The movie that made the earliest impression on me was one I was far too young to see, and that was The Godfather. Since then, and throughout my career, I find I gravitate toward thrillers. Paying homage to this genre was part of the inspiration behind creating Solstice Studios.
In terms of films that I’ve liked over the years, a lot of them have intrigue or thriller written on them. I have to say, my favorite movie is The Conformist, the Bertolucci film. But equally, or right next to it, would be The French Connection.
I’ve always loved The French Connection and want to make something that would be an homage to that. It’s really high-octane, if you will, but also the development of character was really strong. And if I recall correctly, it won the Academy Award for Best Picture that year. [It did, along with Actor, Directing, Editing and Adapted Screenplay Oscars.]
If you don’t pick a Hitchcock movie and you like thrillers, you need to be fired. They’re all amazing, of course, but I found there was something haunting about Rear Window and I couldn’t get it out of my head.
It’s probably mostly about [star] Javier Bardem. That’s just the most amazingly complex, odd, one-of-a-kind character you can ever imagine. I thought he was extraordinary.
The director, Anthony Minghella, was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and I thought he created something that was both lyrical and powerful, and boy, that’s hard to do. One or the other, sure, but for me it captured both. I just thought it was extraordinarily beautiful cinema that was mind-blowing. Having been along for the ride—running the marketing of it and getting to work with them was such a privilege—and having it go all the way through to winning Best Picture was quite something.
I have to go back to the movie that inspired me to watch movies, and that I was far too young to be seeing: The Godfather. I don’t know what my parents were thinking, but I’m glad they did it. It was admittedly right up to the edge of what I could handle at 10 years old, but I got through it and I thought it was inspirational.