Ask Anything: The Year in Movieline Interviews

When you publish a few hundred interviews in eight months -- as Movieline did in 2009 -- you're bound to run into some fascinating people with plenty to say. What follows is a cross-section of our favorites, along with the hopes of many more to come in the year ahead. Reminisce, and enjoy!

Emily Blunt (April 13)

On paparazzi: It's abusive. It's an assault. They are effectively stalkers with cameras--in fact, they are only one object away from being classified as stalkers. I don't really get it that badly, but it does happen. My sister told me she saw something on YouTube of me at this cafe and someone was filming me, and you can hear the camera guy say, "Get a shot between her legs." And I was like, "When the fuck did I turn into the crotch girl?" Those lenses, man! You can zoom in... Just to get a picture. You couldn't even print it. [...] I have no desire to have [a bodyguard]. It's as simple as making a choice to have that or not, for me. Because I'm away so much, I do get a bizarre joy out of going to buy my own loo roll. And I wonder, if you become insulated like that, does your curiosity cease to exist? That frightens me. I don't ever want to lose being curious. The world is a very beautiful place and you miss everything if you become like that.

Tilda Swinton (May 1)

On her monologue about movies in The Limits of Control: That was sort of taken, at Jim [Jarmusch]'s request, pretty well entirely from a piece of writing of mine. It was a piece called the "State of Cinema Address," which I delivered at the San Francisco Film Festival a few years ago. I wrote it as a letter to my son, which started with a question that my son -- who was 8 1/2 at the time -- asked me about cinema and dreams. He said, "Mama, what did people dream before cinema was invented?" Which seemed such an incredibly perceptive question about consciousness, but also so perceptive about cinema -- that he would imagine and accept absolutely the relationship between dreams and cinema. Jim was a big fan of this piece of writing, and he asked me to take a section out. And that dream that I mention about the bird flying through the room of sand is an experience I had when I was a student at Cambridge in the '80s. I saw Tarkovsky's Stalker, and there's a scene of that image -- of a bird flying through a room of sand. And I'd been having that dream my whole life, or probably since before I was 10. I've stopped having it since seeing that film, but it really blew my mind that someone else would have exactly the same image somehow and put it in a film. That really informed my relationship with cinema: the idea that it is what's unconscious.


Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna (May 5)

On the differences between sibling filmmakers Alfonso and Carlos Cuaron:

BERNAL: Well, I will say that if Alfonso had directed this film, he would have said things like, "OK, two minute warning!" in the soccer match. "Touchdown!"

LUNA: "And then you bring out your racquet..." Alfonso doesn't know anything about soccer, but he pretends to know, and that says a lot about them as directors. Carlos would not come to direct until he knows everything about the subject, you know? And Alfonso tells you everything you need to hear to be there. It's like, one thinks more as a writer, and the other thinks more as a director. And there's no rule on which way you have to be, but Carlos waited until everything was on the page and every answer was there. When there was confusion, he would say, "OK, let's go back to the script and the answer is there." Easy. [...] With Alfonso, he finds a lot in the moment. Also, I think Carlos is a guy who would hear everyone's opinion and decide where to go, versus Alfonso, who would shout if you even opened your mouth. [all laugh] Like, if I was the actor, Carlos would let me say anything I wanted, but with Alfonso, there's this feeling that either he's going to think you said something smart or you're going to be punished for the rest of the film!

Francis Ford Coppola (June 3)

On aging and failure: You know, I'm a very interesting figure, because arguably, I got more famous as I got older. I became more like an icon -- partly, because people need to have some old guys as icons. We don't have Ernest Hemingway around anymore, so whoever's old more or less could qualify! So I realize that on one hand, I'm considered this great old director, and on the other hand, it's like, "What's he done lately? He's washed up, I don't even care what movies he makes anymore." But in truth, my films were not successful in their time. I mean, The Godfather was, but... People say a lot of the time, "You could never compete with those successes...Apocalypse Now, and this and that." And I say, "Those movies weren't successes! They were failures, read the reviews!" So I'm used to films being slammed and then, twenty years later, turning out differently. It's all vague, nothing is definite. Criticism is often wrong, as we know through history. Carmen, which is now the most popular opera in the repertoire, was a tremendous flop [when it premiered]. Why did they hate it?

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