It's hard to believe, but David Gordon Green is a grown-up now. The director who has built a career on aimless, screw-up guys, from the small-town losers of All The Real Girls to the stoner princes of Your Highness, is now a father to two twin boys, and when I spoke to him late last week in New York, he was en route to his first vacation in nearly two years, with big plans for sitting in a hammock by a lake.
But just because he's making cash by directing high-profile commercials and putting his muscle behind other peoples' low-budget projects doesn't mean he's left those small-town screw-ups behind. His new film, and one of his best in many years, is Prince Avalanche, starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch as a pair of would-be brothers-in-law who are spending their summer repainting the lines on a road that cuts through a forest recently devastated by a forest fire. They fight, listen to music, talk about girls, fight some more, get into some surreal adventures and, in an oblique way, learn something about themselves. It's a dreamy, silly and surprisingly tender film, adapted from the Icelandic feature Either Way but infused with Green's own sense of place-- rural Texas-- and deep affection for guys who just can't seem to make their lives go anywhere.
Prince Avalanche is only the first of two movies Green has out this year-- premiering at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals is Joe, another rural drama, this one starring Nicolas Cage as the father figure to a lost boy, played by Mud's Tye Sheridan. Near the end of our conversation Green talked about getting Cage on board, and how the legendary actor wound up serving as an accidental location scout on Prince Avalanche. But first we got into his somewhat anonymous work making commercials, why he considers his career "self-indulgent," how Prince Avalanche could be the sequel to Prometheus, what movies scare him now that he's a father, and why it's a good thing he didn't grow up in the age of the Internet. Check out our wide-ranging conversation below, and catch Prince Avalanche in theaters and on VOD this weekend.
I’m about to get in a car and drive to New Hampshire.
Oh, really? What’s up there?
Two days of me in a hammock on a lake, with some old friends.
Oh, like vacation?
Isn’t that weird, I haven’t taken a vacation since December of 2011.
Jesus, why? You made two movies in that time, right?
Two movies, plus TV series, and about 20 commercials.
I had no idea. Where’s the IMDB for commercials?
You know, that’s the beauty is that nobody knows what you do. No one ever looks it up unless it’s good and then they’ll be like, “Who made that cool commercial? Oh, that’s him?”
I always Google voiceovers to try to figure out, because somebody told me that Jeff Bridges did Home Depot and I was like, no way, and it was totally Jeff Bridges.
I’m sure he did. That shit pays.