What have you been up to? We haven't had a movie from you in so long.
It's hard to make films that are $10-$20 million films these days. Everybody wants to make "The Hobbit" or these films that cost between $100-$200 million, but they have the chance to make a billion dollars. But I just finished a script and the producer likes it. So we're going to go out with some actors with it. I have some high hopes but anything can happen. A couple of things fell through. One thing fell through because of rights, this Elmore Leonard book that I was supposed to direct and adapt and it got hung up in the legal department.
What Elmore Leonard novel?
It's called "Maximum Bob." Great book, would have made a great film. But it is hopelessly stuck in the legal department.
You don't get enough credit for directing "Ghost World," one of the all-time great comic book movies. Have you ever been approached to do something bigger?
Oh yes, I've been approached to do all sorts of nonsense. How about a remake of "West Side Story"? They wanted me to remake [Budd Townsend's] "Alice in Wonderland," which was a big hit in the early '70s. It was one of the first soft-core porns that was distributed by a major studio. 20th Century Fox put it out and it ended up making $100 million. But it's ridiculously unwatchable today. They wanted to remake it as a 3D musical and they wanted me to direct it. I said, "I'd like to take your money but I really have no interest." But I wish I did. I wish I could take the paycheck and go home.
What was the most ridiculous thing that you were the closest to sign on to?
You know, I got the script for "Juno." And my producer who I had worked with on "Ghost World" called me and said, "I've got this really hot script I want to send it to you." And the same week I got a call that same week from somebody else that said they were sending me this really hot script in Hollywood that was written by a 12-year-old girl. And I said, "Well, what's it about?" And they said, "It's a coming-of-age story." So I said, "Yeah, okay, whatever." So a couple days later I got this script called "Juno" and since I saw the name Diablo Cody I thought, "Well, this must be the 12-year-old girl." Who else would have a name like that, right? And I read it and thought, "Well this is pretty good for a 12-year-old girl trying to imitate 'Ghost World.' " So I told my producer, who went on to do it, "This is a retarded version of 'Ghost World.' I can't do it. I can't stomach it. Sorry."