Film Scouts and Newsweek at Sundance 1999

1999 Sundance Film Festival Buzz
Everybody's Talking About Making Movies

by Andréa C. Basora

The snow was falling, the lines were forming and the traffic was jamming up with festival shuttles and ski-bearing Jeeps - Sundance was under way. But for the cast of "Cookie's Fortune," the subject was making movies and everybody agreed, nobody does it better than Robert Altman. His policy of minimal interference on the set seemed to work for all involved.

Robert Altman: "For me to tell an actor what to do limits that actor's creativity to such a point that I wouldn't make that intrusion.... I have to deal with the pigment, the paint that I have to make the picture, but I can't force it.... Everybody has to make adjustments; it's a living pigment, it's always moving and you just have to keep it in balance."

Glenn Close: "So few people rehearse these days, so I use the costume fittings and the character's look to figure out who I am. I try on the character as I try on the costume."

Patricia Neal: "I loved doing it.... In the old days [filmmaking] was tricky, you were frightened all the time. I just didn't like it nearly as much as I do now that I'm not under contract. It's much better now - you're you. Now I love to work."

Charles S. Dutton: "Actors know when something doesn't feel right and you want to do it again.... It was the easiest film I've ever done. I've worked with some directors that stop you every sentence, and then what happens is you do one of two things. You either have a tumultous relationship with the director or you shell up."

Courtney B. Vance: "It was a very gentle kind of thing. The focus was on the interaction with each other. Everbody added to it and the tapestry got woven tighter."

Final note: Just in case anybody was curious about Glenn Close's views on playing yet another crazed "bad guy," she doesn't seem the least bit worried about being typecast: "It's too late for that now."

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