It's coming on five years since 2008's "Adam Resurrected," writer/director Paul Schrader's last feature film, but he's returning in a big way. Later this summer, his independently financed and Kickstarter-assisted "The Canyons," starring Lindsay Lohan and porn star James Deen, will see a release by IFC Films as well as make a splash overseas playing out-of-competition at the Venice Film Festival (where he'll also serve as President of the International Jury for the Orizzonti section of the fest). And lucky enough for fans of the director, we won't be waiting another five years for Schrader to mount his next feature.
Catching up with the filmmaker by phone today to talk about "The Canyons," we asked him about his script for "The Dying Of The Light," a project Nicolas Winding Refn was gearing up to direct a couple of years back, until it fell apart. And the good news is the project is back on, though some of the job titles have been switched around. "I'm gonna make that this winter," he said.
"I think Nic Refn will be exec producer or something, [and] we have gotten an A-actor for that. He's agreed to the terms, but we're still negotiating the perks. I'll do that film starting at the end of the year," he added.
Originally set to star Harrison Ford and Channing Tatum during the Refn incarnation, the story centers on a C.I.A. agent who starts to become afflicted with blindness while on his last mission. So why did it fall apart? Well, simply put: Ford bailed.
"It was a wonderful, wonderful script about a C.I.A. agent who goes on an existentialistic journey and dies at the end," Refn told an audience at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in the fall of 2011. "And I thought, 'If I could do a movie where Harrison Ford dies, I would contribute to society.' So I was really into making this film. And I had gone to Los Angeles for short periods at a time to work with him. And you know, because it's Harrison Ford and you sit around in his big hangar with all his private planes and you hang out with Harrison Ford. Then he realizes that he doesn't want to die. Then it's like, 'Fucking hell. Okay, then there's no movie, Harrison.' Well he'd been thinking about it and 'Wasn't there another way?' and back and forth. And I thought, 'Oh God dammit.' So I was so angry at myself for buying into the illusion of Hollywood and of course, nothing ever happens."
Well, the silver lining is that it is happening once again. Unlike "The Canyons," this project has financing from traditional channels, though Schrader suggested the budget will still be lean, comparative to what studio pictures are made for these days. But either way, we're glad this movie is back on track and in the hands of the man who wrote the script.
Until then, stayed tuned for more from our interview with Schrader and his candid thoughts on making and promoting "The Canyons."