INTERVIEW: Director William Friedkin on making ‘Bug’


I don’t mind if you take a shot of me eating,” William Friedkin tells the photographer between bites of an avocado sandwich. “People know I do that.”

Friedkin and I are downing a quick dinner in the green room of West Los Angeles’ Skirball Cultural Center, an hour or so before he takes the stage to introduce a screening of the John Huston classic The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. The screening is part of the ongoing series “Cinema’s Legacy,” in which established directors are invited to present a film that inspired or influenced their own filmmaking careers. When the American Film Institute, which organizes the series, asked me if I would moderate the evening, I happily accepted, knowing full well that Friedkin would be doing most of the talking.

Several times over the years, I’ve seen him discuss his own movies in front of different audiences, and on each occasion he has held them rapt and left them wanting more. On the set, he may be legendarily demanding and difficult — not for nothing did he earn the nickname Hurricane Billy — but give Friedkin a stage and a microphone and he is witty and devilishly charming, a consummate Hollywood storyteller, and as firm a believer as John Ford in the relative value of truth and legend.

Read about William Friedkin as he talks about filmmaking and the making of Bug with Ashley Judd.

Directors, Filmmaking, Hollywood, Interview, New Movies

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