Guillermo del Toro on the sweet smell of success: “You have to remain a scrapper, [and] success palliates that spirit. Success tells you ‘you’re a good boy.’ If you give into that impulse you get disoriented because you get patted on the back. The artist has a certain degree of rage against the people [who] are inside the candlelight banquet…success tells you, ‘come on in, have a piece of chicken, have a glass of wine,’ and you shouldn’t. If you go into that banquet you lose some of that scrapper spirit.”
HE response: There’s nothing wrong with a friendly candlelit banquet if you don’t drink, and if you go easy on the chicken. Everyone needs to come in from the cold from time to time. Also: Every artist suffers the same anxiety attack every morning, and the name of that attack is “Have I peaked? Am I more or less done? Am I dead but don’t it?” The natural knee-jerk response is “Hell, no!…I’m just beginning, more mountains to climb,” etc. But there’s another voice from deep inside that says “you think?”
William Friedkin on his French Connection Oscar glory: “I feel like I kind of lost myself. Absolutely.”
HE response: The thing about success and power is that they goad people into revealing their dark sides. If a person has snarly tendencies embedded in his/her personality, success makes them rise to the surface. Also: For the 109th time, the Billy train hit a wall when Sorcerer flopped, but — BUT! — it’s a brilliant film. The mistake was having the mob assassins come for Roy Scheider at the very end. The poor guy had just made it through a terrible ordeal through sheer moxie and determination. He deserved a measure of peace, and perhaps even a ticket out of that South American hellhole. But Friedkin had him killed. When that happened, the audience went “fuck this movie.”
Friedkin and Del Toro got together under the banner of a Talk House podcast, posted by The Playlist‘s Rodrigo Perez.