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Paul Thomas Anderson, American Cinematheque’s Young Master, on Acting, Film vs. Digital, ‘Die Hard’ & More

Paul Thomas Anderson, American Cinematheque's Young Master, on Acting, Film vs. Digital, 'Die Hard' & More

Paul Thomas Anderson – the American Cinematheque’s Young Master who is enjoying a retrospective at their Aero Theater on November 10, 11 and  13 — recently spoke with MovieHole about his “Boogie Nights” characters, the film vs. digital divide, writing “The Master,” working with actors and “glazing over,” as well as the film he’d have liked a chance to direct: “Die Hard.” Check out some highlights below.

On veteran actors like “The Master” star Philip Seymour Hoffman:

Acting is like anything. Yeah, you get more miles under your belt, but you’re fooling yourself if you think that means anything. Because you can have it one day, and it’s not there the next. You can have one take and then lose it, and you just… Suddenly there’s a downward spiral. I don’t care who you are, whether you’re Phil or Robert De Niro or any of these actors. The weird job, it’s a hard job, very elusive, and the second you start thinking, “I know how to do this,” you realize you don’t, and that there’s a great kind of risk in the industry too, why it does work when it works.

On film vs. digital:

I’ve seen some films that look great in digital, some that haven’t. But truthfully, it has nothing to do with the cameras. It has to do with the care and attention to detail that somebody is putting into it. It’s just like… Just the same way that I’ve seen films that look like they’re shot through a teabag. It’s like, who’s paying attention to this? Who cares? So I don’t really care what they are using or reach for, to do it. It doesn’t so much matter to me,..I mean, I know what I prefer to work with just because I know it better, but I haven’t had a story to tell that would require me to use a digital camera, but I have nothing against it. But the thing that pisses me off is when something is thrown in the garbage, like these film projectors that are kind of dismantled and sold for scrap. That doesn’t make any sense to me. I’ve been in a million projection booths all over the world. There is enough room to keep the projectors and put a digital projector in. And any one of them… I hate seeing stuff get thrown away. That depresses me.

No to “Die Hard 6” but yes to “Die Hard”:

I would never want to do something like [Die Hard 6] but if I had had a chance to direct the first Die Hard? Yes. I don’t know that I could have done it that well, like John McTiernan did. But that’s one of my favourite films. I must have seen it 10 to 15 times in the movie theatre. And I would love to do something like that.  Action films take a lot of time and they’re really fun to watch and to edit together, but they’re not that much fun to make. I mean, and I only say that from the experience that I’ve had doing anything that is remotely kinda action oriented, like the frog scene in Magnolia or some of the bits in There Will be Blood, that it’s so time consuming, waiting for somebody to blow up a window.  I don’t know, it doesn’t float my boat as much as the of the other stuff.

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