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Capone With Antoine Fuqua About SHOOTER, The KING ARTHUR Non Director's Cut, Casting TRAINING DAY, & Much More!!

Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here, with my interview with the outspoken and honest-as-hell Antoine Fuqua, who just happens to have a new movie coming out in mid-March called SHOOTER, starring Mark Wahlberg. This interview was a bit unusual in a couple different ways. First of all, I haven't seen SHOOTER; nobody has because, on the day of our interview, Antoine was still in the editing room working on nailing down the final version. But the good folks at Paramount still wanted the interview to happen sooner rather than after I'd seen the film. Hey, I'll take Antoine Fuqua any way I can get him. Second, the interview wasn't originally mine to do, but the tireless, well-traveled was sick as a Bangkok whore who'd lost her penicillin, so he asked me to step in. Again, I knew that Fuqua would be a great interview, so I was glad to take the reigns. Since it was impossible for me to ask specific questions about SHOOTER, I decided to turn into an opportunity to go through Fuqua's career, as well as figure out exactly what the guy had lined up next. In my research, I literally found articles published in the last 12 months that linked Fuqua to six different films, some of which he's still a part of. Anyway, the man offered up one of the most forthcoming and open conversations I've ever had with a filmmaker about his work, his successes, and his failures. Enjoy...

Capone: Antoine, how's it going? Antoine Fuqua: I'm tired.
C: It seems like you'd be a busy man right about now. AF: March 16, man! I've never done a movie where everything happens at the exact same time: mixing, editing, reshoots, scoring, you name it.
C: So you're still locking down SHOOTER? AF: Yeah, man. And it's gotta happen in the next day or two where it's a done deal. It's cool though, that's the job, right?
C: I guess so. I'll admit I feel ill-prepared in talking to you not having seen it, but I'm going to try work around that, because I certainly have loads of questions for you about your films. The trailer for SHOOTER is great, actually. As I was going through the films that you've made, I know a little something about nearly every one, usually from things you've said about them in the past. You're a rare breed as directors go because you're fairly outspoken about the movie-making process and your relationships with actors or studios, both good and bad. Yet, everyone still seems to want to work with you. They know the risks, but they still want to work with you. Why is that, and how are you able to work that way? AF: I don't know. I think people respond to honesty. They can't help it, even if they don't want to. Everybody gets tired of so much bullshit sometimes. It a little bit of a relief to know what you're getting into, as opposed to somebody coming at you from behind and not being straight up with you. The other thing is, I just focus on the work. At the end of the day, no matter what someone has to say about me, I just focus on the work, because that speaks for itself ultimately, what's up on the screen. Everything else is just hot air and posturing, and ego bullshit. That's what we're here to do. That might be it. When I'm on the set or in the editing bay, it's all about the work for me.
C: One of the most famous instances of conflicts you've had with a studio centered on your work on KING ARTHUR, in which the folks at Disney insisted that your pare it back to get a PG-13 rating after you'd prepped for an R-rated blood bath. I guess the promise was that you'd get to put out an unrated "director's cut" on DVD. Are you satisfied with the "director's cut" that's out there? AF: No, no, not at all. Because you never really get that chance. Once you're out of that editing bay, you're out of there. Everything else is out of your hands. It becomes marketing, selling product. It has nothing to do with you anymore. They'll sell you and use your name to say "director's cut." But not really, hell no.
C: Did you have any input into that cut? AF: No, barely. And my input was almost impossible because during the finishing of your movie, you're still supposed to have a director's cut. How are you going to do that when you're still finished the movie that you have to put out. If it's a PG-13 and that's what you have to cut, when do you find the time--you barely sleep anyway--to do a director's cut? A director's cut would have to be something you could do when you step away from the movie for a minute, and get all the material together, and go back and have a full cutting session with your editor. That's a director's cut. And being allowed to shoot the damn footage for a director's cut. When you're told you can't even shoot that kind of footage to start with, then what's the point anyway?
C: Many directors wait years, even decades to even attempt a director's cut. AF: You need the money to go back into that editing bay. The time it takes to get all that footage together, to go back in with a clear head and you're not dealing with any politics. It's just all picture, and you look at the movie and you ask, “Okay, what do I have, and what is the movie that I really want to make, and do I really have that in the can to even do a real director's cut?” You have to really know that you have all that in the can. You've got to know that you have major scenes on the floor that you really love. Not scenes on the floor that you kind of like, just because you want to be argumentative with the studio and say, "Well, I kind of like this, and they should have put it in." That's bullshit. It's got to be a scene that you really believe made a difference. Those kind of scenes are real director's cuts. They weren't scenes you wanted to shoot anyway.
C: So you're saying that the footage you would require for a proper director's cut of KING ARTHUR doesn't even exist? AF: Some of it doesn't because I wasn't allowed; I had prepared horses to run over people and chopping people's heads off. We prepped it all, we spent money on it, and then I was told I couldn't shoot it that way. That was tough. That's the business though. I've learned a lot since then.
C: Let me bounce a few titles off of you, and just tell me a few things about each one. Let's start with THE REPLACEMENT KILLERS, obviously the first American film for Chow Yun-Fat and your feature debut.. AF: Going back to that, the best experience that came out of that movie, aside from just technically learned some things about making a movie. Chow Yun-Fat was one of those guys that I admired watching everyday because he was so calm and comfortable and friendly. He was just a good person. And one day, I was in my trailer just frustrated about upset about a lot of different things, and I remember saying something to Chow like, "How come you're so calm about the process of making movies?" And he said something like he was just comfortable being Chow Yun-Fat, just being who he was. It wasn't any put on, or that he was trying to be a movie star. He was just a really comfortable human being, just cool as shit. Everything about him was just cool. And I couldn't figure out why he was that way. He was like, "I've been through all that, and I've come to the conclusion in my life that I'm really comfortable being Chow. I'm not trying to be anybody but me." And it was one of those things that really stuck with me. For me as a person, not just as a director, you need to get really comfortable with who you are and just roll with that. I'm not trying to hurt anybody or be an asshole or be this screaming mad director that people may want you to be. Just be who you are.
C: Have you learned to be that way full now, or are you still working on it? AF: I'm working on it. [laughs] It's a process, man. I'm getting better at it, I think. I don't know. They didn't fire me off of SHOOTER, so that's good.
C: I just realized I didn't go back far enough in your career, because I'm one of those people that really pays attention to the names of music video directors. And you've done so many, but the only artist I want to ask you about working with is Prince. I'm a decades-long fan, and I've even met him on a couple of very awkward occasions. What video did you do for him? AF: I did "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" video. That was a wild one, man. That was like walking into the twilight zone. I mean, he's Prince, you know? Prince is just cool. He's Prince! I went up to Minneapolis, it was like 20 below or something crazy like that.
C: Did you shoot at the soundstage in Paisley Park? I've been there many times; that's where I met him. AF: Yeah, that was a whole trip. It's like a whole different world. And they were calling him "the boss" at that time [when Prince was using the symbol for his name]. So he'd call me up sometime and go, "What are you doing?" And I'd say, "Who is this?" And he'd go, "It's the boss." It was a cool experience. There were women lying all around like cats. There were beautiful women everywhere. Because when I did it, he was having a contest.
C: I remember that. Women sent in their photos in to get cast in the video. AF: Remember that? They were all there when I was there. So you go there and there are just hundreds of women lounging. And I was like, it must be really fucking great to be Prince. [laughs] Come on, man, what better life do you want? He's rich, he's Prince, he's talented. It's a whole different world, right?
C: It is. It's also the best-smelling building I've ever been in. AF: I know. Candles everywhere. I felt like I was in a music video.
C: Talk to me about BAIT. That was really the first name-above-the-title, starring role that Jamie Foxx ever had. He'd been in other things--most notably ANY GIVEN SUNDAY--but he'd never been asked to carry a film before then. AF: BAIT was one of those movies that's not me. As a director in the beginning you're still trying to find what your passion is. You don't always necessarily get to do what your passionate about, and I was always impatient with waiting around. I had some scripts that I'd written based on a book called "Monster [The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member" by Monster Cody Scott.], and I couldn't get that made because it was too violent, too black, too whatever. I'd just done THE REPLACEMENT KILLERS, and I just wanted to keep working and keep finding my voice in the studio system. I talked to Oliver Stone about Jamie, and he was saying how talented Jamie was, and I got the script BAIT. It wasn't like the stuff I was passionate about was coming across my desk, and it was a chance to work with Jamie. And I thought, well, maybe I do have a little bit of humor in me. But I don't! [laughs] It didn't work out for me.
C: I did notice there aren't too many comedies on your roster. AF: No, that's not what I'm about. I discovered that pretty quick. Jamie's a funny guy, but I'm not. It's not my thing. I kind of did it as an exercise. It was fine, and I got to work with Jamie, and Jamie turned out to be a major star, which is great because I knew he would be back then by just spending time with him.
C: And then of course, TRAINING DAY was the film that blew up for you, and people in Hollywood started to take notice of what you were capable of. People talk a lot about Denzel Washington's performance in that film, and rightfully so, but I always thought Ethan Hawke had a really tough role.
AF: He has the harder role. It was layered with a lot of things, and he had to take shit the whole movie. He had to express a lot of stuff and a lot of emotion. TRAINING DAY is exactly the type of things that I'm interested in. When I read David Ayer's script, I said, this is me. I knew that's what I wanted to do, but I didn't read it until I got Ayer's script. I said, I know this world and I can take this to the level that I want to take it to. It was hard finding someone to play Jake because I needed a real actor, I needed someone with some depth that could really act. I test screened about 15 people. Some of them were just cover boys, some were really talented, but they would drown next to Denzel. I was watching Jay Leno, I think, with my wife and I saw Ethan comes on promoting, I think it was HAMLET. And I was like, That's the fucking guy, because he could really act, because he was tough enough but not trying to be tough. And he looked like sort of a man-child to me. He's just about to be a man, because he's still vulnerable and you still like him, because you have to care about the guy. He can't be some guy trying to be a badass. He had to be a guy you actually liked, a common guy. And when I saw Ethan, I said, That's the guy. Everybody was like, "Ethan Hawke in the hood? Ethan Hawke in the ghetto?" But that guy's a real fucking actor. He moved to New York, he didn't try to become the pretty boy on the cover of the magazines. He went off to do little plays because he's serious about his craft. And after I did all the tests, I met Ethan and we hung out for about four hours and just talked and laughed about life. We didn't even talk about the movie. And I was like, “I love this guy; this guy's the real thing.” And he was about the leave town because nobody was interested in him. And I was with Denzel, and I called Ethan, who was on his way to the airport. And I said, “Can you come over and just have lunch with me and Denzel?” And he came over, and as soon as he got there, I said, "Will you just go on screen for me? Just do it with Denzel?" And he said, "Yeah, fuck it." That's what he said, "Fuck it." And he took his jacket off, and I swear to you, Denzel looked at me and I said, "Told you." Denzel knew it too. As soon as he did it, it was like, "That's him." Because seeing is believing and nobody would believe it until they saw it. He didn't drown; he stood his ground. And the role was hard because he had to take shit the whole movie, and he was always wondering, "Am I in? Am I really in on this thing? Because I kind of like it but it's really fucked up and morally it's wrong, but everything he's saying makes sense to me." So he has to play that in his mind and in his acting a lot, that back and forth. When he got nominated, I was thrilled but I wasn't surprised because he's a really good actor and he deserves it.
C: His character is the audience's entry point into the story. AF: He's us.
C: And that's the first of your films in which that sort of moral dilemma is at the heart of the plot. Can you talk about what appeals to you in that conflict? AF: I think it's the reason why I love Kurosawa movies, because it is that. It's the samurai, the concept of having honor and morality. Everyday you walk out of your house, you try to get back home with your morals intact. As soon as you step out of your house, you get challenged everyday with all kinds of shit. People want to offer you money for something you know is wrong. If you're married or in a relationship, females come across you that you know you may not want to get involved with because that would hurt the person you're with. You hope you have enough integrity to teach your children something that's worthwhile. The trick is, can you get back home with your morals intact? And can you sleep? Just that simple concept was sort of the concept for me. When I read Ayer's script, it was "The Heart of Darkness." Every day you go down that river. In your career, you're going down that river, in your life. The trick is, can you get back? Once you get there and see all the crazy shit, where do you stand as a person? That's the thing that I want to make movies about, that moral dilemma. When you're challenged with something that you know is inherently wrong, what do you do about it? How do you deal with it? And if make the wrong decision, how do you right it? What do you have to go through to do that?
C: Have you seen David Ayer's [directing debut] HARSH TIMES? It's exactly what you just described. The two films are similar in that regard. AF: Yeah, I'm seen it. I thought David did a really good job. David's a talented guy.
C: There has certainly been plenty written about your experience making TEARS OF THE SUN, and the issues you had with Bruce Willis. That film was poised to tell a story about the African genocide to Western audiences weren't nearly as familiar with as they are now. What happened there? I know the film was financially successful worldwide, so it's never been classified as a failure in that regard. But that didn't make it any less frustrating for you, I'm guessing.
AF: Yeah, it made money. The reason I did it was because there was an opportunity to say something real. And I think there was a fear on a lot of different people's parts, once I started bring people from Africa over here, people with one legs, people who really experienced these things over there. It got very real, and all of the sudden people started saying, "Wow, we want to make sure this makes money, we want to market this, it needs to be more of an action movie." There's too much money involved for this to be just an important story about these people's plight. And it became that during the shooting, which is really difficult because you go into a movie trying to say something, and then in the middle of it, people shift gears on you because of the business or people not believing it can be successful without more action or more heroic things. We had discussed going in that the heroism is just doing something. It doesn't necessarily mean you have to get the girl at the end; it doesn't mean you have to still be standing at the end. The initial thing was that all the guys were going to die in the jungle. The idea is that they tried, that there are people out there trying. That was what was important to me. And that the Africans at some point have to make it their on their own. That's how I see it anyway. Because no matter what the Western world can do, no matter how much work Bono puts into it, at some point the people of Africa have to do it themselves. They have to build their own huts and take care of their own. That's just life. No matter how much somebody gives you, you've got to take care of yourself. That's what I was trying to say, how twisted this is. And ever if there are good people out there trying, they can only take it so far. And heroism is in the trying, the hand they gave you to lift you up. It's not necessarily in the succeeding at that point. So it got twisted, and it became very frustrating for me because I found myself doing more of an action movie, which is not what I wanted to do. It was a fight, a battle on everybody's part. It could have been handled differently by both of us. I got pissed, Bruce got pissed. I actually like Bruce, it just got to a point where working together was difficult, because we say two different movies. So, what do you do? He's the bigger star. It's hard to fight that. People pay to see him.
C: The last older film I wanted to discuss, if only because it was probably a much more satisfying process for you, was the blues concert documentary LIGHTING IN A BOTTLE. Here's a guy coming from the music video world going to shoot this historic concert in Madison Square Garden. Could you draw from what you'd done leading up to that project, or was a completely different experience? AF: Technically, I could draw from what I'd done before. I've done concert films before. It was more of an honor for me, and a chance to meet all of those players. Those are the real deal dudes. There's no pretending with those guys. They are what they are. They play the instruments, they sing the songs. They are the real thing. With Martin Scorsese [executive producing], it was an honor for me to get a chance to film them. It wasn't like I was trying to be Mr. Creative. I just wanted to capture who they are, so people could have that, because a lot of those guys are old. Some of them have one lung and they're barely standing, but they can get on that stage and play like they're 18 years old. It was a chance to be a part of music history with that level of talent.
C: How did Scorsese find you? AF: You know what? I'm not ever sure, man. I got a call on a Sunday that Scorsese was on the phone for me. I was coming from church with my family. And I got on the phone, and you know he talks really fast, and he said, "Hey, do you like the blues?" I said, "Get out, I love the blues." And we started kicking off names, and he said, "Do you want to do a documentary about the blues?" And he's going a hundred miles an hour, and finally he said, "Great, give me a call tomorrow." And he was gone. And the next thing you know I'm in it. I think, there were a few people that new me from my music video days, and my agent David Unger knew about the project. I think he was talking to people about the blues, and my family history is in music. My uncle Harvey Fuqua discovered Marvin Gaye. All that was a conversation somebody had with Scorsese, I guess. And he called me up. I wish I could have recorded that conversation.
C: Was your film intended for Scorsese's "Blues" series on PBS? AF: It was originally meant to be a part of it, but then it became something on its own, yeah.
C: That would have been my guess. Let's dive into SHOOTER. Since I haven't seen the film and without giving away too much, give me an overview on what's a stake her. What's the film about? AF: It's an action-thriller. It's a conspiracy story. It was written really well [by screenwriter Jonathan Lemkin], based on the book ["Point of Impact" by Stephen Hunter]. It's smart, it's not just fluff. It's got action. It's got really great acting. Mark [Wahlberg] is great in it. And it's a fun movie to watch, but it's definitely a thrill ride, and it's not at all a big dumb action movie where you go and there's no thought behind it. There's a lot of current political statements in it. We slipped all that in there, but it's still fun, it's still thrilling. And you don't know where it's taking you or where it's going to go. And I would say to you, Oh, it's just an action popcorn movie if that's what this was. It is and it isn't. It is because it's a fun ride and there's lots of action, but at the same time you do get a little bit of the THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR intensity. A little FUGITIVE. You get those elements, but you get more of the political elements that I think people think they're going to get. We make some interesting statements that will make you crack up probably, especially with Ned Beatty.
C: Just from the trailer, the subject matter did remind of THE PARALAX VIEW. AF: Yeah, and I kind of shot it that way with Peter Menzies Jr. We intentionally shot it to be really epic. We shot on an ice glacier, we shot in Washington, we shot in Philadelphia, we shot in Baltimore, we shot way up in the mountains. So it's really got a big scope and is beautiful to look at, like those films would do. They would hold on shots and you'd get a chance to see where you are and feel the environment. At the same time, you have the twists and turns of the political turns, like they used to. And that's what we set out to do, to say, let's take our time and not rush through everything and let people get involved in the story. And we did it.
C: Your fortunate enough to have a recent Oscar nominee in your lead role playing what looks to be a completely different kind of character. He looks more like the strong silent type here. AF: He's definitely got that Steve McQueen thing going on. He really does, and he pulls it off. Mark is a great and really talented actor, and he's a great person, seriously. Working with him is the best experience I've had, bar none. And I'd tell you if he was a pain in my ass, or if he was a little difficult. He's nothing like that. And I'm hoping to do a lot of movies with Mark. He's talented and he's the hardest-working guy. And he's totally focused, and I think in this movie I think you'll see a grown man. He's holding his own, and he's strong. And I love seeing it because I'm a fan of his. It's the same way I felt about Ethan or working with Denzel. I'm a big fan of his, so as a director, I'm going, This guy has it. The Marky Mark shit is gone; he's the real fucking thing. And Scorsese knew that when he put him in his movie. He deserves it.
C: One of his co-stars in SHOOTER is an actor that I've really enjoyed seeing come up in films like WORLD TRADE CENER and in his extended guest spot on "The Shield," Michael Pena. It looks like he's one of the leads in this movie. AF: He is.
C: The other current project you're involved with as executive producer is the new documentary on HBO that just premiered called BASTARDS OF THE PARTY about the history of L.A. gangs. Tell me about that. AF: I've been trying to get that done for ten years. It's just a personal project; it's what I'm about. It's a documentary about the evolution of gangbanging. We've been trying to get that made for a while, and just wrote the check and got it done. It's just one of those things where it feels like nobody's paying attention to our own backyard. And we're watching all these young guys die every day; I see it all the time in my family and in the streets, and I feel like nobody's paying attention to it and talking about it. These young kids are dying everyday, and it doesn't even make the news. And then people chalk it up to them just being gang members. And yes, there are gangs, but the Hell's Angels is a gang. There's no war on them. There's this war in the ghetto with all these black gangs and no one wants to even understand how it got started or why. So we set out to find out where did the first bullet come from and how do we fucking stop it. That's the goal. Let's explore how this madness got started. Forget all that rap shit; forget all that MTV shaking your ass crap. What's real? How did this happen? And how do we stop these kids from dying? For me, as a filmmaker, and getting to a position where people will listen or I can get this thing in the door at HBO, it would be a horrible crime for me not to utilize that juice to do these sort of things, to try and start some sort of dialog about this craziness. We can makes movies all we want, but the truth is, there's some real-life stuff happening out there, right here at home in America. Not in Israel or Iraq or Africa, where Oprah and everybody goes, I'm talking right here in our own back yard. To me, that a crying shame that no one has focused on, no one is talking about it.
C: When you talk about exploring where the first bullet came from, this film traces the gang history back to the 1950s, right? AF: The '40s, actually. The real beginning. How it evolved. Where did the Black Panthers come from. That's why it's called BASTARDS OF THE PARTY, the children of the Panther Party. Where did that even start? How did that fall apart? Why did they even develop the Black Panthers? There was a white group called the Spook Hunters that goes all the way back to the racism where people are getting off trains and couldn't get a job, so they had to form a group, and that group got a title. All of the sudden, they became a gang. But they were really protecting themselves. And when that was over, and a lot of the white people moved out of those areas, they were still left with these groups of people, but they were more about dancing and having dance contests. It wasn't about violence. Then the Panthers came around because the police started beating the shit out of everybody. They were trying to stop that and organize and have some sort of community centers and educational programs and food programs, and Hoover decided they were terrorists. It goes deeper, and I did it, not as an indictment of the police or the government, but as an attempt with Cle Shaheed Sloan, who directed it, that no matter what that at the end of this fucking movie, I just want to understand why it happened, how it happened, and I want to hear you say that it's bullshit. Not me, but somebody that lived it and did it, I need them to say that this is bullshit and that it's wrong. So maybe one kid is about to join a gang or about to pull a trigger, he might see this documentary before he walks out the door and say, this is not what this is supposed to be. My goal was to see if I could save a life or two. The money didn't mean anything. It was about how do we make sure that these kids get some education on what they are supposed to be, what the Bloods and Crips even mean. Some people don't even know what those titles mean. Let's pray that somebody might see it and say, I'm not going to go shoot this guy today. Maybe I'll go do something else like go to school. Maybe gangbanging is not so fucking cool.
C: Was there anything you discovered in the research phase of putting this film together than genuinely shocked you? AF: Yes and no, because growing up, there were always ghetto rumors, you know?
C: Yeah. Actually, what the hell am I saying? I have no idea what you're talking about. AF: Ghetto folk tales, man, about the FBI: we saw some guys in a car around the corner. Strange things would happen where they would tell us where guns were in the trains that were coming through. It was so far-fetched that you would never think that the government or Hoover or anyone would have any interest in our little black asses. Why would they care about us? But the bigger picture revealed that it did happen. They were strategically destroying neighborhoods, strategically putting drugs into certain neighborhoods. We don't grow poppy fields. There's no cocaine where I grew up. So, it was being shipped in from somewhere. When you start really digging into those things, it's a real eye-opener. When you start realizing that Hoover actually did what he did to the Panthers, would consider them terrorists and put in spies and have corresponding letters going back and forth to get people angry and start fights. It's really mind-boggling that all this attention went into this, but it's not because the racism has always been around. When they couldn't hang somebody, they used psychological warfare. It made sense once we got into it, but I was still taken aback. And then sitting and talking with FBI people who said that it happened, to hear them admit it was devastating. That kind of stuff is what I'm really all about. If I could make movies about that, I would. One day I will. But it's kind of heavy, so I've got to entertain people.
C: That's a perfect segue to get into talking about what you've got coming up next. I've seen your name attached to half-dozen things in the last year. Let me just go down the list, and you tell me what you're still a part of and what you aren't. But the one thing I know you're not involved with anymore is AMERICAN GANGSTSER, which fell through for you. That would have been your reunion film with Denzel Washington, and it also featured Benecio Del Toro. What happened there? AF: You know, man, I really don't know.
C: Was it a money thing? AF: Yeah, I guess. I never really go the real story. I guess it was they wanted to spend a certain amount of money, we needed a certain amount of money. People started to position me to kick in a certain amount of money. Back door shit like that. And if you don't play the game exactly the way they want you to play it, you find yourself fired for reasons that have nothing do with what you were really doing. The hardest thing is, as a director, when you're passionate and you're trying to be strong and stand by what you believe in, like you're supposed to do. You say, I think that's cheesy; I don't want to do that. I have a vision for that. And then someone sits in a room and says to you, well, we don't want that. What do you do? You go, I'll just shoot the movie and have everyone think I'm a hack director, and I'll fall on your sword instead of my own. No! And as soon as you stand up for yourself, you man up and say, I don't believe in that. Then they fire you. So the question is, Do you want to keep making a living in this business or not? It's tough. I made the decision not to do certain things, and some people aren't happy about it and wanted me to do it their way, and they fire me. That's the power they have.
C: What is still on you radar no for upcoming projects? I've seen that you had an UNTOUCHABLES thing that traced the rise of Al Capone, which is of course, near and dear to my heart. Or the Notorious B.I.G. bio film. AF: Al Capone I'm not attached to. I think Brian DePalma is now. That was brought to me before the new regime at Paramount. I don't know what's going on with that. Biggie: we're working on a script; I haven't seen the new script yet, so I don't know if it's going to be good or not. But I'm still attached to that.
C: What about BLOODS about the black Vietnam veterans? AF: BLOODS, I still own the book, but I just don't have a script yet. I don't know if I can get anybody to make that story with Iraq going on right now. Nobody seems to care about Vietnam, so…
C: The other one I read about was BY ANY MEAN NECESSARY, a story about terrorism. AF: Yeah, that's here at Paramount. They're working on a new draft, with me and Mark again. So we'll see. That's a great one; we'll see what happens.
C: So there are still quite a few things you've got your hand it, great. Antoine, thank you so much for taking time out from finishing SHOOTER to talk. AF: Alright, man. It was good talking to you, and if you see BASTARDS, call me and let me know what you think. Send me an e-mail or something. C: Will do. Thanks. AF: Later.

Capone





Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 20, 2007, 2:23 p.m. CST

    First

    by Norman Bates

    son.

  • Feb. 20, 2007, 2:23 p.m. CST

    I read this interview, because I had nothing else to do

    by DerLanghaarige

    I'm happy that I read it. It was very interesting. Suddenly I like Fuqua!

  • Feb. 20, 2007, 2:25 p.m. CST

    King Kong...

    by Norman Bates

    Aint Got Shit on me!! Training Day fuckin' rocks, and Shooter looks promising. Good luck Antoine.

  • Feb. 20, 2007, 2:39 p.m. CST

    Wow he really does say what he feels.

    by godzillasushi

    Sounds like a cool guy.

  • Feb. 20, 2007, 2:46 p.m. CST

    Training Day was okay, but...

    by glodene

    I thought the last 30 minutes fell apart. The whole catching the bus back to the Jungle from the Barrio to get revenge on Denzel was pretty contrived. Realistically, Ethan (after having a shotgun jammed against his skull by some vatos), would've gone home instead and filed a report the next morning as opposed to going all Deathwish.

  • Feb. 20, 2007, 2:52 p.m. CST

    Bastards of the Party

    by Drexl Spivey

    Anybody seen that? Sounds interesting.

  • Feb. 20, 2007, 3:14 p.m. CST

    Point of Impact

    by Mr. Lahey

    Awesome book, have to read it again. Please do Black Light next. Thank you.

  • Feb. 20, 2007, 3:15 p.m. CST

    Pfft, King Arthur sucked anway

    by rev_skarekroe

    OK, so I didn't actually see it. But that's what I heard!

  • Feb. 20, 2007, 3:26 p.m. CST

    No Tears of the Sun? wasn't there serious dissagree

    by kinghenryVIII

    ments on that movie though? Can't remember - thought it was great movie. Trainning Day rocked - good stuff! Good interveiw!

  • Feb. 20, 2007, 3:29 p.m. CST

    bastards of the party

    by fried samurai

    I watched this the other night on HBO.I like how it showed the history of gangs in LA.There were tons of stuff that happened throughout history that I had no idea about.Great doc.

  • Feb. 20, 2007, 3:40 p.m. CST

    STUDIO INFLUENCE AINT GOT SHIT ON ME!

    by connor187

    Really interesting point there I think, when he talks about listening to the studio and being labled a hack. People on this site should understand certain situations certain directors find themselves in before commenting. Then again, Some directors are fucking hacks, no doubt, even without studio influence. Training day is a fucking great movie by the way.

  • Feb. 20, 2007, 4:49 p.m. CST

    Interview was so good I had to register and say it

    by Vanderhorst

    It's refreshing to see a director with such candor - this is clearly a man who has learned how to maneuver around some Hollywood shit. Not every director can find a balance between studio filmmaking and their vision and this one has quickly become my favorite of the Bruckheimer-money directors. I am very stoked to see what he's up to next - despite the trailer's major plot giveaways Shooter will definitely be my first Fuqua theater trip.

  • Feb. 20, 2007, 5:12 p.m. CST

    What A Stretch

    by Douche Baggins

    I can't wait to see Marky Skidmark as a tough guy hero. I love to see people cast against type.

  • Feb. 20, 2007, 5:21 p.m. CST

    Capone's Prince feitish

    by Rupee88

    I'm with you there...thanks for the purple questions and Prince is still DA BOMB. May u live 2 see the dawn...But good interview overall besides that...very illuminationg.

  • Feb. 20, 2007, 6:03 p.m. CST

    RESIDENT EXTINCTION TRAILER HERE

    by torontoxic

    http://playlist.yahoo.com/makeplaylist.dll?id=1556965&sdm=web&qtw=640&qth=400 <P> Looks cool to me. <P> King Arthur was balls.

  • Feb. 20, 2007, 6:14 p.m. CST

    Great Director

    by NudeandAroused

    I know this will sound strange, but "King Arthur" really isn't that bad of a movie.

  • Feb. 20, 2007, 6:30 p.m. CST

    King Arthur

    by Kizeesh

    No its not that bad, and the (so-called) Director's cut is better than the theatrical edition, it's just marred by a crap script with no clear goals or character growth.

  • Feb. 20, 2007, 6:43 p.m. CST

    Makes you realize that a lot

    by THE KNIGHT

    Makes you realize that a lot of so called "hack" directors out there probably have an ideal person vision they would like to convey but the studios want money money money.... It's sad but that's the way the cookie crumbles.... I have a new found respect for this guy... I shall see Shooter.... <p> Fuck the studios, fuck them right up their stupid asses!

  • Feb. 20, 2007, 6:51 p.m. CST

    What Steve McQueen Thing?

    by Napolean Solo

    Please enlighten me. I love Mark Wahlberg as much as the next man, but Steve McQueen and Mark have absolutely nothing in common celluloid-wise.

  • Feb. 20, 2007, 7:03 p.m. CST

    "Wah, wah, evil studio made my movie suck!"

    by JackPumpkinhead

    Whining pussy won't take the blame for the unspeakable badness of his Fucking Arthur and try to frame "the studio" for it? How brave and original! This guy's a one-hit wonder. In fact, he's not, because Training Day isn't impressive at all, either - I can't believe a deus ex machine plot device so stupid and cliched as the 'wallet' one in that film has been used in anything since the 70s TV shows...

  • Feb. 20, 2007, 9:01 p.m. CST

    A few things...

    by Darth Thoth

    1) My level of respect for Fuqua after reading this interview just shot through the roof. What a great, candid, and real interview. Props to you Fuqua. Props to you. 2) Capone, you do outstanding work my man. I really enjoy your stuff. 3) Bastards of the Party was unbelievable. Highly highly recommended. Highly recommended. 4) King Arthur Director's Cut was actually OK. A lot better than the theatrical. Not great but by any stretch but still and enjoyable action movie. I can only imagine Fuqua's "real" director's cut would've been something even better. 5) Training Day was awesome but I thought it did fade towards the end. 6) Again, great interview. My respect for Fuqua has gone up big time.

  • Feb. 20, 2007, 9:10 p.m. CST

    "Monster"

    by OriginalThinker

    I worked for a wannabe producer last year and got to read the script, it was really good, the people the producer was working with didn't want to do it though because it was too violent, they said. I hope he gets to make that movie, it would be a real eye opener to real gang violence.

  • Feb. 20, 2007, 9:22 p.m. CST

    Fuqua never gets the respect he deserves

    by terry1978

    Everyone was always so quick to dismiss him for King Arthur, and Training Day as well, but the man does good work. He used to be labeled as just another of those "black hippity hop directors", but that wouldn't be further from the truth. If a studio wants to give this man a DC or Marvel property to helm, I'd be fine with it.

  • Feb. 20, 2007, 9:46 p.m. CST

    Good interview

    by The Dum Guy

    I'll try to Netflix 'Bastards', sounds interesting. This Fuqua dude sounds kinda weird (normal) for someone in Hollywood, and to know Chow Yun Fat is actually "cool" in real life is cool.

  • Feb. 20, 2007, 9:48 p.m. CST

    Did somebody say hack?

    by Nate Champion

    Ahem.

  • Feb. 20, 2007, 10:02 p.m. CST

    glodene, I see your point.

    by Uncapie

    But, you have to understand this guy was set up from the begining. It was a meltdown from being the good cop wanting to do the good thing and after his near death experience, nothing mattered but nailing his partner. Also, he didn't know how far or who his partner had alliences with inside the department. Watch it again and look at Ethan Hawk's facial expressions how they change during his downfall. His redemption was going home to his wife and kid after his vedetta was accompished. Hope this helps.

  • Feb. 20, 2007, 10:02 p.m. CST

    Proofreading is for chumps

    by S-Mart shopper

    right Capone;)

  • Feb. 20, 2007, 10:16 p.m. CST

    Bastards of the Party has been playing on HBO

    by Darth Thoth

    Definitely check it out. When it came on I thought I was only going to watch 5 minutes and then go do some work I had to finish but I ended up watching the entire thing. It was eye-opening.

  • Feb. 20, 2007, 11:21 p.m. CST

    King Auther...

    by streakerfreak1983

    it wasn't bad. It was the best of three epics at the time (Troy and Alexander) It had great atmosphere and the scenes within the dungen were great. I also feel it was perfectly cast. That being said, it is easly forgettable and no where near perfect.

  • Feb. 21, 2007, 12:28 a.m. CST

    somewhat off topic, but...

    by The Dum Guy

    C.I.A. connections with drug dealers seems far fetched, but the only reason most drugs are illegal in the U.S. is because the government (or whomever makes the laws) generally wants to suppress who ever uses them, and orginally that was immigrants. Just watch the specials on drug laws that A&E runs now and again, and really wonder what "greater good" the government is looking out for.... Our health? I really have no where to go with this, but did you know the U.S. government gave the Taliban large sums of money prior to 9-11, I wish I could remember the exact citation but here's one that's kinda close [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIA_drug_trafficking].

  • Feb. 21, 2007, 7:09 a.m. CST

    Great Interview

    by gandalftheblack

    AF seems like the new type of director. I'm glad that he speaks his mind about the hollywood process. It shows that sometimes directors' craft can get interfered by hollywood bs, and it's still good he stood his ground. Arthur needed to have an R rating. I saw the directors cut before seeing the PG 13 version and the directors cut makes it a better flick. Bastards of the Party is an awesome documentary. I would highly advise anyone to see it and watch the de-evolution of LA (via gangs) through a serious, well investigated pice of filmmaking. It gave a good look at not only the bloods n crips, but the political organizations that they were first. One thing I really liked was the fact that it showed Black gangs prior to the Blood and crips and how the old timers were saying that guns were NEVER an option when it came to self-defense, and how since then the game has changed. SEE IT!!!

  • Feb. 21, 2007, 7:45 a.m. CST

    Thanks Anton for making excuses for 90% of your work

    by Spandau Belly

    I hate this guy, I hate all his movies.<br><br>"They wouldn't produce 'Monster' becuz it was too black and violent."????????,<br>Gimme a break! Hollywood produced 'Boyz In Tha Hood', 'Scarface', and countless DMX outings. It's because you are a lousy filmmaker<br><br>And yeah, defend the crappyness of 'King Arthur' on a lack of violence that you wanted to infuse but the big bad studio wouldn't let you. Boo-hoo! Did the studio stop you from infusing character developement and story structure as well?<br><br>How about all those scenes where four guys fire arrows at attackers and 20 of them hit the ground with three arrows in them each? Did the studio stop you from applying counting as well?<br><br>I'm glad you found your "voice" doing a cheap knock off of Bourne, starring Marky Mark, who is in fact a cheap knockoff of Matt Damon.<br><br>Good luck, Antoine, keeping coming up with excuses, they're more entertaining than your films.

  • Feb. 21, 2007, 9:45 a.m. CST

    I think BringingSexyBack hit his head

    by torontoxic

    You had to be joking with "The CIA had long been using the ghetto for its illicit drug-trade to fund". Please tell me you're joking. I haven't heard that stupid white man puts drugs in the ghettos line in like 15 years and it was dumb way back then. I think it was in a commercial for a daytime talk show being said by an actual crack addict. And to say "that's a fact"? No...that's actually the exact opposite of a fact. btw: More violence wouldn't have made King Arthur any better. He just made a shitty movie is all. I championed this guy after The Replacement Killers because he how Chow Yun Fat in an American movie and he didn't totally blow it. Then he made Bait. <P> I don't think Training Day is his best work because he lived it and knows it by any means. I think he got very lucky with a kick ass script that didn't require the director to do much beyond be there. I liked Harsh Times much better.

  • Feb. 21, 2007, 11:35 a.m. CST

    spandau you are wrong on Mark

    by kilik777

    He is indeed a better actor than Matt Damon which is pretty good himself. http://tinyurl.com/pv8do

  • Feb. 21, 2007, 2:14 p.m. CST

    Denzel deserved his Oscar

    by Spandau Belly

    I thought he did an excellent job playing Ali G. I don't normally like biopics, but seeing the life Ali G lived gave me a new appreciation for his interviewing style. Denzel really got the mannerisms and speech style down pat.

  • Feb. 21, 2007, 6:29 p.m. CST

    King Arthur had a pretty bad script. And with the

    by superninja

    exception of Clive Owen, the other two leads were miscast without a doubt.

  • Feb. 21, 2007, 6:31 p.m. CST

    Troy would be good if you edited out all of the

    by superninja

    parts with Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom.

  • Feb. 21, 2007, 7:37 p.m. CST

    Actually, Castaway would be good with just the

    by superninja

    Fedex parts.

  • Feb. 22, 2007, 7:44 a.m. CST

    nice interview, but i agree...

    by omarthesnake

    with others on this talkback: King Arthur just wasn't a good movie, and a lack of gratuitous gore wasn't what made it bad. This comes across as whiny and desperate to place the blame elsewhere. There were plenty of great period action movies in Hollywood's golden age that didn't need heads lopped off and horses stomping on people.