“The films here are abouttrying to figure out howyou belong in aworldwhere you no longer belong

inclusion of the cast and crew into account when determining whether a film is Oscar eligible. Do you think they’re a good idea? LEE To tell you the truth, I don’t understand the rules. I’m not saying they shouldn’t be there, but is there a number? … I mean, so, if you have two Black PAs that means you’re eligible. What position are we talking about? I’m not trying to be funny, but I just don’t understand. Maybe I’m glad that somebody with the Academy will tell me like, “How does this thing work?” KING In theory, it sounds like a great idea to give opportunity to people who don’t get the opportunity, who continuously get overlooked, but then there’s also, how do you fulfill those requirements when you’re shooting in Iceland? And there’s a very specific relationship between white and Black people in America, just because of the history of Black people coming to America and how we got here, but when you talk about inclusivity, we’re talking about more than just Black people, we’re talking about women, we’re talking about how you identify as a gender. So I don’t know how all of that plays in the rules. LEE In my opinion, you rectify this by having those people in the room that I call the gatekeepers. The gatekeepers are the ones that decide what film’s getting made and what film doesn’t get made, not the Academy. You have to go to that high, rarefied air of the people who have greenlight votes at studios and networks. They’re the ones that have the power, and that’s where I love my man Lin-Manuel [Miranda, creator of Hamilton, for which he wrote the song “The Room Where It Happens”]. You’ve got to be in the room. If we’re not in the room, they’re shit out of luck. ZHAO I want to give a shoutout to my professor Spike here, because change takes time. I spend a lot of time on a reservation in South Dakota. There is quick change — people come in and donate a lot of stuff and leave — but … real change takes time, sustainable change takes time, and you’ve got to build from the ground up, and Spike dedicated so much of his years teaching at NYU. It’s about education as well. It’s about building from the ground up, and that’s going to take another generation to see results. But those results are the most important ones. For those who don’t know, Chloé was Spike’s student at NYU. “Professor” is not something she’s just saying to be nice. LEE I’m very proud of her. CLOONEY In fairness, though, Spike does make us all call him “professor.” Between the pandemic, the election, the explosion of the Black Lives Matter movement globally, this past year has been one of major cultural shifts. I’m curious which ones you think will have a lasting impact on the industry? CHUNG I just assume it’s not going to be something that we can quantify. My hope is that any time something like this happens, we take what’s good from it and we change. I read this article and I’ve been thinking about this a lot, is that we’re all in new terrain now and because of that, we’re all immigrants. And I just found that so interesting, because something that I’ve been thinking about so much with this film is, we’re all forming a new identity at each moment and yeah, we’ve gone through a lot of trauma this year, so let’s come out better and let’s really take good from this and build upon it and grow something new for us and for the next generation. GREENGRASS One of the things that struck me about all the films that’s representative of the directors here, they’re all about trying to figure out how you belong in a world where you no longer belong. I found that incredibly powerful and very moving, that seven different people are wrestling with the same dynamic, because I think this planet, this country has really been wrestling with that. I found something about that very reassuring, that it’s people looking to connect the way they’ve connected in the past, but the rules have all changed and the landscape has all changed. And so how do you go forward, and how do you embody the things that make you so fragile and so connected as a human being? How do you preserve that? It’s sitting in a dark theater with strangers watching something wondrous, or people traveling around landscapes that are fraught with violence and fear and horror. We were all in our own way exploring “Where do I belong?” What have you been watching or listening to for an escape during the pandemic? KINGAs far as taking you away, I’m still watching Golden Girls episodes. Musicwise, I’ve been listening to Tank and the Bangas, and the lead singer is this young woman who is just vibrant in her voice. Then I discovered a young woman who seems like Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald are both living in her body. This girl looks like she’s about 16 years old — this beautiful, precious baby — and all this power and emotion comes out. Her name is Samara Joy, and it brings me joy. LEE I’ve been in musical things … I was in my Rodgers and Hammerstein, Carousel, Oklahoma. The Sound of Music. What do people think directing is that it isn’t? GREENGRASS People think it’s easier [than it is]. A few years ago, my dad, who is about 95 now and was at sea all his life, so he was away quite a bit when I was young — anyway, I think it was Captain Phillips, we had a screening of Captain Phillips and I got up and made a little speech and I said, “As I get older, I realize that I’m my father’s son and actually directing is a little bit like going to sea, because you have a map called a script and you have a crew and you have a cargo and your job is to get the cargo to port safely on time, and you’ve got to deal with the weather and all the rest of it.” I thought it was a very pretty little speech. Afterward, my dad said to me, “What are you talking about?” He said, “I have worked properly hard work. It wasn’t like all that making movies stuff. That’s not a real job.” CLOONEY I have to say, Paul, it is funny to me too, though, because we’ll have these conversations sometimes and it will become like, “This was really hard.” They’ll ask me about being in the snow and they’ll be like, “Was it really hard for you as an actor?” And I’m like, “Yeah, it was hard.” But I used to cut tobacco for a living in Kentucky for $3.30 an hour, and I remember watching Lifestyles ofthe Rich and Famous. You remember that show with whatever his name was [Robin Leach], and they would always talk about how what they were doing was so hard, you hear some famous actor go, “God, it’s so hard. It’s so hard.” And I’m sitting here covered in tobacco juice going, “It’s not that fucking hard.”

Leave a Comment