In film and theatre, there are directors that are given the lead role because they are very, very talented. Then there are the directors, who are given the lead role because they’re very good actors, but then there are the directors who are given the lead role because they are a lot better at directing than they are in the other mediums. It’s like in politics with the president. If you have someone who is a very competent writer and could write a book, or a movie, but you don’t really have the ability to execute on that script to the best of your ability to the best of the director’s (power), you’re really screwed when you’re actually in charge of the administration. I’ve seen that happen more often than I’d like to admit. So I’m always very conscious of that. But it’s not a question of who is the lead, because it’s not a question of who is good at directing, it is a question of who you’re hiring to be in the room with you if anything is going wrong, because you have to make sure that nobody is going to lose their heads or be a distraction.
If I’m directing something, I’m very conscious of having somebody in the room who I feel comfortable bringing on to make sure what the director has set out to do and what the actor on the screen is going to do actually works together—to make sure the film’s going to turn out the way we want it to.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve had to do as a director?
I’ve loved directing, like the whole process that goes with it. It has to do with doing what you’ve gotta do when you’re creating something. You’ve got a lot of work to do. If all you have are two people and you know you’re working with them to make the character work, you’ve done absolutely everything else right. You’ve got the story. You’ve got the cast to work with, so you know they’re getting along the way. There’s only one reason you create something, there’s one reason you write something—it’s because it’s the right thing for that given situation. As a director, you don’t have much control over what goes wrong on the screen.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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