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The risks and rewards of ‘auteur’ filmmaking

by Randee Dawn.

Nicholas Jarecki was in trouble: He couldn’t come up with the perfect line for Susan Sarandon to say to Richard Gere for a particular scene in “Arbitrage.” He needed a catchphrase a business tycoon would have invented. But as a film writer and director (and producer), rather than a tycoon, he just didn’t have it.

But he did have his actors. “What takes me a week alone in a dark room can be built in an hour by an actor,” he says. “I had all this garbage, trying to come up with that line — ‘confidence equals contracts’ — and I said, ‘Susan, can you come up with something?’ And boom: She had it, and it’s in.”

Going out on a limb as a writer-director — otherwise known as the auteur approach to filmmaking — is a risk. Many combo writer-directors couldn’t imagine doing it differently — Benh Zeitlin, who adapted Lucy Alibar’s play to make “Beasts of the Southern Wild” for the screen went the auteur route for his first film, noting, “Words and visuals to me are so connected it would be hard to do a movie any other way. I couldn’t imagine making a film I didn’t write.”

Read the rest of this article from LA Times.

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