Two weeks ago I ran a recollection from a producer friend about a young Australian guy who met a few Los Angeles agents on the strength of his having allegedly shot the plastic bag sequence in American Beauty. The contention or belief was that director Sam Mendes hadn’t shot the plastic-bag sequence — this young guy had.
Producer friend clarifies: “I just saw [an] interview with Mendes about the plastic bag film, and it seems pretty clear Mendes directed it. So what was that other guy doing meeting people and saying he directed it? I recall that the Australian guy sent his short film to the production looking for a job. All I can imagine is that he sent a primitive student film and Mendes saw it (or was told about it) and decided to do his own inspired professional version.
“A pretty prominent Australian agent set up the student director’s meeting, and it was a senior manager from Anonymous Content that called me about his own scheduled meeting. The student director obviously had some credibility behind him. But it’s clear the footage in the feature is Mendes, very clear, even if the concept was the student’s. I also heard that the student director signed with an agent!”