A repost from week one of Ology's Film Riot.
The discussion was about five writers or directors with which you'd want to enjoy a dinner date. It was a conversation that I couldn't resist joining…
Some great names have come up already, but here are my five. I'm interested in directors who are characters in their own right, and would therefore make for riotous dinner guests!
1. Alejandro Jodorowsky: seer, mystic, holy fool. The writer and director of two utterly remarkable, mind-bending movies in The Holy Mountain and El Topo, and the prime mover behind one of the great unmade films of al time – his version of Dune. Thanks to Jodorowsky, Ridley Scott was introduced to both Jean Giraud and H.R. Giger. Without him, Alien would have looked like a very different film. He's still active, still exploring the outer reaches of the imagination in comics and theatre/art events. A true innovator and a genuinely fascinating artist.
2. Stanley Kubrick: as we still talk about his work today, and keep coming up with new theories as to the meanings encoded within them (my current favourite: The Shining as confession and apology for his role in the faked moon landings) wouldn't it be something to be able to pin him down and get the definitive version? You'd have to be careful, though: there was a con-man around in the eighties who used to pose as Stanley to get free meals. If you end up talking about stationary for a large chunk of the evening, you're likely to have the real deal.
3. John Carpenter: simply because he's my favourite director and I'd love to spend an evening with him. But less selfishly, this is the guy that reinvented horror in the mid-seventies, and whose minimalist electronic scores still have a major influence today. The soundtrack for Dredd, for example, is very Carpentery indeed. His films are a touchstone for inventive scares, and for a while in the mid-eighties no-one could touch him. Most of his ouvre has been remade at some point in the last 10 years, to which I can only say: watch the originals.
4. Werner Herzog: the wild man of cinema. His hate-hate relationship with Klaus Kinski meant that there was a very good chance one or the other of them would pull a loaded weapon on set. For Fitzcarraldo, he built a full-size paddle steamer, then disassembled it again to get it over a waterfall, and filmed the lot. Coppola made one film with the Herzog style of artistic monomaniacal excess – for Werner, it was just another day in the office to build a ship and pull it up the Amazon. He is the most no-compromise director out there, and he can act too. He's the villain in the big-screen adaptation of the first Jack Reacher book, and all of a sudden I'm interested in seeing it.
5. George Lucas: oh, roll your eyes all you like. Lucas redefined SF and fantasy cinema, and changed the way that films are made and marketed. Like him or not, he is the figure to talk to about modern cinema. Plus, with the Disney deal, he's not short of a bob or two. He can pay for dinner.
The chat continues on Ology. Don't forget, I'm curating a discussion on my top 5 movie villains in early January.