Thursday, February 14, 2013

Paul Thomas Anderson on Robert Altman

When Robert Altman made his final film A Prairie Home Companion, a standby director was required as no insurance company would cover the film without one. Paul Thomas Anderson acted as Altman's backup on the set, saying, "Any hesitation? None. None at all, because I knew he wasn't going to die." Here he describes Altman's last moments as a director.

"The last day we shot the last scene, the one with Kevin with the garbage falling and him playing piano. That was the last thing we shot. And Bob definitely had a melancholy feeling about him, in his face. Because of the way the shot was, we were shooting the whole stage, so Bob was tucked over in Guy Noir's office. Sometimes you get in these horrible places where you just have to be for the shot. And he had a Starbucks coffee in his hand and his coat was zipped up because it was kind of cold in there and he had his glasses on. He was staring at the monitor and he just looked really sad that it was ending. I think we only did the shot twice. I remember sitting there thinking, "Fuck, do it again, do more, do more." I wanted to do more – not cause it wasn't good, but I wanted to keep shooting."

"Oh, I didn't figure on this making me sad. I thought, "Oh great, I get to talk about Bob." But it's making me feel like I'm sure everybody feels – they really wish they could call him up. Yeah, fuck! Horrible, sad. He was so indestructible for so long."

Quotes taken from Altman: The Oral Biography edited by Mitchell Zuckoff