In film, a medium where commerce meets creativity like no other, there’s a yawning chasm between the hack directors who churn out the latest studio fodder on time and on budget, and the auteurs who stand by their personal visions come hell, high water, or test audiences. The decision to stick by your guns or bow to studio pressure can come in many ways and, it seems, at any moment. In the buildup to Oscar season and the latest round of Sundance madness, the LA Time’s John Horn sat down with this year’s class of top directors — Quentin Tarantino (“Inglorious Bastards”), Lee Daniels (“Precious”), James Cameron (“Avatar”), Jason Reitman (“Up in the Air”), and Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker’) — to ask them what was the “moment you became a director?” For one, it meant keeping a scene of graphic torture in a movie that had a chance, according to Harvey Weinstein, of becoming a mainstream hit. For another, it meant intimidating a studio executive with a strategically placed prop handgun. We’ll let you match up the directors with their stories.
“Envelope Roundtable: ‘The Moment I Became a Director’” [24 Frames/LA Times]
To step further into the minds of history’s greatest directors, pick up one of our Film + Travel guides. They travel a whole lot better than a prop .45.