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Scott Rudin On the Coens, Managing Oscar Expectations and Why Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg May Be the Best Comedy Directors of 2013

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire December 23, 2013 at 2:47PM

Scott Rudin talks to Indiewire about his mighty trio of 2013 films, and some films from this year that he didn't help make but loved anyway.
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'Frances Ha'
'Frances Ha'

Well, I sincerely hope the coming weeks brings the film the money and awards consideration it deserves. 

Thank you.  I feel really grateful to have had this particular year. We had three good movies come out this year and they're all very different and I'm very proud of each of them. But also part of it is when you have a continuing relationship with filmmakers, the next movie is always the thing you feel happiest about. Because it just means the relationship has worked.

Let's talk about those other two films you note besides "Llewyn Davis." First there's Noah Baumbach's "Frances Ha," which was definitely a little movie that could this year and indeed continued your long-standing relationship with Mr. Baumbach.

It was just such a great thing for Noah to go off and make a movie nobody knew about. It was completely quiet. Literally, it was never called "Frances Ha" or anything like that on any call sheet. Nobody knew we were making it. No one knew it existed, and I think it's a beautiful movie. We've made 5 or 6 movies together and it's been one of the most rewarding relationships we've had.

And then there's "Captain Phillips," which is your first film with Paul Greengrass, and was clearly a success both critically and commercially.

All credit entirely to Greengrass. It's really his film, top to bottom.

Well, it certainly seems likely that will pay off to the tune of some major Oscar nominations.

I hope so. You never know. I hope it is because I feel like Paul and Tom took a movie that could have easily been a pretty standard programmer in anyone else's hands and made it into a real experience. I think it also has a very deep political idea that is entirely where Paul lives. It is what it is because of the relationship that he made with Hanks.

"Captain Phillips"
"Captain Phillips"

Going into awards season, how do personally manage the expectations of that? I mean, you've certainly had many films do extremely well at the Oscars, but there's also been a few that for one reason or another didn't go as far. I'm thinking of "The Royal Tenenbaums" and "The Truman Show," for example, both of which as far as I'm concerned should have got best picture nominations.

Every year is different. Expanding the amount of best picture nominees, I think, made it a happier thing for everybody just because more films are included and a wider range of films gets rewarded. But realistically, I don't think many people remember what movies got nominated and what didn't. The posters are on my wall when I walk into my office and I feel a huge sense of pride either way. We've made nearly or just over 100 films. I never in my life thought I'd get anywhere near that body of work. You can't look at things any other way. In the end, I got to make a movie with Jim Carrey and Peter Weir at a time when nobody particularly thought that movie had a chance to be anything. And those two guys made a great film. I'm thrilled that we did it. Honestly, it's great when awards stuff happens, but it doesn't change what I feel about the movies when it doesn't.

Well, let's end things off by talking about some of the movies of 2013 that you weren't involved in making. Were there any that really sort of blew your mind?

You know, funnily enough [Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel's documentary] "Leviathan." I thought it was really, really tremendous. And the other movie I thought was just astonishing was Sarah Polley's movie.

I can't argue against either of those choices.

And the other movie I thought was really, really fantastic that I can't believe is getting overlooked by the year end groups, even in the Globes, is the Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg movie "This is the End," which I thought was brilliant. If anybody but those two guys had directed that movie as their first movie, you'd be looking at it saying that this is the advent of a brilliant, brilliant comedy director. Just because they wrote it and Seth is in it just makes the directing achievement so easy to overlook. But that's probably the best-directed comedy of the year and by a mile the most inventive.

It's also one of the most clever commentaries on Hollywood I've ever seen.

Unbelievably so! But also the genius of getting people to sort of play your idea of them rather then them. It's as in control of its meta-ness as any Charlie Kaufman movie.

That's definitely saying something.

This article is related to: Awards Season Roundup, Scott Rudin, Inside Llewyn Davis, Frances Ha, Captain Phillips, Awards, Interviews





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