Sam Mendes In Person

The Film Festival’s Sam Mendes interview was pretty good value. I think he got into a bit of a fankle, mentally, when he started talking about how he was more concerned with “truth” in his new movie, and had been more interested in “stylisation” beforehand — I don’t see the two as incompatible, and indeed I feel that expressing a truth is actually the PURPOSE of stylisation. Why do it otherwise? “Unreal but true,” was Orson Welles’s battle-cry. This disconnect between the mythical realms of form and content may be the source of my creeping dissatisfaction with stuff like AMERICAN BEAUTY.

But Mendes was delightful when discussing the late Conrad Hall. “He was seventy-five when we did ROAD TO PERDITION,” he recalled, “and he would forget he was wearing his headphones, his cans, like an old guy with an iPod, he would shout. So when I look at that scene, I remember filming it, and at the end of the shot Tom Hanks had run right up to us and was standing behind Conrad, who was looking at the monitor, and Conrad yelled, ‘Jesus, Tom Hanks runs like a fucking duck!'”

Conrad Hall will be missed.

4 Responses to “Duckman”

  1. Arthur S. Says:

    Sam Mendes plans to adapt MIDDLEMARCH next. Considered by Virginia Woolf to be “the only English novel written for an adult audience”. I have to admit, I don’t think Mendes has the ken for that.

    The article in the Independent interestingly suggested Scorsese as an alternative. He read that when making THE DEPARTED but considered the book “too long”.

  2. He surely will be missed. I especially love his work on The Day of the Locust. He captures the light here in L.A. like no one before or since.

  3. I’m not looking forward to Mendes’s Middlemarch either–he simply doesn’t have the right temperament for it.

    By the way David, were you ever successful in finding a copy of THE DIARIES OF MAJOR THOMPSON/THE FRENCH THEY ARE A FUNNY RACE?
    I’ve been looking for it as well but have had no luck.

  4. No, the Sturges is one film that still eludes me. It’ll come!

    I’m not familiar with Middlemarch from the inside out, being spectacularly ill-read, and avoiding BBC adaptations of 19th century novels like the plague…

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