Obviously plastics have served very important purposes and been incredibly convenient but as we begin to witness the long-term consequences of the chemical components leaching into our water and our bodies, we're going to be forced to look for alternatives to how we package goods and food.
Remarkably, there's no green screen in 'Leaves of Grass' movie. There is motion control. Technically, there were all sorts of challenges, but really the soul of it is Edward Norton talent. You write these characters when you write a movie, and all you can hope for or depend on is that your actors will elevate the material.
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There are things you do for the fun of doing them or to work or to hang with certain people. But the projects that I've invested myself in and cared about most deeply have absolutely been activated by a desire to chase something that I relate to, or that I see as having the potential to speak to someone else directly.
There are so many people who are conscientious and caring about others. I've spent time working in countries where I really noticed the absence of civic concern, care for other people. I've been in other countries where I feel a palpable, almost tooth-and-claw attitude between people - Machiavellian, me and mine. And you can take for granted being here, with all the bloviating and the media, on a day-to-day level, people in this country are really pretty concerned for each other.
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When I think of my background, if I was privileged on any level, it was in terms of the kind of exposure to experience and bohe-mian cultural influence that my parents and my uncles and my grandfather gave me. On both sides I come from an extremely eccentric, artsy, intellectually intense, activist family.
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I think one of the most important investments an organization like TNC [The Nature Conservancy] can make is in helping build local capacity - supporting the growth of a global network of small community-based entities. Help people who live within critical ecosystems help themselves and their neighbors to design a better future relationship between themselves and their natural resources.
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What we set out to do with this movie [Leaves of Grass] was to create something that was funny and serious and had large tonal ambitions. A movie that could be poignant and funny, and suddenly quite violent. To have a character utterly sideswiped, and to learn that life is about balance.
I'm fascinated by the ways in which people express themselves, because their responses are often counter to what they're actually feeling. Like when they're frightened, they tend to freeze. When they're angry, it doesn't always come out as volume. There are wonderful contradictions in the way that people express their emotions.
I think that the environmental movement is wisely moving away from a largely emotion-based argument for the spiritual or intrinsic value of Nature with a capital "N" and evolving toward a very hard-nosed case for the economic value of natural capital, ecosystem services, biodiversity, etc.
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Most people don't relate to and can't generate concern for something they don't encounter personally or feel personally affected by. People have to have the palpable negatives in their lives dissected for them in ways that let them understand the root causes of unhealthy, unhappy conditions in their lives and then be allowed to really see and feel the positive alternatives.
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I started, with three friends, this website called Crowdrise that's sort of the Facebook for personal philanthropy, a place where anybody can have a permanent microsite of their own to stage creative fundraising projects for the charities and causes that they care about. And we did it with serious intent but without any ambition.
David Fincher is probably the best comprehensive director in terms of being a manger of a process that must drive forward. He has such confident command of cinema language and visual language and script and performance. He knows more about f-stops than any cameraman, he knows more about lighting than any gaffer, he is a wonderful writer, and he can give you a good line reading. Under pressure, he is the kind of guy who you will just dive in with and trust and follow because his vision is so intense.
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If Nick Broomfield never found anyone with affection for Courtney Love, it's only because he conspicuously avoided the countless friends, colleagues and fans who appreciate her talent and admire her as a person. But then, why would Broomfield have opened up his film to those of us who work with Courtney and are close to her when there are so many bitter left - behinds and desperate attention - seekers eager to validate his attack on her character? Inquisitors in every age, scared of forceful women, have used all kinds of half - baked testimony to whip up chants of 'Burn the witch!'
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Most of us still believe in the intrinsic value of nature, but I think the first century of the environmental/conservation movement demonstrated pretty clearly that this value cannot compel a civilization-wide shift toward sustainable behavior and enterprise when stacked up against the urgent economic and social needs of 7 billion people, most of whom are struggling to get out of poverty.
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Even my wife and two of my children are in "Leaves of Grass". Because I love the source material so much, it was really easy to write and an utter delight to get to direct because I had people like Edward [Norton] elevating the material and surprising me in their interpretations of all of this stuff that's so close to me.
I've been friends with the guys in Radiohead for a lot of years, and I watch the way those guys work with incredible envy. Because whatever the slings and arrows of dealing with the record business, at the end of the day, they have total creative autonomy. They don't need a lot to do what they do, and Thom [Yorke] and Jonny [Greenwood] and the guys have their own joint in their hometown.
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I'd say that, in addition to actually taking my brother and sister and I camping and hiking and river rafting all our lives and introducing us to the power of natural landscapes, his [my father's] biggest impact on my thinking has been to always argue that the "spiritual case for Nature" was not going to outweigh the needs of 7 billion people and to insist that law, science and economics were the critical frameworks through which we had to defend the value of nature.
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When I was very small, I had that first-time-you-see-a-play experience, which immediately made me want to act, because it seemed like this incredible outlet for something I was already doing fairly compulsively anyway, which was putting on hats and costumes and doing funny voices. It was a very natural compulsion for me.
I'm an actor, and, beyond that, the thing I do most compulsively is writing. So I come at it very much from this sense of character. I get interested in people. And I feel confident in my capacity to absorb and manifest the characteristics of people. I have a real auditory hang-up for dialogue; re-creating the way people talk really is an addiction in my brain.
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I like to get into a lot of things besides movies. I've been very involved with a few specific efforts. We built this park in New York and it's been a very successful project.I worked on a conservation project in East Africa. Too much of this type of stuff can get you wrapped up in your own work and I love it.
A lot of people ask, "What do you pull on in your own life from your character?" In all honesty, it's not something that really works that way for me. I tend to look at these things as an imaginative process and a challenge of imagination and empathy, to some degree. I get much more out of meeting people who have lived these lives than I do digging around in my own limited experiences.
As an actor, if you step to the side and you look at [Thornton's performance] technically, and you try to imagine doing what he was doing, most people would panic. Most people would be on the set, and they would be panicking, going, "I'm not doing anything!" All the ham instincts in you would be screaming, "You've got to indicate something here." And it's beautiful, in a way. And so I appreciate, even as an audience member, the courage that it takes to be... frankly, to be subtle.
I've never acted before in a movie I've directed. This felt like the time to do it just because the " Leaves of Grass" movie itself is so much of a platform for the lead actor. It's really written for an exciting performance and it really depends on the audience watching an extraordinary actor having a great time pulling off this feat. It makes sense to me as a director to act in support of that.
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The "environmental movement" is becoming an economic movement, is joining the social justice movement, is becoming a sustainability movement. It's leaving behind the "People's Needs versus Nature's Needs" conflict in favor of making the case for environmental health as the essential underpinning of prosperous and stable human civilization.
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To me, Fight Club was a comedy. When [David] Fincher sent me the book and I read it, the first thing I asked him was, "This is a comedy, right?" he said, "Yeah, that's the whole point," and I said, "Okay, I'm in." I certainly wasn't imagining myself as a dramatic actor when I was running around in my underwear in that film.
I don't feel insecure about any of this work anymore. Maybe I don't have what I had when I was younger. I'm not really hungry to prove anything to anybody, really. But when I stand outside myself and observe what I think are my strengths and weaknesses going into directing, it's what you just said, an affliction to organize moments.
To me, achieving tone, achieving consistency, is exactly the job of a director. It is to be the fusing, the nexus of a whole bunch of people contributing to the complex life of a movie. There are actors, there's a cinematographer, there're costume people, set people, there are all these things, and you somehow have to be the person in the middle of it who is making it all synchronize into the same magic bubble.
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In a very philosophic sense I think doing the work is itself a good thing. But at the end of the day, since we're taking other people's shekels to do it, and their work is being able to make a return out of it, it forces you to consider the fact that you're doing it for other people. The whole construct is built around the assumption that it's going to get shared, and that someone else is going to find value in it - entertainment, catharsis, enlightenment, or whatever.
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You know, independent films have been institutionalized, practically. Every studio has got a boutique arthouse label. There's like, 18 different independent film-financing funds. In fact, I think the children of those films are getting made. A more interesting question is whether those films are going to get seen and appreciated.