Thursday, November 7, 2013

Director Oliver Stone talks about ‘The Untold History of the United States’

Interview by James Colt Harrison 

Director Oliver Stone is a modern day Renaissance man. Born in New York September 15, 1946, Stone shot to the top of the Hollywood creative heap with his first Oscar® in 1979 for writing the drama “Midnight Express.” Later “Platoon” won Best Director and Best Picture in 1986. “Born on the Fourth of July”(1989) garnered 8 nominations and won two Oscars®. 

Now Warner Home Video is releasing Stone’s “The Untold History of the United States, ” a ten-part Showtime Original Series on blu-ray. The documentary looks back at human events that at the time went under-reported, but that crucially shaped America’s unique and complex history throughout the 20th century.  

We talked with Stone at Warner Bros studio recently about his involvement with ‘The Untold History of the United States’ video release. 

Q: How do you blend the businessman side of you and the artistic? 

Stone: “I think you can maintain two tracks. You have to. That’s what this kind of film-making is about. You have to be aware of your limitations. You’re like a general. You have to marshall your forces and use them well. You have to integrate your cavalry and infantry all together. It later comes down to the personal and the intimate. But you always have to have the big picture, the general picture.” 

Q: How did you put this series together? 

Stone: We used archive footage and reenactment. Wherever we used reenactment we put that in. I don’t think we did it in bad taste. 

Q: What is the difference in documenting history as you do and in dramatizing history? 

Stone: There is a huge difference. You have actors, you have sets, a script. (What we have) is the archive footage. Peter (Kuznick) is a historian and I’m a dramatist. I’m trying to take this book and simplify it down to a formula that could work. I want to make documentaries exciting. Some people say there’s too much going on and can’t follow it all. 

Q: You’ve had so much success as a commercial flilmmaker. What does doing a documentary do for you as an artist? 

Stone: Living on a set where they manufacture resolutions and what makes people feel good has its limitations. I want to get back to the basic truths of life. There are too many movies being made with too much violence, and it’s all unreal to me. I’m not saying don’t show violence, but show it with authenticity.

Q: Your films have been subject to film criticism, but also social political criticism, even when you do a project like “The Untold History of the United States” that is built on facts rather than on only your interpretation.

Stone: When I did “JFK” I reached a place where I did not want to go back---I was radical and my critics were saying I was not to be trusted and that I was making up things. 

Q: Warner Bros is going to have a big new 50 year commemorative ultimate collector’s edition release of your film JFK, starring Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones, and Jack Lemmon. You always have had controversy following your work. All your films may not have been blockbusters, but they carried a certain amount of international buzz about them. The film got eight Academy Award ® nominations and won Best Cinematography and Best Editing.
Stone: “I felt the same thing on JFK. I thought it would be the end of me. The dialogue was very cerebral, there were enormous amounts of difficulty, text, screenplay, and it had a very complex edit.  I didn’t think it would make it. I was amazed that it did. JFK was a huge hit around the world.”

Visit our website for a free subscription of the ArtsNFashion Magazine. ArtsNFashion Magazine


Post a Comment

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Grants For Single Moms