Brian De Palma Mouths Off

On Film / The Daily — Jun 5, 2018
Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow’s De Palma (2015)

Brian De Palma has a new feature in the can, but he doesn’t sound too happy about it. The seventy-seven-year-old director of Carrie (1976), Blow Out (1981), and Scarface (1983) shared his misgivings about the film on a recent trip to Paris, where he talked to the press and attended the retrospective of his work running at the Cinémathèque française through July 4.

When Le Parisien’s Catherine Balle asks about Domino, a forthcoming thriller starring starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Carice van Houten, and Guy Pearce about a cop in Copenhagen looking for the man who murdered his partner, De Palma all but interrupts her to call the whole thing “a horrible experience.” The film, he says, was underfunded and behind schedule. The producer lied to him and some members of his crew have still not been paid. Many were hoping to see Domino premiere in Cannes—it didn’t. Those hopes are now aimed at Venice or Toronto, but De Palma tells Balle he’s not sure the film will ever be released at all.

But he’s writing a new screenplay, Predator, “a horror film, with a sexual aggressor” who, De Palma points out, will not be named Harvey Weinstein, but you get the idea. The backdrop, as Nancy Tartaglione reports for Deadline, will be the Toronto International Film Festival. And this time, De Palma will have a producer he can count on, Saïd Ben Saïd, who’s currently working on Paul Verhoeven’s Benedetta, the story of a nun in the seventeenth century who suffers from disturbing visions and falls for another woman. Ben Saïd’s schedule is loaded with other projects as well, so production on Predator won’t begin for another year.

In the meantime, Brian De Palma keeps talking. As anyone who’s seen Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow’s 2015 documentary De Palma knows, the man speaks his mind. Freely. Nick Newman points us to Philippe Guedj’s interview with the director that ran in Le Point yesterday in which he complains about working with Noomi Rapace on Passion (2012) and with HBO on Paterno (the project eventually went to Barry Levinson). Then, barely prompted, he launches in on Steven Soderbergh. “A visual director? Are you kidding? Give me an example of a great, visually memorable scene.” At least he spares a few kind words for Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird and Albert Dupontel’s See You Up There.


Finally, for now, a suggestion for further reading. Photogénie has recently posted an essay in which David Vanden Bossche argues that the Steadicam is especially well-suited to the thriller—and that De Palma is particularly masterful at using it.

For news and items of interest throughout the day, every day, follow @CriterionDaily.