MATTHEW BRIGHT: BIG BAD WOLF

It’s hard for anyone to get a film made, but is it harder for someone with your reputation?
Not really, because I’m a known writer-director, but it was so hard before that. With “Tiptoes,” I wrote the script so long ago, I remember that “I Never Promised you a Rose Garden” was playing. In case you don’t remember, that was 1977, Kathleen Quinlan was just a kid, and that’s a long time ago. So, I’ve been making a living for twenty five years, writing scripts that were optioned over and over, but not being made, and I’ve just been going on and on. With “Tiptoes” I had all of these big names wanting to make this; people like Michael Gruskoff, the big honcho; Jeff Bridges wanted to make it, but he couldn’t get it done and Amy Irving wanted to do it as well. This was years ago. So, after “Freeway,” twenty years later, Gary Oldman shows interest and it gets the green light. So I think I’ve got it made, but then Lion’s Gate says, “We’ll give you $750,000.” Fuck that. Finally, producer Brad Wyman stepped and got me $3.2 Million to do the film.

Oliver Stone was your mentor?
Well, he was the one who gave me my break. He’s also one of three or four people that I would really be happy with directing one of my scripts. But yeah, I sent one of my scripts to Richard Rutowski, one of Oliver’s producing partners, and he gave it to Oliver who loved it so much that he fought to get it made and to have me direct it.

Are there some people who are scared of you, particularly at the beginning of your directing career when you made “Freeway?”
Before Oliver, no one would even touch “Freeway,” they were so scared. I know “Freeway” was a tough film with strong language but as far as what people find offensive, it seems to be what they find offensive with me as opposed to the films. I write scripts about people who will never be in the MPAA. I’ve also been attacked at conventions and festivals, but luckily I’ve had my kid there to kick their ass.

So many independent filmmakers can’t even give their films away, but with you, it seems like your films are an easy sell. Is it easy to get your films financed?
I talked about “Tiptoes.” “Ted Bundy,” which was a situation where I was a hired gun, that was easy. It sold out at the American Film Market. The same producer had already done “Ed Gein” so “Bundy” was into profit from day one and it only cost about two million anyway. On the other hand, with “Freeway II,” I had half the money of the first film, and I had to deal with a bunch of union assholes up in Canada, and then there’s a project called “Pol Pot” that I want to do. Pol Pot is of course that evil mass murdering dictator from the third world. Well, I want to do a film about these kids from Vietnam who are taken to these torture schools and they’re brainwashed into becoming the Dictator’s next army. It’s a tough sell, tough to get the money for. First, I need thousands of extras like in Saving Private Ryan, so if I did it here it would cost about 80 or 90 million. However, I hired someone to do a budget breakdown and I figured out that if I went to Cambodia or some other third world place, I could do it for about a million. Since there’s no Americans in it at all, it might be doable. That’s the way I think. If I can only get financing for films about white people having sex, and no one in America cares about millions of people being exterminated, who cares about the American market anyway? So I can do “Pol Pot” for a million and sell it to the Asian market, the European market….

Get the rest of the interview in part three of MATTHEW BRIGHT: BIG BAD WOLF>>>




Posted on September 20, 2002 in Interviews by

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