. There will always be a place for big, huge-budget action stuff like "The Avengers," but I think these little movies are now starting to fall between the cracks and people are yearning for them. So they find places where they can easily be discovered. We're going to be in a bit of a glut for a while.
Well "Hulk" was a little different. I always felt "Poseidon" was like working on an oil rig. I was very well paid, it was very dangerous. It was very unrewarding in a way. Your job is literally to get into the water, go down wait, put a regulator in your mouth, light the water on fire, get out of the water, go back to your chair and wait. As opposed to "Hide Away," which was the exact opposite. It was a completely creative, joyful, collaborative time. People coming together to tell the best story they can tell in 15 days with this tiny amount of money, with this crazy weather.
There's such a difference between big budget and small budget that way, where one is so much about the joy of problem solving, and the other is often times about at what level is this movie almost have too much money? My favorite films are always the smaller films.
Independent filmmakers no doubt bring you on board because a name like yours can essentially fund their movie. Do you feel more pressure going into a film like "Hide Away," where your name is thrown into the mix to help the team break even, or is there more riding on you when you take part in something like "Poseidon," where you're part of a huge machine?
I think 100 percent more I feel the pressure on the big films, because there is a corporation on top of you. I think because the system has changed so much, and that only Will Smith can open a movie any more, it doesn't matter if you have a name brand like "Poseidon." If the film doesn't look interesting to people, then they won't search it out. I think "Hunger Games" is the perfect example of a film that somehow struck a chord with people. It was just interesting looking to people. It ended up firing on so many different rounds, without any movie stars.