The Player, Robert Altman's 1992 film, still speaks the truth today. After popping popcorn and pouring a prosecco or two, Jess and I settled in for this month's final Friday Night Film Club. You have to be settled in when you watch an Altman film. Before the titles even start or before it fades out to black, for that matter, you have to be ready. I love Altman, a fire, aim, ready type of filmmaker. Actors could act and walk over each other's lines. He would find the dialogue in post and make the film in the edit, covering his bases.
Altman invented what indie film is today, except the studios paid for all of it. It pulls the curtain back on the machine, the great and powerful Oz. The thriller, comedy, and drama aspects are all just words on a page for Altman to poke holes in the Hollywood industry. And they paid him well to do so; he always got the last laugh.
Tim Robbins said, " Bob told me there will be people around that are going to try to tell us what to do. I want you to know that if it becomes a pain in the ass and it's not fun anymore, I want your word that you'll walk off the set with me."
That's Robert Altman, my spirit animal.
"I think that eighty percent of my creative function or work is finished the moment I get the film cast."
- Robert Altman
I believe this to be true. You write with people in mind or cast the right people. You pick the crew you want to have fun with and trust their gut. The rest becomes your playground, And who knows where it will take you?