But everyone gets burnt, don`t they? Certain things are outside of your control. I suppose the only thing you can learn as a director is to not put yourself into situations where it can get outside of your control. And that`s what happened.
I`ve had three novels published, and I was working a little bit in theater in Ireland. I wrote one film script just to see what it would turn out like.
I can`t do a film if I don`t start with the writing.
For example, the character of Claire in In Dreams wasn`t imagined enough by me. Annette Bening is a great actress, and she gave a great performance, but because I hadn`t fully written it essentially the character wasn`t finished.
I`m less comfortable making American movies because I don`t know them so well.
Well, if you`re talking about the current climate, there`s a lack of content in American film because I think people are deeply confused about their emotions, and they don`t regret certain aspects of their own foreign policy.
The Company of Wolves doesn`t belong in any category, so it`s difficult to prepare an audience for it. It`s not a horror film, it`s not a fantasy film, it`s not a children`s film - so what is it?
Well, I suppose I`m interested in ways of storytelling and in stories that are about storytelling.
My conception of it was that in a normal film you have a story with different movements that program, develop, go a little bit off the trunk, come back, and end.
The most difficult thing is the organization of people and the expression of your intentions. It`s very easy to have a picture in your head and to imagine that you`ve told everybody about what you need.
Well, Company of Wolves was about that literally, about fairy tales.
I mean I grew up in Ireland, so one would have to be consciously blinkered not to have reflected on the issue of political violence because that was the story since I was 19 years old or 20.
I was asked once or twice, years ago, by producers, to make my book The Past into a movie. I just couldn`t see it being turned into a film.
I grew up in a respectable, lower-middle-class home. Our family was quite educated; my mother was a painter, and stuff like that. And I didn`t chop up my next-door neighbour. But I remember those emotions. It was a very strange world. Ireland is very grey, and it seems like nothing has changed for centuries. The only bits of colour were in churches, with statues and gaudy religious vestments. It was a very insanely Catholic country. And, you have an educational system run by celibate men in skirts, which is bizarre in itself. But, there`s just a sweet irrationality to the whole place. - about his life growing up in Ireland
In Dreams... well, I was slightly overcompensating with that. I was a bit like a director for hire, so maybe I was putting too much imagery that was familiar to me into it.
And I think I often choose to do something because it`s quite different from what I`ve done before.
The End of the Affair is almost like a play.
No, I just thought of a story and wrote down what I saw. It was about two kids in Ireland who went around killing people. It was called Travelers, and it was made as an independent film.
But in a strange way, the more organization and the more preparation you do, the more freedom it gives to the performances and to those things that are totally dependent on those moments when you shoot. Visual things are very complicated. I can`t improvise visual events. I can`t improvise a sense of composition. I have to compare. I have to look at the street where we are shooting on. I have to know where the light is coming from. Obviously, you would have to know where the trucks are parked and stuff like that. But what you cannot legislate for is emotion, the way emotion displays itself in a scene and that always comes from the actors. That is the way I work.
I`ve got perhaps more of a visual sense than most writers, so I enjoy getting the coherence from the writer to create these large pictures.
It is extremely difficult to get movies that cost more than $40 million to be made these days.
It`s the same thing in a way, although writing a book is a very solitary thing.
I took two years away from making films to write a novel.
Company of Wolves was a story in a story in a story, which is actually a dream a girl dreams within which her grandmother tells a story.
For me, the filmmaking has to be about the dramaturgy.
I`ve also worked hard portraying an Ireland which is fast disappearing. Ireland was a very depressed and difficult place in the 1980s, and I`ve tried to include that in the script. I worked really hard to find the heart of the book.
It`s hard to know whether certain characters come to life or not, they either come to have their own life or they don`t. I`ve written many things in which the characters just remain inert.
The Company of Wolves is about how society teaches young women to look at themselves, and what to be afraid of. It`s about a girl learning that the world of sensuality and the unknown is not to be feared, that it`s worth getting your teeth into.
For me now, it`s about what you would write and what you wouldn`t write, and that`s how I select what I am going to do. It can be quite nice being brought a concept by a studio for me to work on.
Never make a promise - you may have to keep it.
Why should a horror film be just a horror film? To me, The Company of Wolves is a fairy tale; it`s got all those elements plus a lot more. And we know that fairy tales aren`t innocent any more.
It`s the opposite journey from what I`ve usually done with films. I find it very easy to go from, say, a lit, pleasurable environment, like what you see outside there, to a very dark place. But the opposite journey, which is what this movie takes, is much more complicated.
Films have gotten leaner and leaner, cutting out all variations from the story line.
I do enjoy working with writers.
I`m fascinated by monsters (and) monstrous people and fascinated with illogic and irrationality.
It`s nice to work with Hollywood because there is never any question of resources put at your disposal to make a film as long as it is the right thing to do.
The only reason I ever want to make movies is if there are characters that find bits of themselves that they didn`t understand. I don`t believe we are fully rational beings. I don`t believe that any explanation that we ever give for our behavior is adequate.
There`s no point in making a film out of a great book. The book`s already great. What`s the point?
I write the script first, to see if it`s even vaguely interesting, and then if the script becomes compulsive, then I can do the film.
Initially with The Butcher Boy, there was this kid growing up in this strange, weird environment that I remember from when I was a kid. And Patrick`s vision was so complete there.
When you`ve written a movie, you then get together with a whole lot of people and make it. In many ways, I think it is far nicer to be with people rather than being completely solitary.