Thursday 10 January 2008

Meme Time - My Dinner With...

Pat Piper over at Lazy Eye Theatre has tagged me for the My Dinner With BLANK Meme and it sounds like a fun one:

1. Pick a single person past or present who works in the film industry you would like to have dinner with. And tell us why you chose this person.

2. Set the table for your dinner. What would you eat? Would it be in a home or at a restaurant? And what would you wear? Feel free to elaborate on the details.

3. List five thoughtful questions you would ask this person during dinner.

4. When all is said and done, select six bloggers to pass this Meme along to.

5. Link back to Lazy Eye Theatre, so people know the mastermind behind this Meme.

I'm not overly good at narrowing my choices sometimes, so I'm going to choose four separate guests (I expect I could actually get answers to many of my questions with a bit of googling or further reading of books about them, but I would still want to ask person to person):

Martin Scorsese

1. It's not that I necessarily think Scorsese is the best director ever (though I love his work), but I could listen to him discuss film all day long. His passion comes through loud and clear, he articulates film conventions and techniques better than just about anyone I've seen (track down his "A Personal Journey With Martin Scorsese Through American Movies" or "My Voyage To Italy") and he has great and interesting choices for favourites.

2. I'd dole out some meat curry my wife taught me how to make years ago (though I haven't made it in quite some time) with rice and dal (lentils). It's nothing fancy, but the cumin and coriander spices are my faves and I think Marty (hey, if I'm having him over for dinner, I think I can call him Marty) would appreciate it. Serve with a nice green garden salad with juicy red tomatoes for colour (no tomatoes for me though). Liberal quantities of vino. New York style cheesecake for dessert.

3. Questions? Man, I'd probably just open the floor and ask "So, what do you like about film?" and then sit back for 3-4 hours...But if I have to ask 5 specific ones:

  • How much room do you allow for on-set improvisation? To ask that another way, how much of the film is already set in your mind before you start the actual filming?
  • As great as your Personal Journey documentary is, you stop when you get to your contemporaries. Having previously broken down portions of the 30s, 40s and 50s into sections like "The Director as Smuggler" and "The Director as Iconoclast", how would you break down the 70s, 80s and 90s?
  • Which of your contemporaries influenced you most? Which of the current crop of young directors influence you the most?
  • Having explored American and Italian cinema in personal documentaries, is there a third country that you would like to examine in depth?
  • Could you help De Niro find a good script again?

John Cusack

1. One of my favourite actors - I like a bunch of his films, I like his acting style and he just seems like a guy you could hang with.

2. Got to be a BBQ. Probably some steaks with corn and sweet potatoes (with cinnamon and nutmeg) on the grill as well. Beers while we're cooking. Beers with dinner. Beers with dessert. The beer would be either Wellington County Ale or Big Rock Traditional Ale. Dessert - a good moist chocolate cake. Cognac after we're done.

3. The questions:

  • How much influence did you have on the music selection in "High Fidelity" and was Nick Hornby involved? (I know that's probably really easily answered, but I'd want to get Cusack talking about music...)
  • You have several producing and writing credits, but no directing ones. Are you interested in eventually directing your own film?
  • Who were your biggest acting influences? Any filmmakers that had a strong influence on your view of film?
  • How much of your early career direction was of your own choosing and how much did your father and siblings help in directing your choices? Oh, and say 'Hi' to Joan - I think she's terrific.
  • What are the future plans for the New Crime Productions team (he and his friends - responsible for "Grosse Pointe Blank" and "High Fidelity")?

Takeshi Kitano

1. He's a modern day Renaissance Man - author, artist, TV personality, director, poet, comedian, actor - and I love the additional style he brings to his movies.

2. Grilled salmon steaks on a bed of teriyaki noodles. Pan fried broccoli. Beer, but probably a lighter one like Big Rock's Grasshopper Wheat Ale. Apple pie with a really good vanilla ice cream for dessert. Failing all that, a good restaurant that serves noodle soup.

3. The questions:

  • Do you have a favourite medium within which to work? Or do you find pros and cons to all of them?
  • Your last two films ("Takeshis'" and "Glory To The Filmmaker") have both been experiments in deconstructing your own creative process. What's the third in the trilogy going to be like? And do you feel you are achieving something out of this process for yourself or are you simply enjoying the freedom of making non-narrative movies?
  • "Brother" (2000) was your only 'Hollywood' film (plus a few acting roles). Have you considered working in other countries again or is it just a matter of coming across the right material? Any interest in going back to Hollywood?
  • Even within the realm of filmmaking, you have many hats - you've written or adapted the script for all of your films and also edited the last 11. Is that a requirement for you? Do you need to have complete control over your concept to the end or do you simply enjoy performing all those roles?
  • Your films seem to have a wide variety of influences which is apparent from previous comments you've made about your favourite movies. Were there any specific periods or genres of film that influenced you or just bits and pieces as you went along?

Gloria Grahame

1. I just love her in everything I've seen her in (particularly Nicholas Ray's "In A Lonely Place"). There's just a mesmerizing quality and air of mystery about her...And the best eyebrows ever.

2. Bringing out the good tablecloth and silverware this time...I'm thinking a nice light chicken (rosemary maybe?) with a chick pea salad and maybe some green beans cooked on the stove top with almonds. Cocktails beforehand and white wine with dinner. Probably fresh berries with chocolate sauce for dessert.

3. The questions (she had a very interesting personal life, but I'd stay away from that and focus on her film career):

  • You once said, "It wasn't the way I looked at a man, it was the thought behind it." Please elaborate...
  • You also said that you never understood Hollywood. Given that, were you happy to do a lot more stage work in the early 60s (as well as TV work)?
  • Though known for many film noir roles, you've actually done a wide range of acting. Did you have any preferred style or were you happy to branch out?
  • At the time you made many of them, were you conscious of the style of film noir? Did you have a great deal of interest in the style of your films or were you mainly concerned about your role and your approach to it?
  • And just before you go, would you mind reading the phone book? In its entirety? I'll just sit here quietly...

That would be cool.

I'm tagging the following people to continue the meme:

James at Toronto Screen Shots
Shannon at Movie Moxie
Chet at Under The Influence
Adam at DVD Panache
Damian at Windmills Of My Mind
Jeremy at Moon In The Gutter


James McNally said...

Bastard! :)

I knew you were going to tag me. I'm prepping a big blog entry to go up before the weekend, so this might have to wait until then. But, like you, I'll find it difficult to pick just one person. I love that you included Gloria Grahame (and included such great photos!).

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

OH my.. I was wondering if this would come up. Time to get the thinking cap on!

Great choices btw, I particularly enjoyed reading your questions to Takeshi Kitano.

PIPER said...

Love the multiple guests.

I read that Scorsese has a series of projectors throughout his house and will set a different mood in every room by playing different films in each. The guy just loves film.

And although I have heard that Cusack can be a prick, I would love to hang with him because I am such a fan of his films.

And I specifically picked you because I knew you would bring some Asian flair to the picture and you did that with Takeshi.

Well done.

Bob Turnbull said...

Thanks for comments...

James/Shannon, I wait with bated breath for your posts...B-) This was a fun one for sure. I struggled a bit with the menus, but then just decided to wing it. Getting to a full 5 questions was a bit tough at first, but then I realized that I didn't really have too many specific things I wanted to know. I'd just want them to talk...So I was trying to be pretty general.

Piper, I had never heard that about Scorsese. That's pretty amazing.

Thanks again for tagging me...

Anonymous said...

Great choices. I recently saw Cusack on "Inside the Actors Studio," a show I don't watch much because of the odious James Lipton. Cusack was wonderful, full of a lot of great information and a certain amount of nostalgia for me (I'm a Chicagoan, too, and know a lot of things he talked about).

Gloria Grahame is a great choice, too. I think she's fantastic.

Bob Turnbull said...

Hi Marilyn,

Lipton's a bit of a goof to be sure, but I like the basic format of that show. The Cusack one would've been good, so I'll have to look for it in repeats.

And Gloria can do no wrong in my books...

Chet Mellema said...

You broke the rules!! Thanks for the tag. I hope to have a post up tomorrow on this.

Bob Turnbull said...

I look forward to it Chet! You'd be the first of the six I tagged - those lazy bastards...

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Oh, SNAP! hehe, I plan on having mine up soon :)