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MCN Blogs
Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar Voynar@moviecitynews.com

Finger Wagging

All of these sternly worded emails about the Hunger Games screenings in my inbox this week are simultaneously amusing and annoying. You MUST sign a review embargo agreement! You MUST NOT bring your cell phone to the screening! You MUST sign over your first-born son for us to sacrifice to the fickle Box Office Gods (okay, that one I made up, but tell me someone hasn’t thought of that).

Seriously, people. It’s The Hunger Games. A movie. Adapted from a book targeted at the YA market. Not the Ark of the Covenant or a state secret that could potentially threaten national security. Probably the studio spent too much money making it, and yes, they have a lot riding on its financial success. And certainly, some people breaking embargo on films generally has threatened the studios and created these situations that infantilize working press who are just trying to do their jobs, but the studios also feed that, do they not, by creating these situations where they’re sternly wagging a finger at some press, while freely granting embargo breaking to others. Same shit different day, I know. Some days it just grates more than others. And kinda makes me care a lot less about whether I review a particular film or not.

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“I was a brat back when I made Pootie Tang. I was dealing with people every day whose pressures I didn’t understand, and I wasn’t very nice about how I said no to them. I put myself in a position I didn’t have to be in. A lot of what makes this kind of stuff work is empathy. If you’re taking money from somebody, they have a right to look after it. It’s all just trying to be clear about the arrangement. That’s why when I set up ‘Louie,’ I just said, ‘This is what I’m comfortable doing, and if you don’t want to do it, I don’t blame you. But in exchange, I’ll take very little money.’ I was only getting $200,000 per show from them, which is insane, and it goes up just by tiny increments every year. The other part of the arrangement with FX is that if this stops working for them, they should just tell me and we’ll stop doing it. Contractually, FX has a right to demand that the scripts be filtered through them before I shoot them, just like any other show. But from the beginning, they haven’t read anything, and they like the show. If I start turning in shit, then they’re going to start asking to see scripts, and that’s perfectly fair.”
~ Louis C. K.

BOMB: Do you give a lot of direction?

ASSAYAS: I give zero indications. Nothing. To me, it’s all physical. It is all about getting the right actors. They understand the part. They’re not idiots. They’re going to sit down, and they’re going to work. They don’t need my explanations. The problem is that actors listen to directors. They respect them. So, when you say something, it becomes gospel. In a certain way, this limits their imagination. I’d rather say nothing. Then, when we shoot, I fix whatever I don’t like. I channel it as softly as I can in a direction where, maybe, there’s something to gain. But, usually, if you are working with the right people, their instinct will be correct. They will bring something of their own to the character, and to the situation. Ultimately, there will be some kind of human truth to what they are doing.
~ Olivier Assayas on directing

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