You just finished shooting Me and Orson Welles with Zac Efron and Claire Danes. How was that experience?
Beautiful. It's coming out this fall. I couldn't be more happy with it. And Zac is fantastic. He worked really hard. I know it's always boring when people say how great everyone is they work with, but Zac's the real deal and he's going to have a really long career, because he's meant to be here.
So he's not just a song and dance man?
He's too talented, he's too much a natural. I've never met anyone less conflicted about performing. He's just born to do what he's doing. And he's really smart, and he works hard. He has a good family. I'd say his foundation is such that he's not going to be a fuck up and sabotage himself.
What kind of person flames out?
Usually people who do that are the ones who feel like they haven't worked hard and really have had it hoisted on them. They're picked out of a line, suddenly you're in the public eye, and think maybe you don't deserve it or something.
Was there any mobbing on set, because Robert Pattinson is getting it like crazy in New York right now.
Yeah, Zac attracts that same mob, but he handles it pretty well. How can you take it seriously? The age range of that mob is pretty young. It just shows you there's not a lot going on in the physical world for a lot of people. People like showing up and being excited about something. It's kind of fun to hear that squeal of young girls, I never really heard it before in person. When they encounter Zac Efron, it's just a pitch range that I haven't heard in my lifetime.
Also he talks about how bad off the industry is, which is definitely a huge part of the reason Me and Orson Welles is struggling with distribution. That part is under the cut.
I just found out about this script that finished called That's What I'm Talking About. It just got put on the shelf?
Yeah, it's definitely on hold. It's pretty heartbreaking, but the industry is really bad off right now. Everybody I know, it's like you think you have it bad, and then you hear their sob story. So I was like, gosh a low budget college comedy that's kind of a follow-up to ...
Dazed and Confused?
You know, it just doesn't make any sense. The industry is so shitty, it's just beyond all comprehension. I had it financed, I was just in search of a distributor. It shows how much the industry has evaporated.
Are you hopeful that it's going to get made eventually?
Yeah, I'm pretty sure it will at some time, it's hard to say when. It's kind of like, when will the economy recover? Someday. It could be ten years, it could be 18 months. It's a guessing game. It's just a weird time. It's one of those times that I think I pay for my outsider status, not really having that many friends inside the industry. When things tighten up, I fall off the list pretty quickly.
eta, Part 2:
Do you feel that Fast Food Nation didn’t get as much attention as it deserved, considering it was based on a bestseller, it had a star-studded cast, and premiered at Cannes?
Well, I’m not sure about that word “deserve.” I don’t know what’s deserved or not in this world. But the fact is, the distributor that distributed it pretty much made sure that all that stuff never happened. So when it starts there, there’s pretty much nothing you can do.
Why do you think that is and how does that make you feel?
It’s the trickle-down effect in the industry right now. The bar is so high even in the indie world. It used to be an indie film that grossed $3 million would be a huge hit. Now they won’t even touch it if they don’t think it can gross potentially $50 to 60 million.
When a movie like Juno or Slumdog Millionaire makes a lot of money, people say it’s great for the industry because its letting more of these films smaller films get made, but it sounds like it’s actually the opposite.
It’s actually bad for the industry, because at the end of the day, they’ll spend so much on getting a film like Juno or Little Miss Sunshine to make all this money, that they’ll spend $40 million, just like a studio film. And then the bar gets raised to an astronomical level. What’s lacking is a bunch of new distributors who are ok with—to use the baseball analogy—a bunch of singles and doubles, rather than the proverbial $80 million home run. Fuck, I don’t know what I’m saying, whatever. I would be happy to have one of those indie successes, but Fast Food Nation was not going to be one of them. It was not the feel-good movie that people were looking for.