The Carroll News: “Brick” was filmed on a much lower budget than “Looper.” What do you think of writing and directing a film this large, and would you want to get back to independent films, where you once wanted to stay?
Rian Johnson: It’s interesting because, [with] “Looper,” we didn’t make it with Sony – they picked it up after. We made it independently; it was made with the same setup as “Bloom” and “Brick,” and we had to talk with our financiers about the budget of the film. The experience was much more like making an indie film, which was nice, but the bump up in budget was really nice; “Brick” had a smaller audience and had less resources, which cost lest money. [For] “Looper” it makes sense to have a bigger budget, and it is the filmmakers’ responsibility, because you have to know how much this movie should be made for; but I would love to work with more studios.
CN: How has making this film enhanced your directing skills?
RJ: You learn so, so much with everything you make, and that’s true whether it’s a feature or a short. There is always a learning curve. This specifically, I rewrote and tried to get it as clear as possible; and directing-wise, you just constantly grow and come into each process with your eyes open, instead of laying down the law and telling people, “This is how we are going to do this movie.” Coming in ready to learn from our talent is so important, and I learned so much working from this group of actors. It was sort of like going to film school. It’s weird answering over the phone because you don’t get the smile and nod (laughs).
CN: There was a quote from you saying you had the entire movie in your head frame-to-frame. Did the final product turn out how you envisioned it?
RJ: There was just one frame, [frame] 2,398, that was just a little to the right, and I’ll never get over it! It’s pretty inaccurate. You have a vision of the movie in your head when you want to make it. But then that all changes when you get on set. You have to be ready to roll with the punches and what all these talented people bring to the table. You also have to look at how the actors are playing the scene and be open to catching something new. You can’t just say, “This is the way I planned it.” You have to be able to say, “Ok, well, let’s work with this.”