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DP/30: Drive, director Nicolas Winding Refn

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16 Responses to “DP/30: Drive, director Nicolas Winding Refn”

  1. David says:

    Thanks for doing the interview David. I am not sure how Drive will fare with the different awards, but I am so excited that this film came out this year. I have been a fan since the Pusher films, and Nicolas is an extremely interesting and unique filmmaking. Gosling and him worked very well together. Don’t think they’re going to make any Oscar films any time soon, but as not as he keeps making uncompromising films I will be there!

  2. MarkVH says:

    Without a doubt the most overpraised movie of the year.

  3. Gopal Iyer says:

    Thanks for doing the interview. I have been a fan of Nicolas for sometime and I like his style of film making

  4. LexG says:

    Doesn’t it bother anybody else– more precisely, isn’t ANYONE BUT LEXG EVER willing to cop to being JEALOUS of a guy like this? He’s MY AGE, he has ALL my frame of reference for movies, loves all that synthed-out Miami Vice/Mann/Friedkin/Hill shit that I do, apparently grow up with the same inspirations… He’s been making movies for TWENTY YEARS despite being “our” age.

    Doesn’t that KILL anyone else? Anxiously awaits the crickets on the DEAD BLOG, BUT BE REAL… And yeah, yeah, people will say LEX YOU DON’T TRY, YOU DON’T DO THE WORK… I know 100 guys in LA who WORK THEIR ASSES OFF pimping scripts and schmoozing and networking, but they don’t know ANYBODY, and they’re 40-45 and have never made a movie, never will. Even some prominent movie bloggers I could name, they’ve been networking for 10, 15 years, KNOW ALL THE MOVIES Refn knows, and they couldn’t sell a screenplay to save their lives.

    Same with all these New Geek Guys– Reitman, Wright, Oswalt, Kevin Smith, Eli Roth, QT… All the McWeenys and Faracis LOVE THEM, follow them on Twitter, schmooze them at the New Beverly… aren’t any of them ACTIVELY JEALOUS? We all love the same movies, get all the references… it’s like those aforementioned guys are DOING IT, putting “our” collective 80s-early-90s popcult LIVES on film… and we’re sitting “out here” as passive viewers watching someone else STEAL OUR THUNDER.

    Why can’t ANYONE COP TO THIS?

    I know, NO ONE WILL ANSWER and Poland will probably just ban a legit question, but it infuriates me that other people aren’t as petty, jealous, bitter and self-loathing as I am. REFN is STEALING YOUR DREAMS, Patton stole my entire existence, and we work bullshit jobs while these guys are millionaires.

    Why is nobody EVER ANGRY about this?

  5. leahnz says:

    maybe refn has, you know, that thing called talent

  6. LexG says:

    Oh, please… Leave me, whom you hate, out of the equation… You don’t think there’s hundreds, thousands of dudes moping around NYC and LA with spec scripts no one will ever read, reels no one will ever watch, community theater performances no one will ever go to see… while some lucky fuck strikes gold at 23 out of sheer availability of funds, familial station, or camraderie with the right people? I could write a screenplay of Paul Schraderian brilliance (well *I* can’t, but say I did)… who would I show it to? I don’t KNOW anybody, most people don’t KNOW anybody.

    And I know you, leah, are ETERNALLY PLEASED with your apparent greatness, but Mrs. YIP YIP YIP STRONG WOMAN, you wouldn’t RATHER BE Kathryn Bigelow or Lynn Ramsay than building maquets in a warehouse behind the scenes?

    Everybody EVERYWHERE should be jealous of people who do better than them. I am miserable, the rest of the world should be miserable.

  7. leahnz says:

    yip yip mutherfucker. no doubt i’ll get detention after school for addressing this cry-baby nonsense, but what are you talking about (you clearly don’t). i’m an airy-fairy artist, i’d rather take a daily sponge bath in alien acid blood than have the responsibility of an entire production and weight of the world that accompanies it on my shoulders. maybe later. sorry if i’m not wracked with jealously and a seething repetitive whiner. insisting that others share your mental defection is so last week.

    (oh and eta ftr, i’m in AWE of k-big and lynne r, and i wish them nothing but to kick FUCKING ASS)

  8. The Pope says:

    Okay, so Refn had some family funds. But a helluva lotta people have family funds but very few of them have the chops to make a good movie. And when it comes to movies, no buyer gives a rat’s ass who your Daddy is because the audience sure as hell don’t. But Kubrick pushed through. As did the Coen Bros by selling shares. They find a way and you know what? I see it as part of the test. Sofia Coppola, sure people answered her calls but the audience saw her movie and proved she deserved a second shot. So yes, LeahNZ is right. It is talent. I’m sure I’m not the only one when I wish that I too could get the break but I until then, I refuse to be miserable about it. Why? Because at least there are good movies being made.

    It’s a little like the story Alan Parker told when he saw Raging Bull. He was so depressed because he knew he could never make a movie as good. And then he was happy because at least someone else could make a movie that good.

  9. David Poland says:

    I don’t have time to get into this right now… and I think Lex’s angst is a legitimate discussion point.

    But I wanted to point out that I have NEVER pulled anything you have written in here, Lex, for any reason other than your profanity, verbal aggression, or self-indulgence in announcing your sexual desires.

    I am happy that Leah is back. I am happy that the two of you are not trying to kill one another. And I am fine with you being a provocateur. But this is not a porn blog and that is why I have unwillingly been forced to police your crap. (The alternative being a permanent ban, into which I would not like to be pushed.)

    So save the censorship victim crap for someone who hasn’t been as generous to your whims as me.

    Now… sorry for the intrusion… please continue the conversation on content.

  10. berg says:

    hard as it may be to believe there are people out there (you know there) who read this blog and are jealous that they don’t work in a soul sucking telecine job … not to get all “I was sad because I had no shoes until I met a man with no feet” on you

  11. yancyskancy says:

    The vast majority of people trying to make it in the film biz will have absolutely no success at it. It’s pretty much lottery odds. So it can definitely be difficult when you see someone vault to the head of the line, especially if they don’t seem to be as talented as you. And even if that person has great talent and a great work ethic, it’s almost certain that an incredible stroke of luck (such as knowing/meeting/being related to someone with clout) was also a factor in their success.

    So it’s absolutely human nature to wonder “Why not me?” if the big break is elusive. It’s hard to keep trying when you know the odds are so stacked against you, which is why Lex is not alone in taking the self-fulfilling prophecy approach — since he sees the game as rigged, he refuses to play; therefore, he doesn’t succeed.

  12. Peter says:

    Great interview. Drive is the best movie of the year (for me anyway).

    I am never angry at talented people doing great work. I am envy of that talent, but not jealous.

  13. Chris says:

    “Without a doubt the most overpraised movie of the year.”

    I would give that title to either Another Earth or Bridesmaids. Probably Another Earth, which was the epitome of overpraised.

  14. Paul D/Stella says:

    Another Earth and Bridesmaids are indeed way overpraised. So it Like Crazy. I’m starting to feel that way about The Artist as well, which I like but holy cow it’s nowhere near the best movie I’ve seen this year. It’s not the best movie I’ve seen this week.

  15. OB says:

    This will be my first comment here on this blog. I am very intrigued by the discussion that’s going on here. When I think about things like this, I almost always go back to birth. There were BILLIONS of sperm fighting for life in my mother’s womb and only I was able to make it. What about about all of those other sperm that may have ended up being better versions of myself?

    I think life in itself is an instance of luck: why wouldn’t it be a factor as we live out the rest of life? Being born in America is luck. Why didn’t your mother meet your father in another country? What about those born in places like Syria, Iran, Sierra Leone who may have the intellect to cure cancer, but won’t have the opportunity because of political unrest and instability.

    This is how life works. EVERYTHING has to be right for you to succeed, if you don’t realize it. It’s drastically more likely that you’ll fail than you’ll succeed. Face this realization and rebel against it. Or don’t and be miserable, as it seems you are.

  16. Iggy Romero says:

    No Lex, you aren’t the only one. (The most vocal, yes.)

    I’ve sent out a million and one query packages (both electronically and snail) with writing samples and short film links…to no avail. It’s true, the name of the game is “referral” – or a CGI-short but that’s a topic for another thread. (Or placing in Nicholls, right, but for the rest of us…)

    *Superquick Story: A producer once asked me to send over my best spec because he was under the impression that I knew his friend. I didn’t, I confessed over the phone, and his interest level went from 90 to 0 faster than you can say blueberry pancakes. And that was the beginning of the end of that.*

    It occurred to me a couple o’ years ago that I might not be as talented as I’d once thought – or more precisely, hoped. But then I think about some of the flicks getting made today (I’m looking at you, “New Year’s Eve”) and that boosts me right back onto the saddle. Because you’re talking about talent, which is objective in sports but subjective in art, and that means there is someone somewhere who’ll dig your stuff.

    In terms of attracting industry attention, as far as I can tell, it’s a combination of talent, luck and relentlessness. Which is to say, your chances of “being lucky” are greatly improved by being relentless. Once in a while, David receives a project-touting email from me that he promptly ignores but on one occasion he posted my short – on this very blog – and that link is my first piece of street cred.

    Technically, you haven’t “failed” until you’ve given up, so don’t give up. Problem is, we’re obsessed with age in this country; the idea of the prodigy. I woke up at 24 and realized that no, I wasn’t, in fact, going to be PTA. And that was a hard day, though once I accepted that fact, the sailing was smoother. Accept that you weren’t meant to be Refn, and the sailing will be smoother.

    One Last Thing: Do me a favor and read Malcolm Gladwell’s essay, “The Late Bloomers.” Really.

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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