30 December 2009

Essay: "Today's Hollywood Has No Place for Personality"

"Ultimately you can't beat the studio," Richard Kelly recently told the New York Times. "They’re the bank, so you’ve got to just figure out how to work with it. I’ve learned that the smart way to go about it is to learn how to play ball." It sounds dispiritingly cynical from the director of Donnie Darko, The Box and, above all, Southland Tales, the decade's most glorious piece of batshit. But it seems an idea that more and more younger directors are embracing: Spike Jonze recently released Where the Wild Things Are with backing from Warner Bros.; 20th Century Fox just gave Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox a wide release. Michel Gondry is currently in production of Seth Rogen’s Green Hornet movie, produced by Sony and to be distributed by Columbia Pictures. David Gordon Green, whose George Washington was an indie cause célèbre less than a decade ago, is now the go-to guy for Danny McBride comedies. This could all be a great development for mainstream cinema—except, judging from Kelly, Jonze and Anderson’s latest films, the directors aren’t very good at making bankable big-budget movies with broad appeal. It promises to be a short-lived trend.

Keep reading this essay at The L Magazine

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