Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...
Walter Hill is underappreciated, plain and simple. People don’t seem to pay him the respect he is due when they discuss him, and it makes me crazy. He’s a legitimate cinema badass, and I’d love the opportunity to interview him about anything, or just to shoot the shit with the guy about his work. Bobby Dupea did just that recently, and here’s what he had to say about it:
A Run In with legendary Walter Hill - Warriors news & Deadwood chat
Hi there Harry or whoever’s minding the store:
Sorry for long break since last post, I just come and I go - as my wife says. Ran into the great man, here in Monaco, so figured you (as a movie producer now) could well be interested in his comments on The Warriors (old and new). Plus more on Deadwood – remember, he got an Emmy and the Directors Guild award for directing the pilot.
While Walter Hill has nothing to do with Tony Scott’s re-make of The Warriors, (“What’s worse,” says Hill, “neither does producer Larry Gordon”), he is more occupied in giving “my entire blessing” to a new, special edition DVD version putting much of his original concept - “missing material and ideas” - back into this first street gang movie.
So is this the director’s cut?
“You could call it that although in many ways it’s changed very little. The film was designed to be a comic book come to life and tell a futuristic story and due to my inability to get along with the studio they exorcised all of that. So we have restored that intention and that idea. Also, there were a lot of optical effects that got lost.”
Did you have all this stuff at home – studios are notorious for junking, losing or even selling off such footage, aren’t they?
“Yes, they are. Some of it has been re-created, some of it I had a record of from back then.”
One thing he can’t retrieve. A planned narration agreed to, but nver recorded by... Orson Welles.
The DVD is due out in September or October.
As for Scott’s re-mould, Hill says he did his version of Warriors and certainly doesn’t have any ambition to make it again. “If somebody asked my advice about what to do and not to do, I’d be happy to give it. Then, choosing his words with care, he adds: “I do think the idea that the project has been taken away from the producer is a lousy deal. Larry Gordon found the project, developed the project, brought it to Paramount as a partner and made a successful, profitable movie of it. The idea that 25 years later, or whatever it’s been, he is dismissed is, I think, shamefully wrong.
“As a director, you’re hired to do something. I did it. I did the best I could - and left! But I didn’t own it.
“The producer is a friend of mine, so obviously I feel strongly. I certainly don’t think that the treatment of him has been in the best traditions of Paramount Studios.
“In another sense, it’s none of my business... but as long as you’re asking!”
I found Walter heading the tele-film jury here at the 45th Monte Carlo Television Festival... where some Desperate Housewives Edie, Bree and the late Mary Alice... Lost survivors Jack, Kate and Charlie... Dick Wolf’s Law and Order cops... and Michael C. Hall and producer Alan Ball direct from the wrap-party of “the final final, ever, ever” Six Feet Under... are chilling out.
And, finally, the dastardly Ian McShane.
It was Hill who suggested him as Al Swearengen in Deadwood. “We’d never worked together before the pilot but Ian and I are actually old friends from back in the 70s. We kinda attended the same parties...”
Whoah, just trying to figure out what kind of parties you two would be attending?
”Alcohol was served as I recall... When we were getting ready to do Deadwood., Ian expressed some concern about doing a Western and I said: This is really closer to The Threepenny Opera than it is to John Ford and Howard Hawks.
“It’s a radically different approach. It goes out of its way not to become that usual frozen in amber, mytho-poetic Western. Plus really superb acting.”
And language – like the F Word 1.84 times per minute....
“The language thing has already been debated to death,”sighs Hill. “My comment is that it is dramatically but not idiomatically correct. A lot of the words wouldn’t have been used by the characters at that time, but David Milch uses more modern usage for dramatic power. He also uses many phrases of the time. Overall, he certainly gets more of the way they actually conversed than is generally true in Westerns.
“In the historicity of the thing, it’s partly correct that these people were enormously profane. What we perceive to be obscenities - “Oh fuck it!” – has less power then than now, and what we perceive to be profanities - “Goddamit!” - had greater power in the 19th Century than today.”
You can call me Bobby Dupea - if you call me anything at all.
Have a great summer one and all.