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By David Poland

Directors Who Have Had A More Impressive Start Than Night

In an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the enthusiastic Anne Thompson says,

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88 Responses to “Directors Who Have Had A More Impressive Start Than Night”

  1. anghus says:

    well done piece.
    most informative thing i’ve read in a long time. interesting to see how they all hold up against one another.
    How is Verbinski faring?

  2. martin says:

    I think the constant Night/Spielberg comparison is due to similar genre storytelling, not necessarily a pure box office comparison. Night supposedly makes the 4 quadrant spielberg-like movies.
    The comparison breaks down when you consider:
    Night writes and directs all his movies (Spiels does not)
    Night has less than stellar critical support for a good percentage of his movies (Spiels generally gets great reviews)
    Spielberg often has political undertones, which I don’t see much of in Night.

  3. anghus says:

    i actually looked up the number on box office, i didnt see worldwide because im not a premium member.
    Lifetime Gross Total (6): $833,992,248
    without worldwide for Pirates and Ring, he seems to be in the billion plus club.

  4. Telemachos says:

    1997 – Mousehunt ($122 ww)
    2001 – The Mexican ($147 ww)
    2002 – The Ring ($249 ww)
    2003 – Pirates 1 ($653 ww)
    2005 – The Weather Man ($19 ww)
    2006 – Pirates 2 ($304 ww and counting — should be upwards of $800-900 when it’s done)
    TOTAL: $1.37 billion (as of today)
    Now, Martin makes a good point that Verbinski (and others) are directors rather than writer/directors who create their own stories from scratch. However, Lucas certainly falls into that camp, as does Cameron.

  5. Telemachos says:

    Peter Jackson is another who had a very quiet beginning… but he’s certainly been far, far stronger in recent years than M. Night; even his “disappointment” (KONG) dwarfs Night’s in every conceivable way.

  6. EDouglas says:

    Adding to the comparison, Night has said that Paul Giamatti is his Richard Dreyfuss… check out this picture and see if you can see the resemblance:

  7. David Poland says:

    Wow… forgot Peter J… $1.8 billion in 6, even with Forgotten Silver, Dead Alive and the better known Heavenly Creatures and The Frighteners.

  8. anghus says:

    so verbinski could be close to 2 billion BEFORE Pirates 3 comes out?
    sweet jesus. he’s gonna be right up there.

  9. Wrecktum says:

    “I think the constant Night/Spielberg comparison is due to similar genre storytelling”
    THe constant Night/Spielberg comparison is due to Night and his people constantly making the comparison. Anne Thompson is just the latest to fall for publicists’ hype.

  10. Telemachos says:

    Well, if we’re only counting six movies, Peter Jackson falls short, as his first few films were only released theatrically overseas (as far as I know) — BAD TASTE, MEET THE FEEBLES, etc.
    Still, Night’s reputation is largely riding on the coat-tails of SIXTH SENSE (and to a lesser degree SIGNS). I think Jackson’s rise and current position is far more impressive… and his films are every bit HIS as Night’s are Night’s.

  11. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    You could add JAY ROACH for Austin Powers 1,2,3 Meet Parents, Fockers. Dats over a billion right dere me boyo.
    And I hate to say it but add up worldwide$$$ for TOM SHADYAC – Ace Ventura 1,2, Nutty Professor, Liar Liar, Bruce Almighty
    And with adjusted for inflation, what about guys like JOHN GLEN with 5 Bond films under his belt. Or is that stretching it?

  12. Telemachos says:

    Putting box-office aside, and considering quality/unique vision/influence on genres/variety of films, even someone like John Carpenter compares strongly to Night:
    1978 – Halloween
    1980 – The Fog
    1981 – Escape From New York
    1982 – The Thing
    1983 – Christine
    1984 – Star Man

  13. martin says:

    as far as I can tell Jackson made 2 major films, the LOTR film (remake) and Kong (remake). One film was a huge hit, one was kind of a disappointment. Not a good comparison.

  14. BostonBrand says:

    Here are two more with movies out this summer:
    Bryan Singer – $954.7 million, and still climbing
    2006 | Superman Returns | $193 to date
    2003 | X2 | $406
    2000 | X-Men | $294
    1998 | Apt Pupil | $10.3
    1995 | The Usual Suspects | $51.4
    1993 | Public Access | n/a
    Brett Ratner – $945.7 million
    2004 | After The Sunset | $35 est.
    2002 | Red Dragon | $209
    2001 | Rush Hour 2 | $329
    2000 | The Family Man | $85 est.
    1998 | Rush Hour | $245
    1997 | Money Talks | $42.7
    Meanwhile, I’m not a Shyamalan fan, but I am duty-bound to point out that PRAYING WITH ANGER was made in India, with Indian finance. If you’re counting that one for Shyamalan, shouldn’t you count the six German films Roland Emmerich made before UNIVERSAL SOLDIER?

  15. Blackcloud says:

    “I left one off

  16. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    “The criteria I used was the worldwide grosses of each filmmakers first six American-made movies.”
    Then Peter Jackson should just be all three LOTR films and KONG. As BRAINDEAD, FORGOTTEN, HEAVENLY are all NZ funded films.

  17. David Poland says:

    All fair enough… I have a feeling there will be 50 exceptions to the rules before tomorrow this time… so bring it on and I’ll make a note for people to read the comments…

  18. Telemachos says:

    Just messing around with more names (I love this stuff!):
    Comparisons for quality/critical love/variety:
    Ron Howard:
    1982 – Swing Shift
    1983 – Splash
    1985 – Cocoon
    1986 – Gung Ho
    1988 – Willow
    1989 – Parenthood
    Michael Mann:
    1981 – Thief
    1983 – The Keep
    1986 – Manhunter
    1992 – Last of the Mohicans
    1993 – Heat
    1996 – The Insider
    For box-office:
    Chris Columbus:
    1987 – Adventures in Baby-Sitting ($34)
    1988 – Heartbreak Hotel ($5.5)
    1990 – Home Alone ($477 ww)
    1991 – Only the Lonely ($24 ww)
    1992 – Home Alone 2 ($359 ww)
    1993 – Mrs. Doubtfire ($441 ww)

  19. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Now we’re just rubbing it in Dave’s face.
    Paul Verhoeven
    SHOWGIRLS (stumble)

  20. Blackcloud says:

    “1996 – The Insider”
    It’s not that old, is it?

  21. Telemachos says:

    “Now we’re just rubbing it in Dave’s face.”
    No, Anne Thompson’s. Someone should compile this list and send it to her. 🙂
    Geez, even Joe Johnson gets into the ballpark:
    – Honey I Shrunk the Kids
    – The Rocketeer
    – Pagemaster
    – Jumanji
    – October Sky
    – Jurassic Park III

  22. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    And one more for good measure…
    Adjusted for inflation over a billion
    MEL BROOKS – Producers, Blazing, Young Frankenstein, High Anxiety,

  23. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    ooh rubbing it in Anne’s face sounds much dirtier. You’re right!

  24. Wrecktum says:

    Would Anne have written the same thing had this not been for Night’s hometown paper?

  25. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    okay final two I promise… over a billion inflated
    IVAN REITMAN (1st 6 US films)

  26. David Poland says:

    Well, I checked out Verhoeven, Howard, and Columbus and the weren’t quite there… and adjusting for inflation opens a whole different discussion….

  27. David Poland says:

    Here are the Columbus numbers… low and amazing, like Sonnenfeld…
    1990 | Home Alone | $477.6
    1993 | Mrs. Doubtfire | $441.2
    1992 | Home Alone 2: Lost in New York | $359.0
    1991 | Only the Lonely | $25.1
    1988 | Heartbreak Hotel | $10 (est)
    1987 | Adventures in Babysitting | $50 (est)
    $1.4 billion

  28. Blackcloud says:

    Using inflation can take you back to the 1920s or 1930s. That’s not really going to help.

  29. For the record:
    Steven Spielberg – $2.0 Billion
    1973 | Sugarland Express | $7.5 (domestic only)
    1975 | Jaws | $470.7
    1977 | Close Encounters | $303.8
    1979 | 1941 | $92.5
    1981 | Raiders of the Lost Ark | $384.1
    1982 | E.T. | $792.9
    Granted several of those have been re-released over the years, but given that the last of those six movies was released in 1982, his $400 million lead on Night is all the more impressive.

  30. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Blackcloud – I think historical perspective is needed – it should always be about admissions sold, because it makes stupid statements like the one from Anne Thompson redundant. As you mentioned, with infalation the work of Chaplin and Keaton and many many others would soar past Shamalamadingdong. But that is exactly WHY we should mention them.
    It also practically decimates nearly every argument about boxoffice success in the media, because at the end of the day if you’re talking about the film ‘business’ then it’s a simple case of bums on seats.

  31. Correction:
    The Sugarland Express was released in 1974. And according to IMDb, it made $12.8 million worldwide.

  32. Blackcloud says:

    The article reads like a puff piece about a local celebrity. And he’s not even that big a local celebrity.
    p.s. I can’t say I’m disappointed he hasn’t taken the Harry Potter gig.

  33. vikram says:

    I think the point has made that a lot of directors have hit or surpassed those numbers – especially when considering a level playing field with inflation adjusted dollars but I think there is the good point in asking how many directors have been that successful who have written and directed their films? The list would shrink considerably. That seems far harder to do. Who else has done it? Cameron? Wachowski’s? Jackson? – (if you allow for the fact that the latter don’t write alone).

  34. Goulet says:

    How about the fact that all of Shyamalan’s films are ORIGINALS? Anyone can make hits out of sequels, remakes, adaptations of ultra-popular book series or comic books, etc.
    Even Pixar went for the sequel early on.

  35. David Poland says:

    Well, it is kind of unfair to degrade a filmmaker for making a sequel to an original. And most of the people on my list have done primarily original material. Moreover, Shyamalan has been pretty consistently a one-style filmmaker.
    The Wachowskis, Cameron, Jackson and Lucas all wrote.
    P.S. If it was so easy to make sequels and comic book movies work, Mark Stephen Johnson and Steven Norrington would be on the list…

  36. EDouglas says:

    God, I hope Steven Norrington never works again after LXG.

  37. Goulet says:

    I’m just responding to what’s said in the article:
    “I’ve made four studio movies, super-personal, from my original screenplays. Except for the Pixar films, they’re the most successful FOUR CONSECUTIVE ORIGINALS Hollywood has had in the last decade.”

  38. waveblue says:

    Honestly, I’m surprised M. Night was given the chance to make another movie after “Wide Awake”. I was surpised at just how awful it was when I rented it. My other surpise was just how much the first Project Greenlight movie (Stolen Summer) seemed to ape it.

  39. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    But what Goulet is saying is that of course someone like Jackson (a director I really like, btw) is up there – he adapted and directed one of the most popular books of all time.
    However, if Shyamalan’s films lent themselves to sequels, then I’m sure he’d make one. Well, one of his successes – Unbreakable was shithouse, who’d wanna see a sequel to that?
    However, all the other names (Lucas, Emmerich, Cameron, etc) are all impressive. Hard to imagine what you can accomplish in so few films.

  40. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Oh, and.
    The one thing about the article that truly scared me? “In Lady, Shyamalan himself plays the second lead, Vic, a writer about whom the lady in the water makes a prophecy.” He’s now moved from a Hitchcockian cameo to full on co-lead. Strange. Although, I did like that one line reading in Signs where he said “Don’t go in the kitchen. I cornered one of them in there” or whatever it was. Just that one line reading was nice. But really… what the hell is he doing?

  41. palmtree says:

    There seems to be a lot criteria the article floats around in making the Shyamalan/Pixar comparison.
    1. It has to be personal.
    2. It has to be original.
    3. It has to make $250 m worldwide.
    4. It has to be consecutive.
    5. It has to be in the last decade.
    6. It has to be a Hollywood film.
    7. It has to be from a writer/director.
    If you enforced all those, I guess Night would be pretty much it…making it remarkable in a way.

  42. Plus there’s the obvious belief that just because you have successive hits, that doesn’t mean you’ve necessarily made good films.
    Not knockin’ the Night. Aside from The Village, I’ve greatly enjoyed his work. Plus I’m also a Philly boy, so I’m pulling for the guy. But all this pre-release talk about how profitable the guy is… In sports they call it a “jinx.”

  43. jeffmcm says:

    I think it’s incorrect to knock Peter Jackson by calling the Lord of the Rings films (there were three of them) ‘remakes’. I sincerely doubt that the Bakshi films were ever referenced during production.
    Also, I would argue that three of M. Night’s films are very political, in a reactionary conservative way: Wide Awake, Signs, and The Village.
    I’m really hoping that Lady in the Water crashes and burns.

  44. Aladdin Sane says:

    Telemachos, The Insider was 1999.

  45. Telemachos says:

    Thanks for the correction, Aladdin… I should’ve double-checked my dates.

    “However, if Shyamalan’s films lent themselves to sequels, then I’m sure he’d make one. Well, one of his successes – Unbreakable was shithouse, who’d wanna see a sequel to that?”
    Back in the day, wasn’t UNBREAKABLE supposed to be the first in a trilogy? I seem to remember a bunch of hoopla to that effect being reported by AICN.
    (searching AICN archives…) has a bit about this — I remember more than this being reported, but can’t find a link. Oh well.

  46. anghus says:

    this is the best discussion in ages.
    i wonder if actors should be next…. i know dave has done some before, but this side by side comparison seems really interesting.

  47. Blackcloud says:

    “I sincerely doubt that the Bakshi films were ever referenced during production.”
    You may reconsider once you compare the introduction of Strider/Aragorn in each version.

  48. Lota says:

    ugh. i don’t like the themes of most of Night’s movies since they appeal to the lowest common denomenator of xenophobe and intolerance. perhaps this is why they strike a chord and make $$$.
    Give me Jay Roach over reactionary any day.

  49. repeatfather says:

    Call me crazy, Kamikaze, I feel as though a sequel to Unbreakable would have been better. I always felt that movie ended just when it was starting to get interesting.
    And good lord! Did Pearl Harbor really make that much money!
    And I actually think Night, if he had the proper reverence and respect to the story arcs of the books, would be a great director for Potter. I think he often gets in his own way by writing his own screeplays, which in mind can be clumsy and cliched in their structure.

  50. Wrecktum says:

    “And good lord! Did Pearl Harbor really make that much money!”
    Yup. And people call it a disappointment. Why is that again?

  51. Arrow77 says:

    I agree with reapeatfather about Night and Potter. His problems are his writing skills, not his directing skills. Being forced to follow a book could actually be good for him since he’d be forced to respect somebody else’s vision and learn to listen.

  52. Direwolf says:

    Off topic but I just saw a press release from Regal the The Descent is going to get sneaks 9 days aheadof the opening at 47 locations.
    Anybody have an opinion about why studios do sneaks and what it might indicate they are thinking about the box office?

  53. jeffmcm says:

    re: Pearl Harbor, because it was very expensive, and more importantly, because it was very bad.

  54. repeatfather says:

    The Pearl Harbor was probably considered a disappointment because it was a bad, bad movie about one of the most gut-wrenching military tragedies in American history.
    I suspect the movie did as well as it did mostly because people felt a sort of patriotic duty to see it. And because Kate Beckinsale is hawt!

  55. Direwolf says:

    Off topic but I just saw a press release from Regal the The Descent is going to get sneaks 9 days aheadof the opening at 47 locations.
    Anybody have an opinion about why studios do sneaks and what it might indicate they are thinking about the box office?

  56. Wrecktum says:

    I know this isn’t a Pearl Harbor discussion, but you’re right. Pearl Harbor was considered a disappointment artistically. No doubt. But CW states the movie was a financial disappointment as well. But remember, Pearl Harbor was drydocked in development over budget concerns, and Bruckheimer shaved several tens of millions off the budget before Eisner gave the go-ahead.
    As a result, with Bruck and Bay’s feet held ot the fire, the film’s cost, though expensive (I seem to remember it being touted as the “highest approved budget in Hollywood history” or some such nonsense), didn’t spin out of control during production.
    Certainly the film can be considered a critical and artistic disappointment. And certainly the film was projected to do a lot better at the domestic BO than it did. But, that said, it’s really a fallacy to say the film was a “disappointment” in terms of film revenue. It did just fine.

  57. Dr Wally says:

    “As a result, with Bruck and Bay’s feet held ot the fire, the film’s cost, though expensive (I seem to remember it being touted as the “highest approved budget in Hollywood history” or some such nonsense), didn’t spin out of control during production.”
    I have an interesting story for you. A few years ago in about early 2003 i was staying in Florida and got talking with another guest at the hotel i was staying at. It turns out he was employed as a runner on several recent major movie productions, and his recent credits included Pearl Harbor and Gangs of New York. I asked him how he found working on two such wildly differing movies in terms of artistic quality. He smiled and agreed that one had been a superb production to work on – carefully and professionally organised. The other had been a complete mess from start to finish – no-one knew what they were supposed to be doing and the director and producers kept changing things on the fly. Our conversation then grew somewhat confused until we realised we were talking at cross-purposes, to his mind, Pearl Harbor was by far and away the better production, while he had little respect for Marty Scorsese and his producers, who kept changing the staging arrangements at a moment’s notice and never kept a firm grip on the company. Just goes to show that people on the inside often view the film production process differently to us, and that is partly why Jerry Bruckheimer is the biggest producer of movies around no matter how much mud gets slung at his house-style of moviemaking,and why studios keep trusting Michael Bay to deliver…

  58. Telemachos says:

    Not that I thought GANGS was particularly good in any way, but that just goes to show that “art” can be ugly and difficult… can you imagine working on the production for APOCALYPSE NOW?
    At the same time, having been through the grind on low-budget stuff, I really appreciate shows that are produced well. Clint Eastwood’s films, in particular, sound like they’re sensibly made.

  59. martin says:

    pearl harbor also made a shitload on DVD and it one of bay’s most profitable movies (I think The Rock is the most). It was more a critical disappointment than a financial one.

  60. Blackcloud says:

    Pearl Harbor was a “disappointment” because it wasn’t the second coming of Titanic.

  61. James Leer says:

    I wouldn’t call The Village political in a “reactionary conservative” way…it actually seems to me to be an indictment of that kind of thinking.

  62. jeffmcm says:

    I don’t think so. It’s a movie that debates the pros and cons of living in an isolated, repressed, ignorant community, but I would argue that in the end it comes down on the side that life in the Village is better than life outside of it.

  63. Blackcloud says:

    I find “The Village” too stupid to be taken seriously as any kind of political statement, whatever the politics in question may be.

  64. Hopscotch says:

    This is kind of mean-spirited thing to say, and it’s just a hunch, I have no proof to back this up…why did Pearl Harbor do so well on DVD?
    9/11. I’m not suggesting that Brukheimer and Bay took advantage of it…just that it is a very cornball, patriotic movie at a time when are nation was reveling in patriotism.
    I’ve only walked out of a couple of movies in my life (I’m only 25) and Pearl Harbor is one of them. Just terrible.
    Back to the thread, I’m not rooting for Shymalan to fail. I liked Sixth Sense, even liked Signs. But the next Spielberg?

  65. Hopscotch says:

    Didn’t some stunt guy DIE while shooting Pearl Harbor??? How in the F**K is that well run?

  66. jeffmcm says:

    He must have died in a very organized, tidy way.
    Also, Pearl Harbor is a PG-13 movie set in the romantic past, so that makes it more comforting and escapist at the same time.

  67. Wrecktum says:

    “Didn’t some stunt guy DIE while shooting Pearl Harbor??? How in the F**K is that well run?”
    Source? Dubious memory, friend.

  68. martin says:

    I heard that a stunt guy died on Bad Boys 2 and XXX, but never heard of one dying on Pearl Harbor. And not to be cynical, but these guys are in a risky business, and it’s not necessarily the director’s fault, it could be anyone from the stunt coordinator to the stuntman himself, or just plain bad luck. Of course there are cases where the director or producer pushes the stuntman into dangerous circumstances, but I’m not going to speculate that was the case on these films.

  69. Tofu says:

    No Stuntmen died on Bad Boy 2, but a driver and a film crew came close when the driver lost control and hit TWO light poles.
    Harry L. O’Connor, a stuntman, did indeed die on XXX, from hitting one of those bridge pillars during the final parasailing climax. Yet another reason for me to dislike that pile of trash.
    And no, no one died on Ben-Hur either.

  70. Wrecktum says:

    Yup. No one died on Ben Hur, but a stuntman did die on the set of Michael Keaton’s The Squeeze and a stuntwoman died during the making of Gone Fishin’. You know…the classics.

  71. martin says:

    last vampire in brooklyn too

  72. martin says:

    Squeeze has a rather unfortunate poster:

  73. palmtree says:

    Yikes! Any bets on whether this is Osama’s favorite American movie?

  74. jeffmcm says:

    It is well-documented that Osama loves both The Paper and Multiplicity, so…

  75. Wrecktum says:

    But he hates Night Shift and Mr. Mom, so I don’t think any conclusions can be drawn.

  76. Joe Leydon says:

    And Hitler was a big fan of Mickey Mouse cartoons. No, I’m not making that up.

  77. Blackcloud says:

    “At a time when even some filmmakers seem to believe cinema history began with Star Wars . . .”
    You mean it didn’t? NO WAY!

  78. palmtree says:

    No, cinema history didn’t begin with Star Wars. That is just ridiculously stupid.
    Everyone who knows anything about film knows it began with Jaws!

  79. Blackcloud says:

    “That’s not true! That’s impossible!”

  80. Joe Leydon says:

    Actually, cinema began with “The 400 Blows.” Because, as we all know, Truffaut is God. (And women are magic.)

  81. jeffmcm says:

    I sure wish there was an easy way to figure out how much Intolerance and Birth of a Nation made, adjusted for inflation, but I’m sure those numbers don’t exist.

  82. Telemachos says:

    According to Wikipedia, BIRTH OF A NATION’s estimated $10 million gross in 1915 is roughly the equivalent of grossing $300 million today. I have no idea how this data was calculated — a 1915 $10 million gross seems like it would translate into many more ticket sales than a $300 million film today.

  83. Telemachos says:

    Slight correction: seems like the $10 million figure is the worldwide gross. US gross was about $3 million.

  84. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Man, Birth of a Nation was horrible. I just couldn’t watch it. It was so freakin’ long and boring and I had no idea what was happening (my knowledge of American history isn’t good). Intolerance was better but only 2 of the 4 stories were interesting and even those weren’t exactly thrilling.
    Call it modern ignorance, but I just can’t get enthused over a three hour silent movie about the civil war, the KKK and all the stuff Intolerance was about. Now, give me Sunrise and I’ll be there on the silent band wagon!
    Speaking of Truffaut, I should go watch Jules and Jim, which is sitting on top of my TV right this second.

  85. Eric says:

    Camel, I wholly agree with you on Birth of a Nation. Yes, groundbreaking editing techniques, blah blah blah. I can’t imagine how many hours of film history classtime have been wasted on it. You can appreciate it in ten minutes and spare yourself three hours of embarassing racism.
    And why in the hell have I seen “Meshes of the Afternoon” eight times?

  86. jeffmcm says:

    ^^^Because it’s a surreal masterpiece?
    But yeah, there are lots of reasons to hate Birth of a Nation, and ‘boring’ is not at the top of the list.
    I guess admissions would be a better gauge of how successful it was at the time.

  87. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Well, “boring” not because nothing is happening, but boring because I didn’t care what was happening. As Eric said, I can appreciate the groundbreaking nature of it all but man, i just wanted to shut it off every 2 minutes I glanced at the counter on my DVD player. At least Intolerance had some good performances and sets to keep me mildly interested.

  88. Hobbette says:

    BTW, (I know I am behind the 8 ball here) on Jim Camerons List, you forgot Titanic I believe.

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon