Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: First Trailer For Tim Burton's 'Big  Eyes' Starring Amy Adams And Christoph Waltz Watch: First Trailer For Tim Burton's 'Big Eyes' Starring Amy Adams And Christoph Waltz 'Deadpool’ Spin-Off With Ryan Reynolds Is Finally Green Lit, Set For A Winter 2016 Release Date 'Deadpool’ Spin-Off With Ryan Reynolds Is Finally Green Lit, Set For A Winter 2016 Release Date 10 Films We Haven’t Yet Seen That May Be Serious Oscar Contenders 10 Films We Haven’t Yet Seen That May Be Serious Oscar Contenders David Fincher Says He Shouldn't Have Directed 'The Game,' Dislikes Superhero Movies & Talks "Crazy" '20,000 Leagues' David Fincher Says He Shouldn't Have Directed 'The Game,' Dislikes Superhero Movies & Talks "Crazy" '20,000 Leagues' Matt Damon & Paul Greengrass Are Returning To The 'Bourne' Series Matt Damon & Paul Greengrass Are Returning To The 'Bourne' Series First Look: Angelina Jolie And Brad Pitt In 'By The Sea' First Look: Angelina Jolie And Brad Pitt In 'By The Sea' The Best, Worst And Most Disappointing Films Of The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival The Best, Worst And Most Disappointing Films Of The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival David Fincher Says Differences Over Casting And Disney's Corporate Culture Stalled '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' David Fincher Says Differences Over Casting And Disney's Corporate Culture Stalled '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 5, Episode 2 ‘The Good Listener’ Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 5, Episode 2 ‘The Good Listener’ Review: 'No Good Deed' Starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson Review: 'No Good Deed' Starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson Watch: Shailene Woodley Gets NSFW In 2 Clips From 'White Bird In A Blizzard' Plus New Pics Watch: Shailene Woodley Gets NSFW In 2 Clips From 'White Bird In A Blizzard' Plus New Pics TIFF Review: 'Cake' Starring Jennifer Aniston, Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington & More TIFF Review: 'Cake' Starring Jennifer Aniston, Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington & More Tom Hardy Says He'll Never Do Another Romantic Comedy Again Thanks To 'This Means War' Tom Hardy Says He'll Never Do Another Romantic Comedy Again Thanks To 'This Means War' David Fincher Apparently Thinks 'Dragon Tattoo' Sequel 'The Girl Who Played With Fire' Could Get Made David Fincher Apparently Thinks 'Dragon Tattoo' Sequel 'The Girl Who Played With Fire' Could Get Made The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

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