Bilge Ebiri Gets “Ad Astra” Director James Gray to Explain Some Stuff

Posted on September 25, 2019 at 6:40 pm

“Ad Astra” director James Gray’s conversation with New York Magazine critic Bilge Ebiri about filmmaking as as (maybe more) fascinating as the film itself. Ebiri writes:

Gray himself is among the sincerest of interview subjects, a man who will openly discuss what he was trying to accomplish with certain scenes in his pictures, as well as whether he thinks he achieved it or not. He’s also kind of like the world’s most entertaining film professor, a constant fount of movie references who will happily break down some of the classics to explain how they work. Over the course of our conversation, he did both, opening up about his career, his mistakes, his favorite movies, and the challenges of making Ad Astra.

Copyright 20th Century Fox
An excerpt from one of his answers:

You kind of make the same movie over and over again, but in a different guise, because you change. I’m a different person than I was when I made my first film. And so that takes care of the films feeling different. You just try to focus on what it is you care about. I was very interested in fathers and sons. I’m not estranged from my father, thank heavens. But all relationships between father and son are very complicated relationships. Of course, with mother and son, and mother and daughter, and father and daughter … it’s all fraught, no matter how good we think it is. That makes drama. And it’s a shorthand. If I say to you, “Tommy and his friend, Bob …,” well, I have to go through hoops to explain to you that relationship. Why are they friends? When did they meet? What’s the nature? Does one look up to the other? But in a movie, if I say “fathers and sons,” you know exactly what I’m saying. There is a baggage.

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