tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg April 8, 2014 8:00pm-9:01pm EDT
have earned him a reputation for balancing mainstream appeal with creative ambition. he worked together with the screenwriter script -- scott burns. nhey bring their collaboratio to the theater. called "the library" written by scott burns and directed by steven soderbergh. let's begin at the beginning. how this began. there was an effort in hollywood to make a movie out of columbine. read a book and the know that stephen was reading it at the same time. even though nobody was interested to make it as a film, it was one part of the story i had not been aware of until i read the's book -- read dave's
book. i thought it could make a great play. >> you suggested that to steven soderbergh. >> i started writing it. deter we finished "sixe effects," i asked if he had an interest in a play. >> you directed a couple before. >> this is the third thing i have done. i wanted to do this one because it was tied into conversation ourt and i had had about primal need for stories. how we make sense of everything. think said to scott was, of what your life consists of. something happens to you, you tell somebody about it. theyhing happens to them, tell you about it. that is most of your life. danger ofbout the
putting the story -- replacing the story, giving it a priority over the truth in an effort to heal or transcend or whatever. >> everybody has their own motivator. >> we are all trying to figure out reasons to get up in the morning and keep going. that is fine. in this situation, these competing narratives create destructive debate within a community. i said yes because i thought, we for been preparing for this a long time. >> the larger point is what is truth? >> what is truth and what happens when people get trapped in their own narrative. what can we do to get outside of that? the empathy that requires. do we ever move closer to understanding? >> this is not related but at
the same time, has the idea -- bob woodward's technique for writing books -- he gets one person in the room and they tell him what they saw and heard. he uses that to get another person to say what he saw or they areause he thinks ready military story. you come up with a mosaic of the meeting. >> the question becomes -- everybody has a different motivation and agenda. some of the people may be driven by a certain ideology. at what point, if you are bob woodward, you are going on instinct about who will get primacy. that is tricky stuff. if you are off compass three degrees, you are way off. >> there are things in law school. i went to lusk will.
they will have somebody come in and explode the classroom and run out. this is a common technique. every buddy has to describe what happened. it is vastly different. people tell different things. was a redshirt or brown shirt? black slacks or can slacks? -- tan slacks? >> imagine a situation where your life is threatened and somebody is trying to get what you saw or heard. you are talking about a 16-year-old. who has other issues in her life besides that. . the shooting takes place in a high school library. there is a shooter who comes in. he has a motivation for doing that. becomes veryn
subjective for all the people who are affected. we don't learn for quite a while was driving the shooter. more importantly, there is an incident that happens -- i don't want to give away the play -- an incident that happened in the library and a girl who is wounded and survives. it is her journey afterwards. how does one get their truth told and listened to? when there are other people who were claiming rates amount -- great amounts of pain and suffering. >> i don't want to give away either. there is someone who is killed. >> several people. >> in different places. they have parents. their parents are invested in their child. that is their prism. >> absolutely.
in order to deal with an unspeakable tragedy, you have a parent who constructs a narrative that somehow makes this livable. narrativem is there -- >> the only way it softens the impact of the tragedy. >> the parent did not just show up. now how does this event integrate into that? >> everybody is affected by the way their life was before. police play a role, too. >> the media plays a role. live in a world with unfiltered content. put this in the context of media today. what do you believe?
in manyu have seen, outlets, you'd rather be first then right. this is the situation in which this is happening in a big way. the effect it has on the lead character is intense. >> what drove you to this? to want to do this theme? out of these conversations that scott and i would have about why we can't seem to solve more problems in the world. >> we see them differently. >> because of these competing narratives. >> i have thought is as important -- for negotiators. people like henry kissinger have said this. you have to begin by expressing what you want. you have to begin by communicating that to understand where they are coming from. they are getting a hearing within you as the world they
see. >> i think that is absolutely true. very much with the play is about. heart of the conversation that scott and i were having. you are talking about empathy. the one ability to understand why somebody is asking for what they are asking for. that is why when he brought the play to my attention, the idea that he was going to do it -- it seems these are things that run throughout the three films we have made together. it seemed in alignment with those. >> the detective tells caitlin we -- chloe grace -- the difference between what people said and which they said tends to grow. >> i think so. especially in a situation like this where there is trauma. >> it is interesting to bring another engine into this -- it
is said that president reagan would talk about the war in such graphic terms, but it was based on what he had done in los angeles. and that somehow what had actually happened and what he would describe -- >> -- had become fused. that doesn't surprise me. i know that seeing the television movie the day after was one of the reasons he idea of speaking with the soviets about disarmament. he was so affected by the movie, he said, we have to do something about this. >> he was an interesting guy. before those conversations with gorbachev, they would make movies about soviet history for him. morewas the way he learned than reading a lot of books.
>> wish i could've made those. >> we both read the nicholson baker book. big had he been -- a influence. >> it was about all the stories that i was unaware about the second world war. an alternative history we were not taught. there is a narrative drift that occurs after an event that exists mainly because it suits somebody's agenda. more -- morph.o >> creating a theater piece. how you used music -- the darkness of the space. speaking to place. >> direct address. was to try and make
this as visual as possible. bring whatever tools i could from the other job into the theater. editing thate of you don't typically see in a theater piece. >> how do you edit a theater piece? >> i think you will someday get a look at that. because i wanted it to be to --ss and i wanted it as we talked about, the biggest difference between the job we did before the job we are doing now -- >> in terms of movies versus plays. >> how do you created close-up? with the movie, you just go there. onstage, you have to direct everybody's attention to that read >> how do you do that? of compositionn
and lighting. staging. what i knew i didn't want to do was make a piece that was representational. going into a medium in which would be boring to me. that couch look like a real couch. i do that when i make a movie. the number of scenes within the play required me to be able to be able to change location to in an instant . the only way to do that is to create an abstract space in which light and composition are your way of transporting people. >> apparently i did. >> he was on the show. >> i was going strictly on -- talking about stories -- i had never seen his exhibits. but i heard people describe them.
i was going off what people had described to me. but i have no idea if it is like that or not. >> have you found out? >> now i am like, i'm definitely not seen one of his exhibits. this camelear that out of your imagination. >> what i am appropriating from him and what we both believe is that light is an emotional thing. we have an emotional response to light. the quality of light, the intensity. when you use two different colors. it is a very efficient way to affect people. >> do you use like to accentuate the sound of gunfire? >> yes. >> you use dark a lot. >> is a moody piece. there have been complaints. i think it is kind of -- we are
up to something different. >> you said to me, it will be a different play by the time it opens. >> this is a big difference between film. always -- steven has included me on the post process. the post process gets advanced into the preview process in a play. there's no post process. youediting and the sound, have the opportunity to look at it and say, that line did not work. we are getting a laugh and we don't want a lap. -- laugh. normally you can cut it in the editing room. we have to cut it out in previews and see the next night if it worked. it is hard. is thed said it difference between skiing and surfing. when you ski, the mountain does not move. with surfing, the mountain
moves. everything moves. it is a more fluid process. to write is different for theater? >> i hope i have an answer by the time i am done. i think, again, a lot of it goes to not having a camera. there are opportunities in a screenplay where somebody does not need to say something because you know you can push in on them and capture their a motion. ane there is a -- opportunity for people to verbalize things that they could normally express or the camera could help them express. or editorial could help them express. >> even though you have done this before? do you come away with a different sense of the power of theater? >> absolutely. think forgetting about the
fact that people cannot steal it whenich i really like -- you talk about empathy, there is a connectivity between the performers and the audience in a live situation that is unique. very electric. very satisfying. parks and can change from night to night. >> it really does. ourre pieces about story -- piece is about storytelling. >> their life is different based on what happened on the way to work that day. >> the audience is a huge part of it. there is a feeling before the play even starts that is palpable. the difference of between a matinee audience on a sunday and a friday night audience.
they have started a process before the play is going on. i don't think we are ruining anything by saying, there is someone on stage when they walk into the door. that immediately begins a sort of interaction that is interesting to witness. >> no curtain. >> no. >> you walk in -- >> and their somebody on stage -- there is somebody on stage. >> you have gone through, on this program, a conversation about your life. i was stunned because you talked about leaving filmmaking. how did that work? to my mind, ast, normal evolutionary process. it only became public when a friend of mine who shall remain nameless but whose initials are matt damon gave an interview
that got some traction. start just time for me to doing other things. they can about other things. things.ing about other i would never say never. it just became clear to me, i have to go off and try other stuff. >> i thought katie was one was oneity -- painting possibility. >> i started, but the next -- then i started doing a 10 hour tv show. is it ais it called -- drama? >> for the most part. mayhem. medicine in 1900. interesting stuff. >> have you seen this evolution in him? >> i have seen him through the course of doing the movies and
the play. ven try to findcv new ways to do things. it is not only dealing with the agents and producers. corrosivehave a effect on your enthusiasm for the endeavor. it is that part coupled with how many times can you come up with a new way to shoot an over the shoulder. and at what point do you want to try to do other things? which i think is great. >> what is your quiver and of that? >> -- what is your equivalent of that? >> writing a play or a book. each asks something else of you. allows you to find different things about yourself. what i found about the play was
it was a representation of the ongoing dialogue we had had about how people take turns telling each other stories. of large things like war. smaller things like relationships. i wanted to write something that was much or personal. -- more personal. a lot of the research was with a survivor of columbine. it was interesting to hear how the echoes of that experience effected your and -- her and all sorts of ways. >> i'm adapting a book by the washington post reporter colby the burglary.lled >> suppose somebody comes to see you today and says, i have a brilliant idea for theater. you agree. you say, let's do it. imebody comes in and says,
have a fabulous actor who wants to make a movie. would you write the screenplay? which would you choose? >> i feel stories choose me. to me, is almost involuntary. >> whether the story itself -- you can connect to it in a visceral way. >> or i can imagine a structure i haven't tried. ultimately, narrative starts to wear on you if it is always linear. you are trying to find a new way to tell a story. that can be by structure or by changing the form from a movie theater to a plate. -- play. >> do have a sense of the power of theater -- the capacity to change theater? find mye to of course way through it.
i'm not trained as a theater director. i understand directing and storytelling. i understand actors and composition. >> that will get you a long way. >> it would be stupid for me to go and do a revival of a shakespeare play. to do a straight piece of theater would be stupid. that is not my background. butnt to do other pieces, they have to be things i feel like what i bring to them is going to make them -- i'm going to make them better. i don't know what that is. >> the other reason is to look at it with a fresh eye. you haven't done that. your skills have been mostly employed in a different place. you may see your with a fresh ye, that givesrs ie you the possibility to use it in an interesting way. >> if i can be the idiot savant,
>> tilde swinton is here. swintons any -- tilda is here. she stars in a new movie about vampires. here is the trailer. inclusive isng only going to make people more interested in your music. >> what a drag. >> hello. what is it? you look tired. >> tell your wife what your problem is. >> is the way they treat the world. how they have succeeded in contaminating their own blood. vote --negative negatviivo. ♪ >> is very possibility of a
night flight to detroit? >> i love what you have done with the place. remember when you -- ♪ >> i had a dream. >> shouldn't she be sleeping in a coffin somewhere? >> i am really, really hungry. could use millivolt away from l.a.? all the you smell it way from l.a.? >> i am pretty lucky in love. if i may say so. man.w,
>> that certainly was visual. what is that? >> o negative. ildailde swinton -- t "tnton can also be seen in he grand budapest hotel." >> vampires in love. lovers and love who happen to be vampires. >> it is about mortality. >> it is about mortality and immortality, which tend to go together. rebooting your interest when you get fatigued. >> i believe in that idea. if you reboot yourself, you have to rather -- refresh yourself to make sure you have the energy to move forward. >> i would suggest you don't
have to be much older then 26 -- maybe 16. tell me whoeve, she is. >> she is 3000 years old. she has perspective. adam is young. musician in detroit. >> a genius. a proper, bona fide genius. eve is living with christopher marlowe in tangiers. >> he put out all of shakespeare's plays under the name of an actor. [laughter] life.e a long >> part of that life is having real conversations. wewill conversations,
wanted that. we wanted to show that. >> even if you don't like somebody, if you like them and find them interesting, you can find -- love them. filme first grain of the was a book, a wonderful book, mark's diaries of adam and eve. this was a book that jim was inspired by. he passed it to me. that was the first thing that sparked the interest in the couple. the curmudgeonly, grumpy adam. stomping around the garden, saying i have to name all the animals. she is a space cadet. and are completely unalike, yet they are a pair.
>> you have had those kinds of relationships three >> i am lucky. i really have. >> what about the vampire aspect? that is about to give the centuries of relationships? >> you are suggesting naming out really be vampires? >> i'm not suggesting anything. i want to see why jim wanted to make a movie with vampires. >> you will have to ask him. there isuggest something about vampires being outsiders, they are loners. they are outside. >> does that resonate with you? >> occasionally, when i am not sitting at this table. [laughter] but i am in very good company. i can tell you that. >> you do see yourself as a kind of -- outside the mainstream. posit there is more
than one mainstream. one man's mainstream is another's dirty little brook. [laughter] >> this is the third collaboration between you and jim. what is about it that is attractive to you? >> he is a friend of mine. that is a great help. i love his mind. i love the weight in which he makes a real cinema that is unique. thatirst jim jarmusch film i saw, stranger than paradise -- >> you love it. first american independent film made by an alien. >> don't you consider yourself something of an alien? >> who doesn't. all humans are aliens. >> this is the -- this is a lovely story i read about you.
somebody called you and said, we want you to give a lecture about cinema. you said, no thank you i am busy. says, as i remember, how did people do before there was cinema? >> this was a few years ago when my son was 8.5 years old. the san francisco film festival. they ask someone to give the state of cinema address. when they ask me, i assumed they wanted somebody to talk about the industry or fiscal reports. >> no interest -- >> i certainly can't give that lecture. i was on the verge of saying, impossible. then i said good night to my son. >> how old was he?
>> about eight and a half. he asked me this question. what were dreams like before cinema was made? this kind of exploded my brain. i went downstairs. people,ore i wrote the i wrote this lecture or rather this piece of writing which was a letter to my son, talking about a state called the state of cinema. a place we all go to. jim jarmusch lives there. he is a master filmmaker who milks -- makes a corner. jim jarmusch land. >> you can go there. >> it is nice to be there. foundationnd a half was created by you. >in order to make films about individuals --
>> to make film fans. i,colleague mark cousins and we inaugurated this foundation to create a new birthday for children. eight and a half to read when they become film fans. 8.5?ite in the half -- why son when hee of my asked that question. also the name of a fleeing the film. film.lini children have taken part. into national films from the last hundred years. we now have 100 years of cinema to draw on. they write to us. they will work on one or 8.5 --
1/2th birthday is. it will be something from iran or china. it will almost surely not have been made by disney or pixar. >> what were you doing at moma? >> apparently i was there. >> you were asleep? talk about this. >> it is a piece of work. i offered to make it. i made it originally 19 years again london, and then in rome. the performance department was making a series of re-performances of old performance art. i was invited to do it at moma. it's part of the piece that i do not talk about it. >> explain why. >> the pieces about his
appearance as much as appearance. authentic presence. much a person in an authentic space. >> let me talk about one thing in your life. your mother died while you were making this film. how old was she? >> she was 83. i have beenm and talking about making this film for eight years. looking forward to shooting at. when you are planning something for a long time, is like a party. shooting, we started my beloved mother was diagnosed as terminally ill. >> she didn't have long to live. >> weeks, they said.
>she ended up having enough time shooting andish look after her for seven weeks. -- is a is about bittersweet thing for me. it was one of those things. it kept me going. it.e was about to abandon >> when you make something for a long time, you abandon it for -- before breakfast and pick it up again. >> he says you talked him out of it. put a band to together. you need to get everybody together. i was there from the beginning. it is an easy thing for me to have a conversation on the phone or meet up with him in new york. that's the easy part.
i truly believed we would make it. i know enough about these long gestation son films -- gestations on films, because you need it. >> he has total control over his films. he is not part of the studio system. he has final cut. he makes the film he wants to make. >> properly in every way independent. not codependent. >> talk about other men in your life. wes anderson. >> another one. >> another what? >> another master of the cinema working to make another great film. maybe his best ever. just evolving and the lighting lighting.
83.he is really old like >> she is actually in her mid-90's. >> she's going to die. >> she dies in love. she is deeply in love. >> a beautiful -- brilliant performance by ralph fiennes. like jim jarmusch or wes anderson or martin scorsese, they make films. they make the things it says on the 10. -- tin. jim jarmusch is empire -- vampire lover film. martin scorsese's wall street. >> you like it? >> i like "the willful wall
wallt -- "the wolf of street" very much. i once had a meaningful moment with michael powell. he said, what was on the plane? i said it was not a good film. one of the first batman films. is a good film. it makes its own world. any film that makes its own world is a good film. i swallowed that and have digested it ever since. i believe he is right. are all makings unique worlds. >> it is great to have you. >> nice to see you, charlie. ♪ >> peter matheson --peter matthiessen, the author and
naturalist, died on saturday. he was 86 years old. he always seemed to be of a different, earlier era. he was an environmentalist, explore, founder of the parish review, and cia agent. first and foremost, he was a writer. the only author to win for both fiction and nonfiction. his last work will be published on april 8. in 1927, he was born into a wealthy new york family. he graduated from yale and moved to paris. it is there that he and his childhood friend founded "the review."
he moved back to new york and spent the rest of his life writing about the natural world and humanity. "at play inludes, the fields of the lord." he is survived by his wife, four children from his creepiest two marriages, -- previous two marriages, and grandchildren. your moments from his conversations on this program -- here are moments from his conversations on this program. >> what drove you to go to africa? >> my dad is a hunter. i used to hunt, too. i got interested in animal behavior. my brother did, too. he went to marine biology. it started very early, since we were eight or 10 years old. there must've been some
wanderlust there -- there. >> when i started writing novels, they were not selling well. i said, will you send me around the world? i want to see wilderness and wildlife. as a way of life, and income. it was something i loved to do and was getting paid to do. >> your life seems to have had a guardian angel for the most part. you agree? >> i think i am very lucky in my life. >> burdette was an architect that lived in connecticut -- your dad was an architect that lived in connecticut? you went to yale? >> i went to yale. i don't think my folks would have chosen me to become a
writer, but they were encouraging and open. they were wary that i might write about them in the first couple of books. people always think you are writing about them. >> published early? >> my first story at yale i sold to the atlantic monthly. >> long association with the new yorker? national book award? pour the snow leopard -- for "th leopard?" it is not your best booking your judgment. -- will keep in your judgment -- judgement?n your >> it has been a meal in my coffin. it is the hook most closely associated with me. >> you think you would be
remembered in time for your fiction. >> maybe i am whistling in the dark, but i don't think so. i began as a short story writer. barracksmy first four -- books were novels. not very good. but the stories were being published. and then it was a financial decision. i was doing commercial fiction in addition to my writing. i had a wife and young kids. i had to make some kids. i went over into writing nonfiction about what i knew about. notes and wild places and got mr. shawhen i of the new yorker. he agreed to send me to the wild places. i was written about wilderness is that are going down the tube.
i rushed off to south america before he could change his mind. that was the beginning. that produced a nonfiction book and a fiction book. int encouraged my interest indian people. i have been interested in traditional people. i have been a certain kind of anthropologist. i am interested in how they relate to the world. im not much interested in -- am much less interested in cities. i like people on the edge. denominator do most good writers have? >> that is an interesting question. i don't know. i do know -- i think i kind of know. i think there has to be an element -- in good writing, there has to be an element -- it
has to be kind of intact. i don't want to depend on anything for identification on the part of the reader. i make them work too hard, maybe. it has to be complete in itself and heavy mystery inside of it. the sense of something mysterious. even if you never spell it out. i think the reader has to feel in the presence of something they cannot quite define. thatlke wi spoke about -- wilke spoke about that. something that is just implicitly there. some writers write into that and are daring. i think almost all good writing has that mystery, strangeness, somewhere in there. agent that useia
the paris review as cover. >> i did. but in short order, i was more interested in the paris review would then my other job -- than my other job. the only adventure i regret was the cia. i quit, while on the job. while still a young kid, 2425. or 25. i told my handler or whatever, you guys cannot trust me. things are happening back here. blacklists and -- >> what did you do for them in terrorist -- paris? >> it was pretty small, really.
i was spending my day deceiving people. that is all it is. >> deceiving people as to -- >> who you are. your identity. i really disliked it. >> you were looking for people to convert? >> no-no. i didn't even know what i was doing. they never tell you. they never tell you what the heck you are doing. but i made a very good contact they were excited about. it was at that point that it came to a head. they wanted to make -- me to go in deeper. you.iting for >are you happiest with nonfictin or fiction? >> fiction. i began as a fiction writer. that is where my heart is. i love fiction. i wrote nonfiction to make a living. i'm not putting it down. anyway has the
same things. though -- themes. >the loss of values and injustice. but in fiction, you can go deeper. i am going deeper. you can do things you cannot do. in nonfiction, you're stuck with the facts. or you should be. >> you should be? >> nonfiction is less loyal to the facts? [laughter] fiction, you go to a deeper place. writing, you have always been obsessed with endangered species. and endangered planet. >> endangered people. >> is there something about the american ideal that you think is
in danger? >> yes. i think so. i think what we are settling for in recent years and decades, is a far the grated for -- degraded form of what was envisioned in the constitution. it seems we are constantly going in and beating up on -- usually darker people, some smaller country, haiti and grenada, vietnam, wherever. it seems to be that we are behaving in a way -- to go into iraq -- putting that aside, to say shock and off. -- awe. to say we will shock and all these people. people.hese
that seems beneath our dignity as americans. abu ghraib. the whole thing is beneath us. terminal rendition. -- weeadful terms of the use now. >> you think it is a temporary thing in the american experience? >> i sure hope so. we have lost a lot of respect around the world, and rightly so. as americans -- this is a fantastic country. i think we have to speak out. it is not unpatriotic to say, hey, we are better people than this. our values are better than this. that is the way i feel. [laughter] >> you think about the end? >> i am 81. time is not on my side. >> you never know.