I did a guest thing on 'My Name Is Earl,' and there is something about being involved in a TV show that's in the midst of its popularity that frees up the creative process.
I cooked a little bit in my first movie; I did a movie called 'Made.' For the little kid in the movie, I do a scene where I'm preparing a pasta puttanesca. I always loved watching that scene.
I find that people... very few people think that what they're doing is bad, and usually the people who think what they're doing is bad it has more to do with guilt.
I like happy endings in movies. I think life has a happy ending. When it's all said and done, it's all something worthwhile, and I want my movies to reflect that. There are enough things to be sad about. When you pop in a movie, let the message be one that's one of hope.
Christopher Nolan's 'Batman Begins' set the bar very high for the superhero movie, as it showed that you could get a great cast for these movies and take a real filmmaker's perspective.
When Ron Howard does 'Rush,' he has to learn and steep himself in F1 culture and European racing culture, and that's part of the fun of the gig. You learn to learn. Your real skill as a director is being a learner and an observer. You're constantly learning another thing in context.
I was 22 and had worked on Wall Street for a year, and quit my job. I bought a motorcycle and sort of had this fantasy that I'd go cross-country like 'Easy Rider.' I went from New York to L.A., and on the way back, I stopped in Chicago and saw a friend of mine who was into improv. And I figured it might be fun to give it a shot.
When Iron Man's flying, we'd send real planes up to do the choreography so that we'd get the camerawork to really look like a cameraman was following from another plane. It gives it that 'Top Gun' look.
You can't make a movie about making movies - it's boring.
I love 'Star Wars,' you know, and I can't remember the last story meeting I've been in where 'Star Wars' wasn't referenced. It's so perfect in so many ways.
When you're going for a big studio comedy, the joke tally better be pretty high, and you better have some big comedy set pieces. That was one of the issues when I was trying to get 'Swingers' made for the first time, which is that there weren't any broad comedy set pieces.
Of course I danced a lot when I was making 'Swingers.' The swing music scene was big in Hollywood, and I went to places like The Derby. And, after I wrote it and was trying to get it made, I would go every week so I'd be good at dancing.
I've hit a point where my big luxury is getting to work on the things I want to work on. That's my hobby. It's being able to do a movie like 'Chef,' where you don't get paid, where you get paid scale, but you get to do exactly the movie you want to do. To me, that's worth more to me than whatever money I would have gotten paid.
I don't think I'm egotistical as much as I'm taking responsibility for what I'm putting out there.
I'm a pretty early adopter of social media. There's a whole subculture to it. I'm smart enough not to tweet things out of emotion.
I've always wanted to call the shots because I would rather fail than not have a chance to figure it out on my own.
For me, I love food. It's my greatest pleasure and also the thing that could ruin you as well. It's one of those things where, if you're not thoughtful about it, it could be unhealthy. But if there's a mindfulness about it; it actually is a wonderful tool of emotional expression.
When I'm working with improv people, I give them the green light to just bring it and try things.
At the end of the day, it seems like there's a critic archetype for food movies, like with 'Ratatouille' or anything. You know, if you were doing a puppet show about chefs, one puppet would be the chef, one would be the critic.
I've cut myself out... I've cut scenes out that I was in and that's when you realize that you've got to make the best movie you can.
Comic Con has become a very relevant venue for all films.
Half the people think I write Obama's speeches; the other half think I'm on 'Entourage.' So I'm at the level of fame where people kind of know who I am, but they confuse me with other people.
I don't want to be an art-house movie guy, where people who go to film school can discuss your work, but people who haven't studied cinema can't appreciate it. By the same token, I don't want to be the guy who's making this commercial pap that people lap up but that disappears the minute you leave the theater.
If you're going to be an R already, you may as well be 'The Hangover,' and you may as well be as shocking as possible, because that's what delivers the most return.
I like reading reviews. If they're clearly hating on you, I try not to read that deeply. But if they really are trying to understand, it's interesting.
I think that part of the reason that 'Iron Man' was so successful was that we really chose to break new ground in a new area tonally, cast wise, the way we depict the hero, what his abilities are. It felt fresh in a genre that is beginning to feel stale if it's not done with the proper amount of inspiration and a strong voice or tone.
Acting is the most fun. I like to do it and it's great that I can still do that, but you know, you don't really have a lot of control over things, so it's real hit or miss.
I've been fascinated by the world ever since I read 'Kitchen Confidential' by Anthony Bourdain. I've watched 'Top Chef' and watched interviews with chefs on 'Charlie Rose'... I thought they're really intriguing characters, and they really encapsulate that tension between vision and commerce, art and commerce.
A thoughtful piece of criticism by somebody who understands the context of what you are doing is a tremendous gift and honor to read, even if they don't completely embrace your work.
Back to the painting of the Sistine Chapel, there's always been run-ins between benefactors and artists.
I'm a very lazy person by nature. I have to be really engaged, and then I go straight from lazy to obsessive. I couldn't study chemistry, but I could memorize all the books for Dungeons and Dragons. It was ridiculous. The trick is to find what I like to do.
Everybody loves a hit. There is nothing as fun as making a cultural splash with a movie.
I don't 'handle' people. It's so much easier to manipulate actors than to really have an earnest discussion with them. It's very easy to say whatever's going to appease them and then turn around and do whatever you want to do. It's difficult to be forthright with people, because the job does not lend itself to that.
I was the worst extra, I was 'that' guy. I was the guy on the phone trying to get the Oscar for best extra - for best background performance.
I think that anything that leads to creativity and good work is good.
The irony is that the more unapologetically sexist men are in movies, the more women tend to be attracted to them in person.
Thankfully, I have a background as an actor, and you learn how to live in that world of not knowing what's going to happen next.
I wanted to be a New York City firefighter. I didn't make it in, though.
It's great to be able to connect parents with children both emotionally and through humor. I look forward to exploring family entertainment once again and examining the specifics of our day-to-day lives against the backdrop of an extraordinary adventure.
Unfortunately, we are not painters and authors, where we can do something in isolation. We require a lot of money to create what we create. It's almost like being an architect: You can't be an architect and build whatever buildings you want to.
I think the bigger the movie is, the harder it is to maintain the idea of an auteur. You're servicing something beyond just your own vision. Whenever there's a lot of money on the line, it is your responsibility to make sure that you're doing your best to have people not lose their money and to actually win by betting on it.
I can't begin to tell you how fulfilling the perennial nature of 'Elf' on television has been for me. It's great to be able to connect parents with children both emotionally and through humor.
I've always been fascinated by chefs and the worlds of chefs - what they do is incredibly cinematic.
There is no free lunch, so if you're playing with the big train set - on big movies - it's a lot of money they're entrusting you with, and you have to get that money back for them. I don't take that responsibility lightly.
For a movie - any movie - to work, all the bread has to fall jelly side up; everything has to go right. You have to hit the zeitgeist.
I like a naturalism to my dialogue and my comedy. I would rather have a few jokes sail by that might be more subtle than have every single joke hit hard. I would rather the comedy come out of character as opposed to feeling forced. Even if you're giving some laughs up for it.
There's a lot of real estate in our brain dedicated to facial recognition and to physics. That takes a lot of processing power out of our brain.
You show people playing poker or hacking into a computer; it feels so significant in the script, and then when you see it on the screen, it loses something. But there's something about cooking - food being prepared is incredibly captivating. It became just a fun box of tools to use as a director.
Between the theme parks and the movies, the Disney iconography was probably the first set of archetypes that I was exposed to. Walt was able to expose me as a child to the full array of emotions, including fear and sorrow. Those movies and attractions haunted my dreams and made a deep impression on me as a child.
Especially in the food business, critics take very seriously how much power they have. They can shut a restaurant down.
The ultimate storyteller is Shakespeare, who was able to get the 'groundlings' to laugh at his bawdy humor and storylines but could still be studied by scholars to this day for the complexity of his language, meter, and symbolism. That's the real guy.
For something to be profitable doesn't necessarily mean it's the best thing in the world for the director. You judge a movie by different standards - I've worked on comedies, and now I've worked on superhero movies, and the reviews are almost parenthetical in both of those genres.
'Made' is about opening your heart to people who deserve your love and not trying to turn other people into something that they're not: not trying to save people who don't want to be saved. If you go down that dark path, you're not going to end up doing any good.
I think what is nice about 'Elf,' and why it doesn't play as one long sketch, is that the character actually grows up during the course of the film. It's not just a character that you can keep checking in on and keep doing sketches about. It's a story. I'm pretty proud of how we told it.
David Anspaugh, who was my first director, on 'Rudy,' was all about empowering the actor, making you feel comfortable and appreciated, allowing you to keep your dignity, and treating you like a man. Being treated like a grown-up makes you proud to be involved in a film.
I'll basically eat anything that a chef puts in front of me. One of the reasons is respect for the chef. I watch chefs eat at other chefs' restaurants, and they're very aware not to leave anything over because the chef is watching very closely. It's a very sincere interaction when two chefs are cooking for one another.
There is nothing as fun as making a cultural splash with a movie. Sometimes the splash happens, like with 'Swingers,' where it sort of slowly ripples out, yet everybody could quote it. Or it could be something like 'Elf,' where you just make a big splash right off the bat when the movie comes out.
What's fun about chefs is that they're big guys, often, and they might not look like the most athletic people, but they're very powerful people, and they have tremendous stamina... It takes a toll on their body, too.
People look at Marvel movies as epic in scope, but if you look back at the comics, you realise that Marvel heroes were often a reaction to the square-jawed DC characters like Superman, who were flawless and beyond reproach.
Get the shading right, the lighting right, and there are things you can do to make the CGI look more real. People end up going crazy and give themselves a little too much freedom in how they use CGI, and if you overuse it, it draws attention to itself.
I want to make sure everyone's having a good time because when I ask you to come to my movie, I'm throwing a party for you. I want you to enjoy it.
There's a nostalgic aspect to the 'Iron Man' franchise for me.
If you look at the mythology of aliens, there's a lot about gold. It's about them coming for gold; whether that's a simplification or not. If you think of 'Chariot of the Gods,' there's this reoccurring theme of gold.
I've been in the service industry. I've bar-tended. I've waited tables, and I've worked at pizza places; I've made pizza. I've had a lot of jobs, and many of them were in the food service industry.
To see talented people in roles that others might not see them in, to see how they might fit in the puzzle of the cast, has always been something that I've been good at. I think that if you look at the successes of my films and start to peel them back, there's usually a really smart casting decision that has gone into that success.
Ever since I read 'Kitchen Confidential,' I saw a little light bulb go off. Being a chef is like being on a pirate ship; it's not like 'Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?' or whatever my impression was as I was growing up.
You don't get to see your family much. In the movie business, directors often go out of town for long periods of time, and even if you're in town, you're working 14-15 hour days. People tend to not balance out the important things in their lives with their career.
Hopefully we'll figure out how to get 'Iron Man 2' going, and I'll be involved with that. You have got to outdo what you did before. So, if the last one took two years, we would need at least that to do what we are talking about or, at least, thinking about.
The title's 'Cowboys & Aliens,' so you can get away with a lot if you chose to. You could make it the union of Cowboys Movies and Alien Movies and done whatever was convenient at any given moment. I think that's what most people would do, especially if you went broader and more comedic. Do whatever's the most fun in the moment.
I think what's fun about the Western genre is the character arcs are very strong and, arguably, more interesting and exciting than the action that is metaphorically representational of those arcs.
I'm not on chef level, but I'd make a good line cook. That's not too shabby.
'King Kong,' especially the first two acts of it, is a really good example of the use of miniatures mixed with digital characters and how convincing it was.
You have to find something that you have to obsess over if you're making a movie about it. As a director, you have to be able to pick something that excites you enough that you can breathe it every day.
When it comes to celebrities and tabloids, to me that is a bummer. That's a little disappointing. And it is amazing how things really get made. I always used to think that where there is smoke there is fire, and now I see stories pop up out of nowhere with no basis in reality.
I don't have a lot of patience for movies that aren't cleanly told.
Movies like 'Chef' are not really box-office monsters in the summertime and don't really fit into Hollywood's business model any longer. Even if 'Chef' is successful, it will be successful in the context of what it is. There's a limited upside to a film that's so small, but there's also limited exposure for the people who backed me.
For years, I was watching other people have so much fun playing out their version of authorship, like Louis C.K. and Larry David. As I watched them do their thing, I began to pine for the days when I had a lot less expected of me and, often, a lot more creative freedom. The courage that those guys have is always captivating to me.
I think 'Chef' is about somebody who's in the middle of his life, and he's kind of lost his passion and his voice, so he seeks out some refinement and redemption.
I know that when I watch TV, I want to be transformed and transported, not just by the characters that I grow to love over the hours and seasons of watching but also the world that it plants me into.
People think bigger movies are bad, and that's just not true - there's bad big films, and there's bad little ones. The bad big ones have to make their money back, so they'll push them down your throat, but the little ones just disappear if they're bad.
You have an hour and a half or two hours - maybe two and a half hours - in a movie, and it has to be a self-contained three-act structure. It's like a rock and roll song. Certain things have to happen for it to be a toe-tapper and get people excited, leaving the theater.
Once you buy into a television show, there doesn't have to be resolution from week to week. You can develop characters and storylines and react to the audience, so you get more of a serialized version of storytelling where you can go much deeper into each character. It's more like a novel.
Online theft has changed the business model of filmmaking because the DVD market is very soft. So, more ambitious, compelling, character-driven narrative of a certain budget level isn't really a viable business model in the eyes of the studios right now.
Scorsese's been a hero of mine since I was young. If you saw 'Swingers,' you know I was definitely fixated on his body of work.
I remember the first script I wrote after 'Swingers' was a Western, and I just couldn't get it made.
I remember watching the 'Iron Man' cartoons when I was younger. I remember reading the origin stories and some of the Silver Age stuff, and I read 'The Avengers' - 'The Defenders' and then 'The Avengers' - and that sort of brought me into 'Iron Man.'
I just adored 'Shaun Of The Dead.' That's a true mashup. That's a real Romero-era zombie movie and a real Gen X indie comedy. That was before zombie movies were cool, before 'Zombieland' and 'I Am Legend,' and now it has become a whole sub-genre.
I'm of a generation of director that came up understanding special effects.
I don't know that a movie like 'Daredevil' did better for having Ben Affleck then 'Spider-Man' did having Tobey Maguire, who was a relative unknown at the time.