How does making Prince Avalanche fit into your life now that you have a family, when you’re going off into the middle of the woods for a month to go pay everyone 100 bucks a day.
Yeah, we shot for 16 days. So, it was very civilized and they would come out, they would come out and visit me on like Wednesdays and I’d spend the weekends there, because it was an hour away from where I live.
So, you weren’t like setting up a cabin in the woods.
They [his twin boys] now just recently learned to be quiet when it’s rolling. They’re behaving themselves now. They spent the summer on the Eastbound & Down set, so it was kind of cool to, because everyone’s having kids, on the crew. Danny has kids, our location guy and our sound guy. So, we kind of created an environment where we try not to say too many disturbing, horrible things.
I mean, everyone grew up around their Dad’s friends who are, you know, being jerks in the backyard. It can’t be that different.
It’s like kids being exposed to their dad having a really good time with a really good group of people, and something nasty comes out of their mouth every now and again. It’s not the worst thing in the world.
Do you feel like it’s going to affect what you make going forward though?
Ummm, yeah, definitely it does. I think it would be very difficult to tackle subject matter like Snow Angels and live with that in my head for so long. I wouldn’t be able to deal with that. It’s just too intense.
That’s interesting. I wasn’t even thinking about the dark stuff, being what you couldn’t get into.
I’m ok with dark stuff, like I just finished an incredibly dark movie, but with Snow Angels in particular, dealing with child death, it would be something I don’t want my brain to even fucking think about it. It would just too nasty and I’m not that mean spirited of a person at this point. It was a great exploration as a young guy, kind of thinking about it from the outside perspective, and I was looking at it from a place where I was very much affected by headlines when I was a kid, of disappearance of kids and death of kids.
Oh, and you start getting afraid, as a kid yourself?
Yeah, so I made that movie from a very vulnerable place that i had as like, from a community affected by these things, but I think now, the true horror of that nature would be too much for me to fuck around with.
Do you think Suspiria is ever going to happen.
I don’t know. I hope so. I don’t know that it necessarily will happen with me, but I hope somebody makes a really cool version of that movie. Is that darkness something you'd be worried about?
I love horror movies.
So, that’s a different type of darkness you think you could dig into?
Oh yeah, easy. That’s just gore and tension and suspense. Those are games. But I don’t know. Having kids changes your perspective on so much that, I just, I was very naive to that. I just thought it’s just something that you do.
Just get an assistant to come with you.
Everybody does it. It’s a radical emotional umbilical cord.
I assume that Joe is the dark movie you were talking about? What's the darkness in that?
Child abuse and tree poisoning.
But that wasn’t too much for you?
That’s like, it’s not something I’m affected by on a daily basis. I’m not a guy that’s going to do that. Joe is very much a story of a father figure in this kid’s life, getting him out of a bad situation. So, it’s about the strength of masculinity and the strength of character that someone has when someone is in a difficult situation. So, to me, it’s very heroic, you know. Millions of people are in nasty situations and it’s just about finding, identifying with characters that can help dig him out of hard times. So, that’s what the movie’s very, very touching in that way. It’s Nicolas Cage and then this kid Tye Sheridan and its the two them and just like, kind of, unbelievable, very raw performances as Cage brings this kid into his life and helps him escape the reality of his fate.
As someone who grew up obsessed with all of the big mainstream movies, Nic Cage has got to be like crazy touchstone.
One of my idols. Not even the mainstream movies, I mean Wild at Heart and Vampire’s Kiss and his entire body of work is pretty incredible and this is not like any movie he’s ever done.
Did you give him the crazy hard sell?
No, he flew up to Austin to come talk to me about it. I remember the first day I met him, I said, “What do you want to do today?” He said, “What do you want to do?” I was like, “I want to go explore this burned out state park that I think I want to make a movie in.”
Oh, this was before you started making Prince Avalanche?
And he said, “Ok, let’s go.” So, we found all of the locations for Prince Avalanche together. He was a great location scout.
Did he get a credit?
No, he should have. But he would ask all of the road workers a lot of questions, like I know everything I know about that park because Nic was…
Talking to the road workers?
Inquisitive and people loved hanging out and talking to him.
(First David Gordon Green image via cinemafestival / Shutterstock.com)