Neil LaBute: Making films without apology

When playwright Neil LaBute broke through in the film world with his 1997 low-budget hit "In the Company of Men," here's how the business worked: Studios sought out new talent and would work these filmmakers into their plans.

Now, as LaBute noted recently over lunch downtown, the process is reversed: The filmmaker is the one trying to conform to the ever-dwindling distributors' agendas. "I'm now looking at places going, 'Can I find stuff that they're trying to do that I can fit into comfortably and still make the kind of movie that I'm not apologizing for?' " he said.

So while LaBute, who lives in the northwest suburbs, continues to dissect problematic males and spiky relationships in his unflinching plays, his movies have explored similar themes less directly. Case in point: " Lakeview Terrace," a tense suspense drama about a cop ( Samuel L. Jackson) who torments his new neighbors, a mixed-race couple (Kerry Washington and Patrick Wilson).

The movie, which opens Friday, feels like and is being marketed as a thriller, yet it also bears the director's fingerprints.

(Chicago Tribune)

Directors, New Movies

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