The writer-director dilemma


Someone should have told Paul Thomas Anderson that his script for "There Will Be Blood," nominated for an Academy Award as Best Picture of the year, is an unholy mess. Or that Daniel Day-Lewis, with his cigarette holder and thespian limp, nominated as Best Actor, runs away with the movie and turns any possible moral contest between the foundational energies of American capitalism and American religion into an unfair fight.

Of course, no one retooled the disjointed story or dampened Day-Lewis's flamboyance, because Anderson performed the dual role of screenwriter-director. Like an increasing number of younger filmmakers, from Quentin Tarantino to Paul Haggis, he seems to believe that the best chance he has of maintaining artistic say-so in a system notoriously hostile to integrity is to control as much of the process as possible. Making a Hollywood feature film typically requires years of soul-killing compromises. Directing one's own script is as close to writing a book as can be hoped for in what is a collaborative medium.

(Source: Newsweek)

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