Though 16 years had passed since Todd Field’s last film, “Little Children,” the emergence of “TÁR” on the fall festival circuit was an immediate reminder of the auteur’s filmmaking talent. The film, which stars Cate Blanchett as a prominent orchestral conductor who finds her career collapsing before her eyes after a scandal, has earned overwhelmingly positive reviews and is widely viewed as a strong Academy Award contender. The film has the potential to bring Field his first Oscar and Blanchett, for whom he specifically wrote the role, her third.
Now that he is on the frontlines of Oscar season, Field is able to look back at the humble beginnings that launched his directing career. In a recent appearance on The Hollywood Reporter Director Roundtable, Field said that his love of cinema began with many, many viewings of Steven Spielberg’s “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
“It started for me in high school,” Field said. “I had a job at a second-run movie house, so we would run certain films for up to six months. I projected ‘Raiders of Lost Ark’ literally, like, 350 times. So I fell in love with movies then. I acted for about five years and quit to go to the American Film Institute and had no desire to act again. But this film that I had acted in by Victor Nuñez [‘Ruby in Paradise’] had come out while I was in school and won the grand jury prize at Sundance. And for essentially the next 10 years, my phone would ring with acting offers, and that’s how I paid off my student loans. That and my wife [costume designer Serena Rathbun] keeping the lights on.”
While Field says he has no regrets about pursuing a career in directing, despite his well-publicized difficulty with getting projects financed, he says that he can now laugh about how the job is so much harder than it appears from the outside.
“From the outside, people understandably think that you sit in a chair and people bring you things,” he said. “They don’t realize that you’re just wrecked because you’re worrying about everything.”