segunda-feira, novembro 28, 2011

Ken Russell (1927 — 2011)

«Everyone who has ever tried to get a film made is a con artist. All right, I'll amend that: everyone who has tried to set up a movie is a liar and a cheat, or at best, a big fat fibber.

Harry Saltzman, producer of the Bond films, The Battle of Britain, and the Harry Palmer trilogy, wanted me to make the third and last Harry Palmer. "I understand you make art films," he said at our first meeting. "I like art, my house is full of it. And I'd like to make an art film with you. Anything special you have in mind?"

"How about Tchaikovsky?" I ventured.

"Tchaikovsky's fine," he said. "In the meantime, if you wanna break into features, you've gotta start off with a sure thing. The Ipcress File and Funeral in Berlin were big box-office bonanzas and Billion Dollar Brain's gonna be the biggest yet. Get that one under your belt, get yourself a name and then we'll talk Tchaikovsky."

So I let him talk me into it.

Some time later, when I reminded him of his promise, he was deeply offended that I'd had the effrontery to bring it up. Billion Dollar Brain was not the box-office hit Harry had hoped for, so he was less than happy when I reminded him of his promise to let me make a film on Tchaikovsky.

I did get to make that film on Tchaikovsky, but Harry didn't produce it, United Artists did. They had financed and distributed Billion Dollar Brain, and talked me into directing Women in Love. Although the Harry Palmer movie had only made a respectable financial return, the D H Lawrence movie went through the roof, so understandably they were going to look with a friendly eye on any other movie I might propose. But at the mention of the word Tchaikovsky, their faces fell. "What's it about?" they asked mournfully.

"It's about a homosexual who falls in love with a nymphomaniac," I said. Without another word they gave me the money. It was the most successful pitch of my life.

in Directing Film, por Ken Russell

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