Oscar-winner Neil Jordan casts a wide net in the recession
"It reflects people's need for reassurance and fantasy in a seriously deprived market," the 60-year-old Jordan told WalletPop in an interview at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Jordan once made 10 shillings a week picking vegetables in his native Ireland. He was glad for the work, he said. That's $8.
Now he's looking for a bit more cabbage: about $20 million to put the pieces in place for his $60 million adaptation of "The Graveyard Book." Donors nearly sign a check, then back off, he complained. The global financial meltdown has become personal.
"You might find yourself not getting paid a lot," he said. "I'm just not being paid. They're cutting fees all over the place. I think actually that Hollywood is in an absolutely perfect position because of the recession. They've been able to cut staff and cut their enterprises down to the absolute bone and yet people are going to the movies more and more."
A few years ago, an opening in an alternative venue before a film-house run would have been unthinkable for an auteur of Jordan's stature. He confessed to being anxious about it, but, "I thought I was lucky to get a theatrical release," he said.
Asked if multiple viewing platforms might benefit consumers, Jordan replied, "It's a situation of total flux at the moment. With the Internet, with the collapse of the DVD market, the fact that independent movies are not getting an audience, I'm interested to see how it works out. I think in two or three years time it will settle down and people will know what the landscape will look like. But at the moment all the old models have vanished."
The filmmaker sympathized with young filmmakers trying to stay afloat. His advice for them? "I don't know, really. Get paid." After a pause, Jordan added, "I suppose if they are young filmmakers they will find modes of expression, modes of distribution that are not obvious to me."
Jordan grew up in a middle class home, but his career choice certainly didn't secure his future.
"I wanted to be a writer," said Jordan, also an acclaimed novelist. "There was nothing else I could do really. I had no other skills. I grew up in Ireland in the '70s and there were no jobs there. So the only job I had was to write."