Jack Nicholson – On Film Directing

Jack Nicholson:

I tried to utilize whatever professionalism I found myself surrounded by and tried to get people who weren’t going to be frightened. On ‘Drive, He Said’, I had an organised crew and the organized crews that I’ve worked with are really trying to imitate the other crews that I used to work with – the so called disorganized crews. That really means that they had less people working. Every crew is disorganized to a certain degree.
Every movie has a totally different set of circumstances and problems, you know: how do you get the doughnuts from the Grand Canyon Motel down into the gorge and keep the generator running at the same time? It was very much a learning experience. My theory on it was that I didn’t know anything about it to start. I related to somebody who was a professional in their job. I would say, “I don’t really know anything about this, so If I go overboard or if I start bullshitting you in some way, just let me know. I won’t be nervous about it. Just tell me, you know, and I would like to learn because it’s not the only movie I’m going to do.” They were always helpful.

In other words, if you did nothing, the movie would get shot. If you want to sleep all day, the technicians would go on. They have their own style. It’s really how much you affect their style as opposed to vice versa.

From “Directing The Film – Film Directors on Their Art“,
Eric Sherman, 1976, Acrobat books, Los Angeles.

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