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Gus Vant Sant: Exclusive Interview

Interview by Clint Morris

Interview with director Gus Van Sant
Directed the movie Gerry.

He has directed some of today’s finest, but most incongruent movies – My Own Private Idaho, To Die For, Good Will Hunting, Elephant – and now Gus Van Sant returns with another film determined to break the cinematic mould, Gerry. Clint Morris talks to the illustrious director about the new film, as well as his plans to remake Psycho – again.

Gus Vant Sant: Exclusive Interview

A third remake of Psycho?
Van Sant is very interested

Van Sant’s renowned for forming movie ideas on the spot, but he says he can’t take all the credit for this latest film.

“It’s something I got involved in by just talking to Matt (Damon) and Casey (Affleck) one night. We just decided to give it a try.

“Matt’s great, and I’ve got to know Casey quite well – we live next door to each other in New York. We all wrote it. Matt and Casey wrote like all the dialogue and I worked on the structure.”

Gerry tells the story of two men, both called Gerry (Damon and Affleck, younger brother of Ben), who visit a national park searching for 'the thing'. They get lost.

Gerry (Affleck) gets stuck on top of a rock but jumps down. They walk until they find themselves dehydrating in a desert. And apart from a last-minute dramatic event, that's it.

Van Sant says he hasn’t made a film as low-budget and as art-housey as this in quite some time. “I actually haven’t done a film on this scale since My Own Private Idaho, which was 10 years ago. There’s probably less pressure, and not as much need for it to make a lot of money. I like to work on limitations.”

Van Sant’s speaking of course about Psycho, the highly panned remake he did for Universal. Despite the battering it got, the director says he feels he did the best job he could with the film. “I’m happy with all my films. Psycho was great, a huge kind of grand experiment project. Very trial-by-fire. It met with a lot of criticism – but we managed to keep afloat, I think we broke even.”

Would he ever want to remake something as classic again? “I wouldn’t remake another movie again, however, I’m thinking of remaking Psycho again. Doing a third remake.

“The idea this time is to really change it – we’re talking about doing a punk rocker setting. Viggo Mortensen suggested it. He knows all the right people to get involved – all the right punk rockers etcetera – so he would definitely be involved if we go ahead.”

Van Sant says it might never happen though – there’s many films over the years that he’s wanted to do that just didn’t get off the ground. “There have been films that have just fallen apart. We were in pre-production on the John Travolta picture Standing Room Only and it came apart – financially it was a bit shaky. We’ll possibly do that again sometime.”

Is any of this an indication that Hollywood isn’t doing big guns at the moment? “Yeah. It’s not healthy. There are all these big companies with divisions who just want to make ‘simpler’ movies. They seem to think that families love the action movie, so that just seems to be everything that they make, action.”

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