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Director's Roundtable - LA Times

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Director's Roundtable - LA Times

Post by watching on Thu Jan 26 2012, 08:26

George talking films with Stephen Daldry, Martin Scorsese, Alexander Payne and Michel Hazanavicius with the LA Times

George Clooney on directing: I look for films 'in my wheelhouse'
January 16, 2012 | 4:30pm

Every film begins with a decision — not whom to cast, where to shoot or how much to spend, but simply what to make. At The Times' third annual Directors Roundtable, five of the year's top filmmakers came together to discuss their current Oscar-contending films and their creative processes, which start with that first choice of what story to tell.

In this first excerpt from the roundtable, directors George Clooney ("The Ides of March"), Stephen Daldry ("Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"), Michel Hazanavicius ("The Artist"), Alexander Payne ("The Descendants") and Martin Scorsese ("Hugo") talk to The Times' John Horn about how they decide which movies to bring to life.

"I've been lucky enough to experience different reasons for making pictures," Scorsese says. "Primarily the ones that I've always been very passionate about are the ones I've simply had to get made at one point or another, and I was pretty lucky to get them made over the years."

Hazanavicius adds, "There's a hunch, something that tells you there's a good movie to make, and there's a movie I can be comfortable with for two years or three years [while making it] and actually the rest of your life, because you have to live with it."

Link to Video

Martin Scorsese: Doing just one shot makes a fine 'first half-day'
January 17, 2012 | 5:24pm

Even big-time filmmakers aren't immune to a bit of anxiety when it comes to the first day on set. One prominent director admits that all the apparatus of a Hollywood production puts him on edge: "I'm always fearing it's going to mar the intimacy of what I'm hoping to shoot."

Another finds himself grappling with self-doubt: "It's really scary for me. I think to myself, 'Why did I want that? Why did I ask all these people to make something?' "

At The Times' recent Directors Roundtable, filmmakers Alexander Payne ("The Descendants"), Michel Hazanavicius ("The Artist"), George Clooney ("The Ides of March"), Stephen Daldry ("Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close") and Martin Scorsese ("Hugo") talked about how nerve-racking it can be to start a new film, and how they deal with it.

Daldry and Scorsese said they often ease into a shoot with tests, rehearsals or single shots. On the other hand, Payne acknowledged that sometimes one has to dive right into a big scene, as logistical issues forced him to do on "The Descendants." And Clooney shared a crafty directing trick he borrowed from Sidney Lumet.

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Alexander Payne: Machinery of filmmaking mars 'intimacy of a shoot'
January 18, 2012 | 2:20pm

Given all the moving parts involved in making a motion picture, it's inevitable that things will go wrong and bad days will be had. When that happens, it's up to the director to get things back on track.

At this year's third annual Envelope Directors Roundtable, filmmakers Alexander Payne ("The Descendants"), Stephen Daldry ("Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"), Martin Scorsese ("Hugo"), George Clooney ("The Ides of March") and Michel Hazanavicius ("The Artist") shared some of their setbacks and off days with Times film reporter John Horn.

Payne groused about the logistical nightmare of shooting on the water: "For a nice little scene of a couple people spreading ashes," he said, "it's like we call out the damn National Guard."

Daldry recounted a time when David Kross, a young actor in his previous film "The Reader," broke his arm shooting a stunt that didn't even make the final cut of the movie. Fortunately, though Kross was initially expected to be out three months, "He was back the next day," Daldry said.

Some days, Scorsese said, "you don't have the spark. Something is lost." And, he added, "you know it."

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Stephen Daldry: Young Thomas Horn is 'a proper leading man'
January 19, 2012 | 12:02pm

Never work with children or animals, says the old show-business adage — advice largely ignored by five of this year's top directors.

In a visit to the recent Envelope Directors Roundtable, filmmakers Stephen Daldry ("Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"), Martin Scorsese ("Hugo"), Alexander Payne ("The Descendants"), Michel Hazanavicius ("The Artist") and George Clooney ("The Ides of March") spoke to The Times' John Horn about some of the unique challenges of working with kids and dogs.

In the case of Daldry and Thomas Horn (no relation to John), the 14-year-old star of "Extremely Loud," the director had to work around regulated hours, schooling sessions and meal breaks. "You don't have them for long," Daldry said of child actors.

Luckily, Thomas' talent made up for the extra work. "In terms of his professionalism and dedication and his preparation and his charm on set and his clarity and intelligence — no issues at all," Daldry said of the young actor, a first-timer. "He was fantastic."

Scorsese rattled off a list of challenges he faced shooting "Hugo": two child actors (Asa Butterfield and Chloe Moretz), a 3-D camera rig, dogs — "and then Sacha Baron Cohen," he deadpanned.

Link to video

George Clooney on directing: 'Forward momentum' is important
January 23, 2012 | 6:40pm

Whether a director is trying to coax a nuanced emotional performance or a death-defying stunt from an actor, earning their trust is an important part of the job.

Filmmakers George Clooney ("The Ides of March"), Stephen Daldry ("Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"), Martin Scorsese ("Hugo"), Alexander Payne ("The Descendants") and Michel Hazanavicius ("The Artist") recently visited the Envelope Directors Roundtable and discussed how crucial trust is on a set and how they establish it.

Clooney, who has worked on both sides of the camera, offered a different perspective. As an actor, he said, he inherently has faith in directors whose work he admires. "If I've seen movies of yours that I like and think are good," he said, "then I automatically have a trust."

One of the challenges Clooney has faced in his transition to directing has been earning that same measure of trust with his own casts. "That's a tricky thing to do," he said, but he attempts to do so by keeping things moving, having a point of view and being confident in his choices. "If actors smell blood in the water, the first thing they do is sort of take over," he said.

Link to Video

Martin Scorsese on being reviewed: 'You can't be bothered'
January 25, 2012 | 1:03pm

There are certain external indicators filmmakers can look to when trying to evaluate the quality of their work — positive reviews, triumph at the box office, awards gold — but even these are imperfect measures. So how and when do filmmakers know if they've made a good movie?

At the recent Envelope Directors Roundtable, Martin Scorsese ("Hugo"), Michel Hazanavicius ("The Artist"), Alexander Payne ("The Descendants"), George Clooney ("The Ides of March") and Stephen Daldry ("Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close") addressed that question.

"I have a problem: I always think it's good," Hazanavicius said of his work. "So I think I'm not a good judge, really." But, he added, "What's true one day in October on a set, it's not the same truth four months later in an editing room. So I try to trust what I wrote, to trust what I storyboarded and to let things happen on set."

Payne said he has confident days and not-so-confident days: "Some days I am Orson Welles," he said. "Other days I am the worst loser, impostor, know-nothing, wannabe filmmaker in the world. I believe both with equal conviction."

Scorsese added that it's important to focus on the work and have confidence, without paying too much attention to concerns like movie reviews. "If you read the good ones, you might believe those, and if you read the bad ones, you certainly believe those," Scorsese said. "At a certain point, you've got to work."

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Practically on first name terms with Mr Clooney

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