What Richard and Mildred Loving did was, by their nature, not by any calculus, they separated themselves from the political conversation. They did not have an agenda. They did not want to be martyrs. They did not want to be symbols of a movement.
The funny thing about 'Take Shelter' is that a lot of people talk about how it was allegory for the economy and things that were to happen. And that was so on the nose in the movie for me. I was like, 'That's obvious.' It's the other stuff about marriage and commitment and those other things that I spent the most time thinking about.
We have a problem with dealing with race in our country. We have a problem with dealing with marriage equality and equality in general. These are complex, divisive issues in our society, and I think that the only way we further this conversation is to take them down to a very human scale.
I think I could probably make $5 to $10m movies for a very long time and live a perfectly good life doing it. I'd probably get paid as well as a surgeon, which is pretty damn remarkable for a guy who went to film school.
If I can drive down the road in my car and listen to XM satellite, and when a song gets beamed into my car, it can tell me who wrote the song and what the damn lyrics are, why, when you broadcast a digital signal of a film, can't it speak to your television to set up a list of settings to show the film in the way that it was meant to be shown?
When I saw the scene in 'Close Encounters,' and Richard Dreyfuss's son is screaming at him - that's a heartbreaking scene. And I remember being devastated by 'E.T.' Or when E.T. started to get sick. That broke me up a little bit.
My stated goal as a filmmaker is to feel something. Is to have a palpable emotion in my life, carry it through the gauntlet of the filmmaking process and try and have it land for an audience at some point during the viewing experience. That to me is successful filmmaking.
The films that have influenced me most are: 'The Hustler', 'Badlands', 'Hud', 'Tender Mercies', 'Cool Hand Luke', 'A Perfect World', and 'Laurence of Arabia'. I also really like 'Fletch'. I feel like all of these films reached an honest place in regard to the human condition while also stringing together really entertaining stories.
Your whole life is changed with that first child. Your social behaviors are all turned upside down, you're sleep deprived, but eight months in, my son had this seizure, and it just woke me up to the idea that, oh, no, this can end. And it can end in a way that will destroy you forever.
I've kind of always had this balance between genre and personal dramas. It almost feels like the two help each other. If I was just to make a genre film, maybe it would be hollow and soulless. If I was just to make a personal drama, maybe it would be melodramatic and nobody would ever go see it.
People ask me about past projects I've worked on, and other things; I'm just really bad at lying. I have a bad poker face, so I just try to tell people how I'm feeling in the moment and really what I was trying to do.
The more we try to control our kids and create who they are and where they're going, the more that will fall apart. That's a dangerous thing. So you need to actually manage the fear and figure out who your kids are. Who do they want to be and how can you help shape that, but not control it.
One of my favorite directors is Clint Eastwood, and I hear about the way he works, and I think I'm of a similar style. Very few takes - you get what you take, and you move on. It's very much a job and work.
You have actors you've worked with previously, and you have actors you haven't worked with that you've seen in things where you know they can work in these parts. And then there are actors who blow you away, who surprise you.