Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Gaspar Noé's List of 10 Favorite Films Makes Perfect, Terrifying Sense Gaspar Noé's List of 10 Favorite Films Makes Perfect, Terrifying Sense Jon Hamm Wants You to Know There's Hope for Don Draper After 'Mad Men' Jon Hamm Wants You to Know There's Hope for Don Draper After 'Mad Men' Women Fight Back at Cannes, From Megan Ellison to Emily Blunt Women Fight Back at Cannes, From Megan Ellison to Emily Blunt Of Time & Life: How 'Mad Men' Remade Television Of Time & Life: How 'Mad Men' Remade Television Nikki Finke Returns Nikki Finke Returns Cannes Goes Crazy for Jeremy Saulnier's Gruesome Neo-Nazis vs. Punks Horror 'Green Room' Cannes Goes Crazy for Jeremy Saulnier's Gruesome Neo-Nazis vs. Punks Horror 'Green Room' Cannes Festival Is Dominated by Two Hollywood Masters Cannes Festival Is Dominated by Two Hollywood Masters Top Ten Takeaways: Sequels Rule as Women Boost 'Pitch Perfect 2,' 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Also Strong Top Ten Takeaways: Sequels Rule as Women Boost 'Pitch Perfect 2,' 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Also Strong Cannes: Directors from Fincher to Scorsese Revisit Truffaut's Famous Interview with Hitchcock Cannes: Directors from Fincher to Scorsese Revisit Truffaut's Famous Interview with Hitchcock 'Pitch Perfect 2' Outperforms 'Mad Max: Fury Road'; 'Ultron' Is Now Top 2015 Release 'Pitch Perfect 2' Outperforms 'Mad Max: Fury Road'; 'Ultron' Is Now Top 2015 Release Kristen Stewart Re-Teams with Her 'Sils Maria' Director for Ghost Story Set in Fashion World Kristen Stewart Re-Teams with Her 'Sils Maria' Director for Ghost Story Set in Fashion World Watch: Netflix's Ted Sarandos Heckled at Cannes, Gets Weinstein on His Feet During Heated Debate (VIDEO) Watch: Netflix's Ted Sarandos Heckled at Cannes, Gets Weinstein on His Feet During Heated Debate (VIDEO) George Miller and DP John Seale Go Inside 'Mad Max: Fury Road': "It Was Like Being in a Video Game" George Miller and DP John Seale Go Inside 'Mad Max: Fury Road': "It Was Like Being in a Video Game" Natalie Portman's Passion Project 'Tale of Love and Darkness' Splits Cannes Critics Natalie Portman's Passion Project 'Tale of Love and Darkness' Splits Cannes Critics Cannes: 'Dogtooth' Director Yorgos Lanthimos Scores with Surreal, Macabre 'The Lobster' (Review and Roundup) Cannes: 'Dogtooth' Director Yorgos Lanthimos Scores with Surreal, Macabre 'The Lobster' (Review and Roundup) Weinstein Co. Offers Strong Slate at Cannes Weinstein Co. Offers Strong Slate at Cannes 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Auteur George Miller Does It His Way, No Matter How Long It Takes 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Auteur George Miller Does It His Way, No Matter How Long It Takes The Top 20 Episodes of 'Mad Men' The Top 20 Episodes of 'Mad Men' How the 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Score Paid Homage to Hitchcock's 'Vertigo' How the 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Score Paid Homage to Hitchcock's 'Vertigo' Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A)

Toronto Watch: Burn After Reading Press Conference

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood September 7, 2008 at 8:04AM

The Coens amuse me. So do their press conferences. They perform a little tap dance with journalists, who after all are trying to write something about their movie. Saturday's Burn After Reading press conference wasn’t as jammed and enthusiastic as you might expect with Brad Pitt there.
0

Burndscn2867The Coens amuse me. So do their press conferences. They perform a little tap dance with journalists, who after all are trying to write something about their movie. Saturday's Burn After Reading press conference wasn’t as jammed and enthusiastic as you might expect with Brad Pitt there.

One reporter asked about the film’s “pessimistic feeling about human nature,” and its “empty, vacuous, self-serving” characters.

“It sounds like it,” responded Joel Coen.

“Yeah, umhum, I’m not even sure, it’s an undertone,” added Ethan. “They’re pretty terrible...A lot of our movies are about dolts and knuckleheads. If everybody knows what it is they are doing and is on top of things, what's going to happen that's interesting or fun or surprising?"

“We sorta wanted to do a spy movie,” continued Joel, “but it didn’t turn out that way. I don’t think it is a spy movie. That was more of the original idea. Like most of our stuff, it’s about these particular characters. We had in our minds vague references to characters, not a specific lampoon of anything."

Toronto_burnbefore

Who exactly?

“In a vague way, thinking about Fran [McDormand] and her plastic surgery, Linda Tripp,” said Joel. “And Donald Rumsfeld.”

“You really have to stop,” cautioned Pitt, who has his act down too. Keep it short and sweet. Like a politician. Less is more. After knocking on the Coens' door for a few years, he was "happy when they called," he said, "until I read the piece."

And who inspired his character (a cheery, well-intentioned fitness instructor who blunders into a dangerous game)?

“That was all me in a finer day," he replied. "I really don’t know. It’s a mystery to me. I am somewhat disturbed by it all. My other half's [Angelina Jolie] disturbed by it as well. This idea of assuming a certain situation would go a certain way and doesn’t, not understanding the other realm of possibilities."


He's been investing in more American characters lately, Pitt said. "I feel like I've been doing comedies for years. Maybe they weren't so funny." He called David Fincher's upcoming The Curious Case of Benjamin Button a "bit of a love letter to New Orleans, to family and the people who make dents in your lives along the way."

Pitt and Swinton traded quips on who gets to work more with George Clooney, her co-star in Michael Clayton. “I am one day going to be in a film where we say one nice thing to each other,” she said. Next, she romances Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. They also competed for who would have the most ridiculous hair on the movie. "We were all going for the Javier Bardem prize," said Swinton. "You might have won, Brad." He nodded.

Clooney didn't show for Toronto but the Coens did tell one story about wanting to show him a prototype for a provocative sex machine he constructs in the movie. Did he want to check it out at the Museum of Sex at 23rd and Madison in Manhattan? "All I need," Clooney responded, "is to be seen coming out of the Museum of Sex."

Swinton, Pitt and Malkovich praised the Coens for their tight, perfect screenplay, which gave them more than enough to play with, inside the lines. Malkovich enjoyed especially, he admitted, dropping more than one "F-bomb, an expressive that can mean anything, or nothing, and everything in between."

At the post-gala Burn After Reading soiree Friday night, Pitt was surrounded by hordes of women in black. I asked Swinton about her recent film festival at her home in Scotland. She wants to do another, but there were local protests, apparently, so she wants to do the next one in Beijing. Sign me up, I said.

[Originally appeared on Variety.com]

This article is related to: Festivals, Toronto


E-Mail Updates






Festivals on TOH