Monday, June 26, 2006
Wild About Wilder
Latest doc to watch: Billy Wilder Speaks. The film is a series of interviews with the famed writer/director (Sabrina, Some Like It Hot, Stalag 17, The Apartment, Sunset Boulevard, etc).
I’m taking it in small bites, as the piece is full of wit and wisdom, and worthy of slow digestion.
Some interesting tid-bits and advice:
While writing with Raymond Chandler, he had to convince the novelist to stop putting in so many camera directions, which got in the way of the story.
The writer/director, who lost a mother and step-father in Auschwitz, was asked by the studio to change the enemy of the war flick Stalag 17 from Germans to the Polish, so as to not offend the potential German audience. The request was so offensive, Mr. Wilder demanded an apology, which he didn’t get – and thus cut relations with the studio.
His advice: you can either tell a simple story ornately, or you can tell a complex story simply.
He was filming Sabrina while writing the script. On a Friday, he was behind on the pages; which he confessed to Audrey Hepburn. She intentionally flubbed lines to slow down the shoot, so they didn’t catch up to the unwritten scene – thus saving face for the director, and buying him more writing time.
When the writer (who became a director to protect his scripts) was asked if directors should learn to be writers, he responded that it would be better if directors learned how to read.
Just my thoughts,