Stupid Questions

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Truth & Lies
The clip Doyle selected for the opening of one presentation played against U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, which offered some clue about what keeps him going. He said that whenever he’s asked what his best or favourite film is, he always answers, “My next one. It has to be. You have to hold on that innocence and naïveté and hope that you can still get better.”

Lest anyone be tempted to read too much into his musical selections, he also presented clips playing over Richard Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra (the 2001: A Space Odyssey theme) on kazoo, and talked about shooting Justin Timberlake’s SexyBack.

“As with heroin, the antidote to film is more film,” Doyle suggested but, unlike heroin, the antidote is not any film. Doyle turns down a lot more work than he accepts, and usually because he can’t see the possibility of forming the right connection with the people he’d be working with. He explained that he was offered the job of shooting two Harry Potter films that were being made back-to-back over 600+ shoot days.

“Even in Hong Kong I could have bought a house off that job,” he said. “But it wasn’t right.”

Doyle offered some suggestions for directors, notably, “Get out of your video village.”

He did cite some people whose work he admired, including David Attenborough and Steve McQueen. Playing a clip from McQueen’s Hunger, its dialogue all delivered with thick Irish brogue, Doyle noted McQueen’s response to the question, “Why didn’t you subtitle it?”

“Because people should listen.”

Doyle expects people to listen, and watch too, to seek out the poetry between the words and image. “Let’s shut up and observe before we make a judgement,” he said.

Rabbit-Proof Fence

Rabbit-Proof Fence

While he’s opinionated, Doyle’s not closed-minded about the opportunities he’ll consider. He described director and fellow Australian Phillip Noyce (Clear and Present Danger, Patriot Games, Dead Calm) as someone who “likes to blow things up”.

Then he made Rabbit Proof-Fence, which even the battle-scarred Doyle admitted made everyone cry while they were shooting it.

“There are directors,” Doyle said, “and then there’s the continuity person. It’s usually a very unhappy woman. Who wants you to do it again. She’s concerned about a chair and not the story everybody else is trying to tell. I don’t mind the mistakes – they’re part of life.”

With a nod to the BSS venue of Auckland Uni, he also offered his opinion on the value of a formal education. “Graduating from film school doesn’t help. It’s only good for your sex life.”

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