Craig Barritt / Getty Images for The Harold And Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust
December 12, 2013
I understand you helped persuade Paul Greengrass he'd be right to direct "Captain Phillips." Can you tell me about that?
"In truth, it wasn't that hard to do. [laughs]"
What did you say to him? He told The Times his concern was this material could have gone in any number of different directions.
"That it was a very rare chance to make a tough-minded political film about a very modern subject with the backing of a major studio and a great actor in it. It's very easy for Paul to get any job he wants in Hollywood. Any movie he wants to do, anybody would be thrilled to have him do. For it to be a movie that suits his own personal desire is a different thing. Because he's a very political filmmaker. It's a movie about globalization. And that globalization story is subsumed by a thriller ¿ by the tropes of a suspense film. It sort of uses 100% of what he has, and not every movie does that."
Moving on to "Llewyn Davis," you have a long and fruitful working relationship with the Coen brothers.
"It's fantastic. I cannot tell you how much I value it. It started when we worked together on "Blood Simple," which was 25 years ago. When I bought the rights to "No Country," I was only interested if I could get them to do it. It was not a piece of material I think I would have done with anyone else. They asked me to do "True Grit." And we joined together on this based on a common interest in the subject. This they worked on for a very long time. This has been percolating for many years."
Tell me about them bringing this material to you and developing it.
"They historically have done really brilliantly with a story of an outsider in a landscape. That's what it is, but set in New York? It's an amazing opportunity for them. Realistically, it's very, very hard not to love this music. They have a giant penchant for American roots music and a huge knowledge of it. It was pretty clear from the second word, them doing this with T-bone, would be something people would be interested in and be excited by and great. Add to it the kind of mythological elements, the spiritual elements in it, it's kind of astonishingly smack in their wheelhouse."