Weekly:Working with so many black filmmakers, do you feel as if you’ve become more sensitized to black issues?
DeLuca:I can’t say that I’ve gotten wiser, or presume to know what that experience is like, but I’ve had a lot of interesting conversations. All of the filmmakers who’ve talked to me have made me think about stuff. Talking to Spike about race gives you a weekend of thoughts. Having Cube at our studio is cool, because you get a window on a world that you wouldn’t normally get.
Weekly:Does that mean you socialize with your filmmakers?
DeLuca :I was never the kind of studio exec that forces himself on people socially. If it happens naturally, great, but I kind of stay in the background.
Weekly:You’ve been credited with bringing young black talent to New Line.
DeLuca:I actively solicit fresh directors, because I think it’s the lifeblood of the industry, and the only way to combat rising costs and star salaries and all that bullshit. And it’s more exciting. It’s more fun to break somebody and watch it happen.
Weekly:Do you pull in white audiences for your black films?
DeLuca:We did a little for Next Friday, because a lot of white people were exposed to it on video, but there’s not a lot of crossover theatrically. I guess there is still an air of separatism. It’s also just issues of relatability. When you make a choice about a movie, unless you’re looking to get informed or looking to go to an art film, you just want to be entertained. And you’re going to be entertained by something that interests you, that you relate to. A lot of the things that interest the two races are exclusive to each race.
Weekly:Are you surprised that bigger studios aren’t trying to reach the black market?
DeLuca:The big studios are looking for home runs every time, because they’re supporting massive machines. They’re probably better focused trying to produce blockbusters, which is great, because it leaves an opening for companies like mine.
Weekly:What kind of advice would you give to a young black filmmaker who was trying to break into the industry?