By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
This is the third film you’ve made starring Laura Dern. Why was she right for the role?
Because I met her on the street and she said, “Oh, I’m your new neighbor,” and I said, “Oh, great!” She said, “We’ve got to do something again,” and I said, “I know we do.” So, with that, I wrote something. And you know, I guess I had her in mind, although the thing I wrote, you wouldn’t necessarily say that about it. But it was marrying with her. So, that first thing was for Laura, and when I saw it, I thought that it indicated more, but I didn’t know. But I would think about it, and that started me going down the trail with Laura.
Did the ideas for this film come from the same wellspring, if you will, as some of the ideas inMulholland Dr.?
Yes. It’s a brother or sister of Mulholland Dr., because it deals with Los Angeles and the movie business and that world. You know, I think ideas are generated by a lot of things, but your environment kicks up a lot of ideas, and just going about L.A., you’ll pick up ideas. You go to Poland and you get into a mood there and you get ideas.
Why “a woman in trouble”?
I don’t know. It’s just a hair more interesting than a man in trouble.
What got you interested in reporting the weather?
Well, I don’t know. My weather reports aren’t deep weather reports. It actually started just to . . . it’s a daily report, a contact with the membership of the Web site. That’s how it started.
You were one of the first directors, I think, to not only have his own Web site, but to be directly involved in its operations.
Everybody’s got their own Web site now, so it’s a world community. Almost instantaneous information flows around the world. It’s unbelievable. You meet people from Norway, from Spain, from Italy, from Russia, just like they’re your neighbors. And it’s really kind of beautiful. The Internet was a home for short films. Now, it’s going to be a home for feature films.
IsInland Empiregoing to be available for downloading?
It will be, sure, at some point. But with the benefits comes piracy. So, everybody’s looking to see if the film business follows the music business. And it just seems to be that it will. So, the mighty studios . . . I picture them being on the San Andreas Fault, shaking right now. Because it’s already tomorrow: Fast downloads of feature films will be like a song. Pop! There it is. And three years of work and all that money, it’s downloaded in a matter of minutes and there’s no revenue. What’s that going to do to things? I don’t know, but it’s not going to be pretty.
Call me old-fashioned, but I’m still a big believer in the theatrical experience. I remember going to the press screening ofMulholland Dr.at the 2001 New York Film Festival, and at some point during the movie my watch stopped, so when it was over, I didn’t know what time it was or how long I’d been in the theater. Great movies can have that trancelike effect — they can make us feel like time has stopped — but it’s a sensation I’ve rarely felt at home in my living room.
I’m with you 100 percent. I always say there’s nothing like a shared experience in a theater — the anticipation, the theatrics of it. You know, the lights dim and the curtain opens and you can go into another world on a big screen with big sound and as few disturbances as possible. It’s beautiful. On a telephone speaker, or your iPod speaker with headphones, I don’t think even if you see the movie that you’ve seen the movie and really had that same experience. And that’s sad. Unfortunately, more and more things are going that way. I think if you download a movie on your iVideo, but then pop it into a little box and squirt it big on the wall, with good speakers, there’s where you might get a good feeling.
I know nothing about meditation — transcendental or otherwise — but I found myself writing in my notes onInland Empirethat it was “a meditation on the art of performance.” Is your interest in meditation something that’s separate from your work, or is there an interplay?
Separate and totally connected. That doesn’t mean that if you’re a meditator, you’re going to change. You become more and more you. You see what I mean? You get more of a flow of ideas. You get more energy and more inner happiness. So you enjoy the doing of things more. One of the side effects of transcending, of experiencing the ocean of pure bliss consciousness, is that negativity begins to recede. Negativity is the enemy of creativity. It’s like a clamp on the flow of creativity, poisoning the person and the environment. No one likes to be around someone who’s really angry all the time, or really depressed all the time, or filled with anxiety and worry all the time. So, when negativity lifts, it’s a beautiful thing, and it’s not make-believe. The more you transcend, the more of that pure consciousness that you’ll hold during waking, sleeping and dreaming. You can still get really angry, but you can’t hold on to it for very long, and the flow of creativity is less and less hindered.
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