Die for Dollars Director Walter Hill shares his affinity for the West [Exclusive Interview]

When you do a Western, what is your relationship with nostalgia?

Well, I feel like when I’m done shooting, and then editing it into shape, I think this is very reminiscent of the kind of filmmaking that Budd Boetticher did in the late 50s, early 60s. He did. low-budget films on a tight schedule, which we definitely did, we shot it in 25 business days and we had a limited budget. But it has strong moral concerns about what the rule of life is, and when do we cross the line? And not in the obvious sense, no, we’re not supposed to kill each other and all that, but in attitudes that are much more nuanced than the characters show, hopefully. That’s really for you to say, Jack.

They are almost bound to their code and infallible, like Willem Dafoe’s character.

Well, I wanted a worthy antagonist to Max’s main character, but I wanted him to be complicated in that he wasn’t a villain. He has a sense of irony and a sense of self. He is very intelligent, both in words and in many cases, in behavior. And at the same time, there is a self-destructive path he is on.

As a big fan of “Streets of Fire”, it’s nice to see you and Willem Dafoe reunited after all these years.

Well thank you. Yes, Willem and I did a great job in that movie. He and I have remained friends over the years. We wanted to work together for many years, time and circumstances didn’t allow, but we finally had a chance to come back and he delivered such a good performance, I think. He didn’t miss a single note in it. I was impressed with the level of acting, both Christoph and Rachel, and when we were just talking about Will, both had very high notes, and the rest of the cast was, I think, remarkable as well.

You’ve said before, “Being a director is trying to recreate, in yourself, the emotions you had when you saw a movie when you were very young.” What emotions do you want to recreate when working in the West?

Emotions are complex. I think the first Westerners that I saw, that my brother and I watched, we used to go to the movies together, usually very wild Bill Elliott, Johnny Mack Brown, and so on. I know when I was a kid, I didn’t know what, maybe 11 years old, 12 years old, I just had no shame about how good it was. It’s in a world other than the Western type that I’m usually exposed to, even though I’ve seen “Horse wagon.” They used to rerun successful movies when I was a kid. So I saw “Chariots” and some [John] Ford Western when I was a kid.

I was watching “The Searchers” when it came out. My grandmother, bless her heart, I think I was about 13 years old, and she took my brother and I and my cousin. We got off Long Beach, and we all got in the red car and went to Los Angeles, and we had lunch at that famous old cafe, I can’t think of the name of it now, and then we go see “The Searchers” and come back, start the red car, and go home.

I was exposed to both the Great West and the Walking West very early on. The truth is, all of this is talking about whether or not I’m being validated by my new films as Western, but people perceive me as neo-noir as much as they do about the West, which is that’s pretty fair. But the truth is, I liked almost every kind of movie when I was a kid. The only kind of movies that I really don’t like are children’s movies, but of course I love musicals and comedies. Who doesn’t?

But the other thing I guess I mean is that, very often in terms of storytelling, the B Western will begin, some of them, with a mysterious stranger coming to town, apparently on a quest that We do not know or do not understand. , but it means a lot to him personally and then action will follow. What strikes me about all of that is that the better you understand the character and why he’s there and what he’s doing and all that, the less interesting he becomes. Character is most interesting when he is most mysterious, purposeful. Again, I like to use a Western-applicable phrase, the elegant simplicity of the presentation can mask all kinds of complicated, moral, ethical attitudes in the text.

You’ve probably heard me say this before, people say, “Well, it must be fun out there in the West, the horses and the big hats, the Wrangler and the crew, and of course , the whole cast.” It’s a pleasure, but in storytelling, it’s not so much even western history. You are like walking in the Old Testament. The West tends to be Old Testament stories. And that is to say there are moral stories that often don’t have modern psychological undertones. But the other truth is, whatever you say about movies, there are contradictions. Anthony Mann’s films are filled with psychological nuance. But like I said, there’s always what people say about Hollywood, there’s something else to the contrary.

https://www.slashfilm.com/1033756/dead-for-a-dollar-director-walter-hill-shares-his-affinity-for-westerns-exclusive-interview/ Die for Dollars Director Walter Hill shares his affinity for the West [Exclusive Interview]

Fry Electronics Team

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