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Watch: 1-Hour Roundtable With Spike Jonze, Steve McQueen, Paul Greengrass, Nicole Holofcener & More

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist January 3, 2014 at 1:02PM

With the awards season now in the final stretch before the nominees turn into winners, there's still some campaigning to do and talks to be had and the latest comes from the LA Times as part of their Envelope Screening Series.
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LA Times Director's Roundtable

With the awards season now in the final stretch before the nominees turn into winners, there's still some campaigning to do and talks to be had, and the latest comes from the LA Times as part of their Envelope Screening Series.

This time around, click and sit back to watch a hour discussion unfold between directorial contenders John Lee Hancock (“Saving Mr. Banks”), J.C. Chandor (“All Is Lost”), Nicole Holofcener (“Enough Said”), Paul Greengrass (“Captain Phillips”), Spike Jonze (“Her”) and Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”). From their early influences, casting, taking criticism and much more, as you might expect, this one is wide ranging. 

There's some pretty interesting tidbits too, including Jonze elaborating on a project he tried to make prior to "Being John Malkovich." "The worst failures are when you fail yourself, you fail your [original] intention," he said. "I've come to realize success to me is, 'How close did I get to that original feeling that I started with?' The initial feeling that set me in motion that makes you have to do something."

​The "Her" director then shared a story about his first would-be film that fell apart and went unproduced, an adaptation of Crockett Johnson's "Harold & The Purple Crayon." Jonze worked on the movie for a year and half, but said by that time the vision of the movie had veered off course from its original aims, due to studio notes and interference.

"I wanted it to be almost like this silent animation, going back and forth between live action and animation," he said, but after 18 months it had transformed into something else. "When we finally got the plug pulled I got this amazing sense of relief." Jonze and his team took a giant 6-foot Purple Crayon replica that was made during development and pitched it off a six story roof in downtown Los Angeles in an anti-form of celebration. 

"We watched it shatter and I was just so relieved. And I realized over the course of a year and a half, I'd let the studio anxiety—'It's gotta be funny,' 'It's gotta have snappier dialogue,' 'This is too sad,' 'This is too melancholy'—and it happened millimeter by millimeter. A year and a half later I realized this is so far away from what I originally wanted to do."

As always, it's the kind of stuff that goes deeper than your average EPK and it's worth a look. Watch below.

This article is related to: John Lee Hancock, Spike Jonze, Steve McQueen, Paul Greengrass, Nicole Holofcener, J.C. Chandor


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