Do you track the success of the smaller projects you do once they enter the marketplace?
I try to because I'm interested as a producer: what's working, why it's working, how it worked. The format's are so different these days. I was talking to someone the other day about Ed Burns, and how he's now doing movies for tiny, tiny budgets, off the radar completely. From what I understand he's actually making a lot of money doing that because he's finding ways to put it out there so that people can find without having the constraints of financing weighing it down. I'm more intrigued... I follow it more from an interest standpoint, over checking in to see if my value is successful. I would be psychotic if I thought like that. I've had so many failures. I mean honestly, seriously, I've had five movies in the past couple of years that haven't even gotten released. People lost $10 million a piece on them. I can't say that the movies are anything as good as anything I've done, but it's just merely that they became so weighed down by politics, that no matter how good the movie is, it just got too expensive to release it. That's just goes to show you how the system has changed.
What kind of work are you gravitating towards now, then? Are you just looking to be fulfilled as an artist?
I think it's a little bit of both. One of the reasons I did "The Firm" was because I thought there an audience for it. What I now think, is that the journey of the experience matters more. It's become more and more zen in my mind. Dude, it's about the walk, it's not about the destination. If I can make a decent or even an honest living doing something that I love, I'm already having an experience which is entirely rare. The success of it is really mysterious to me more and more.
Someone said to me the worst you can possibly do is plan to win an Oscar. All you can do is -- it sounds so obvious -- is just do the work. I do get my heart broken by busting my ass on films and having an entire crew work their ass off, then have the film be sitting on a shelf. I imagine it's like a great painter who gets his work locked in a room. It's strangely unrewarding, even if the experience of making it is great. That's why you go out and support movies.
"Someone said to me the worst you can possibly do is plan to win an Oscar."
So how do you feel about this film getting a theatrical release?
This one is an interesting one because it doesn't answer any questions. It's not "The Artist," in the sense that it's not a silent film that's fun to watch. It's a very sad, tiny personal journey that I find quite beautiful. The experience making it was so good, even if it was incredibly challenging. I give huge about of credit to the producers who risked a lot to put it out there.
Chris is a remarkably unique filmmaker. His taste and his day-to-day essence, does have a Native American perspective to it that is… you feel it. Sitting with him, you feel it.
The film takes place on a boat. Did you method it up and live on the boat during the shoot?
I would have. I actually asked to! But the truth is I spent a lot of time on boats and that's one of the reasons I did this movie. It's one of the places I'm most comfortable.
I had moved to New York because of being on a sailboat that was hit during a terrible storm that threw three people overboard. We thought one person was going to die.
At the moment I was living in Los Angeles at the time doing really shit television and making decent money. I was 22 years old, and was really bored already and felt like I wasn't risking anything. I had this profound lightning bolt go off in my head saying, This is what's wrong with your life right now. You're not risking anything, you're not putting yourself out there, and the place that's going to do that to you is New York. It's going to beat your ass and challenge you. So I moved there within a week.
I've always been attracted since to stories about this journey that someone goes through where they face themselves. That sailboat experience did that to me.