Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
New Images Of Kristen Stewart In Stoner Comedy 'American Ultra' And Sci-Fi 'Equals' New Images Of Kristen Stewart In Stoner Comedy 'American Ultra' And Sci-Fi 'Equals' ‘Game Of Thrones’ Will Probably End After Season 8, But HBO Is Open To Prequels & More ‘Game Of Thrones’ Will Probably End After Season 8, But HBO Is Open To Prequels & More The 25 Best Action Movies Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Action Movies Of The 21st Century So Far Relativity Puts 'Jane Got A Gun' And More Up For Sale As They Fight Off Bankruptcy Relativity Puts 'Jane Got A Gun' And More Up For Sale As They Fight Off Bankruptcy Zack Snyder Says Batman Has A "Crisis Of Conscience" In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Plus New Pics Zack Snyder Says Batman Has A "Crisis Of Conscience" In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Plus New Pics Venice 2015 Line-Up: 'Equals' With Kristen Stewart, 'Beasts Of No Nation,' 'The Danish Girl,' More Venice 2015 Line-Up: 'Equals' With Kristen Stewart, 'Beasts Of No Nation,' 'The Danish Girl,' More Watch: 4-Minute Tribute To Lars von Trier's Masterful Film Work Watch: 4-Minute Tribute To Lars von Trier's Masterful Film Work New 'Deadpool' Images, Ryan Reynolds Distances Himself From 'X-Men: Origins' New 'Deadpool' Images, Ryan Reynolds Distances Himself From 'X-Men: Origins' TIFF Images: Emma Watson In 'Colonia,' Brie Larson In 'Room,' Charlie Kaufman's 'Anomalisa' And More TIFF Images: Emma Watson In 'Colonia,' Brie Larson In 'Room,' Charlie Kaufman's 'Anomalisa' And More Richard Linklater Frontrunner To Direct 'The Rosie Project' Starring Jennifer Lawrence Richard Linklater Frontrunner To Direct 'The Rosie Project' Starring Jennifer Lawrence Watch: Blu-Ray Trailer For 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron' Plus 11 New Clips From The Film Watch: Blu-Ray Trailer For 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron' Plus 11 New Clips From The Film The 10 Best And 5 Worst Tom Cruise Performances The 10 Best And 5 Worst Tom Cruise Performances Watch: New Trailer For 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Blu-ray Release Explores Who Killed The World Watch: New Trailer For 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Blu-ray Release Explores Who Killed The World Just For Laughs: 'The Big Lebowski' Live Read With Michael Fassbender & Jennifer Lawrence Just For Laughs: 'The Big Lebowski' Live Read With Michael Fassbender & Jennifer Lawrence "A Living Hell": 'The Revenant' Is Reportedly $35 Million Over Budget, A Producer Exited The Movie, And More "A Living Hell": 'The Revenant' Is Reportedly $35 Million Over Budget, A Producer Exited The Movie, And More The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015 So Far The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015 So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki

Monte Hellman Says 'Road To Nowhere' Was A "Group Subconscious Experience"

The Playlist By Gabe Toro | The Playlist June 11, 2011 at 5:00AM

This weekend, Monte Hellman‘s “Road To Nowhere” opens. Somehow, no one has acknowledged that this is an event; Hellman, the vaunted director of “Two Lane Blacktop” and “The Shooting,” hasn’t made a movie since 1989. Things are a bit different this time around, as Hellman is working with much more unconventional material, with “Road To Nowhere” focusing on a murder-mystery happening in a movie-within-a-movie, with actors playing multiple roles within two separate storylines that keep dovetailing into each other. If you ask Hellman, who still believes, “No explanations, no apologies, and above all, no refunds,” this elaborate structure was more of an experiment of the subconscious, an attempt at trial-and-error than a purposeful artistic decision.
0


This weekend, Monte Hellman‘s “Road To Nowhere” opens. Somehow, no one has acknowledged that this is an event; Hellman, the vaunted director of “Two Lane Blacktop” and “The Shooting,” hasn’t made a movie since 1989. Things are a bit different this time around, as Hellman is working with much more unconventional material, with “Road To Nowhere” focusing on a murder-mystery happening in a movie-within-a-movie, with actors playing multiple roles within two separate storylines that keep dovetailing into each other. If you ask Hellman, who still believes, “No explanations, no apologies, and above all, no refunds,” this elaborate structure was more of an experiment of the subconscious, an attempt at trial-and-error than a purposeful artistic decision.

“In many ways, I think I’m a skinny Hitchcock,” Hellman told the audience at a Q&A at Lincoln Center. “He liked to visualize the whole experience before he started, and after that it made no difference to him. But I don’t wanna know what it comes out like, I wanna be surprised every day on the set.” Most of “Road To Nowhere” has this semi-improvisational feel, as if Hellman and company purposely chucked the safety net. Though, to hear it from Hellman, that’s always been the case with his films.

“Every time I start a movie I don’t remember anything that I did before, I don’t remember the process and I’m terrified because I don’t think I know what to do,” says Hellman. “And then I get on the set and it’s like riding a bicycle, it all comes back. This time… I somehow got the idea to see what it was like to relinquish control. What would happen if all of us stopped trying to think too much and tried to see if we could… get in touch with our subconscious. I presented this to the other creative people involved. I wanted it to be a group subconscious effort. Some people scoffed at it, some people said ‘We’ll see.’ But it happened. Somehow I started to see this thing magically happen, and the more it happened, the more I was able to let go.”

Hellman also revealed that, for a time, the playful, elliptical “Road To Nowhere” was going to be borderline autobiographical, focusing on the relationship between a director named Monte and a screenwriter with the same identity as writer Steve Gaydos (the director was eventually called Mitchell Haven, so at least the initials remained). “A lot of people contributed in the writing stage. As we were refining the script, the characters were called Steve and Monte. But then people started telling me things about me that I had no idea about, idiosyncrasies and mannerisms.” The jocular filmmaker also gave us a peek into an alternate reality where he‘s a much smaller, but no doubt more prolific worker. “I used to think I was a pretty good editor,” claims Hellman, who, after editing all his films, allowed the job to fall to first-timer Celine Amelson, “and that I would be hired to fix movies that were in trouble.”

“Road To Nowhere” is currently playing at the Village East.

This article is related to: Films, Interview, Monte Hellman, Road To Nowhere


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates