1. Are there young filmmakers you’re excited about?
Shane Carruth. He did the film Primer, and he’s got a terrific new movie at Sundance. And I’m acting as a presenter on the new Godfrey Reggio film [Visitors], which is exciting. I mean, this is a guy who doesn’t build a film based on other things he’s seen, like I do. It’s his own thing.
2. Are you entirely satisfied with any of your films?
Out of Sight. It’s less flawed than the others. Or The Informant! As I look at those two, I feel like I don’t know what else I would do.
3. What are you gravitating toward as a painter?
I go back and forth between portraits and abstracts. I’m not really interested in landscapes or still life. I’m more attracted to faces. In fact, whenever I think of a film I’m about to make, I see a face with a certain expression on it. For my photography, I’ve been studying the work of Duane Michals. He’s famous for these photo sequences, which tell stories in a cinematic way. I bought a few of his books, and I’ve begun to think about sequences of my own that suggest a narrative.
I’m always curious to hear how something was made—though I have no interest in why an artist did something, or what his work means. Like with Jackson Pollock: I’m always interested in what kind of paint and canvas he used, I just don’t want to know what he meant. You’re supposed to expand your mind to fit the art, you’re not supposed to chop the art down to fit your mind.
4. Have you met any naturally great leaders?
George Clooney. He inspires people. He listens. He’s generous. He’s loyal. He’s funny, which is crucial. He solves problems better than anyone I know. That’s why people keep telling him to run for office, but he’s too smart for that. If there were 500 of him, you could take over an entire country—but of course three weeks later you’d lose it again because of all the parties.
5. What are your 5 favorite films?
Barry Lyndon, The Searchers, The Red Shoes, In The Mood For Love, and Cries and Whispers