Oliver Stone is a polarizing figure in cinema, to say the least. From Platoon to Wall Street and Natural Born Killers, the iconic director has developed a unique style, an indie spirit, and a controversial persona. During a masterclass at the Karlovy Vera International Film Festival in the Czech Republic, Stone answered questions about everything from editing to the violence in many of his films. Click below to take Stone's full masterclass!
Oliver Stone spoke for almost an hour, on topics ranging from why films about the Iraq War haven't fared as well at the box office as films about Vietnam to the violence in Brian De Palma's Scarface (there is a "residual integrity" to the character of Tony Montana.)
You can find the video below, but here are a few highlights from his masterclass:
I have my own script that I've been working on -- this is my 3rd go-around this year -- It takes me a few weeks of complete absorption -- sometimes more. And now I'm going to go on a 3rd pass, and I think this might be the one that gets me where I want to go. It's also the years: You mature and change over the years, you know a subject differently.
On Working Outside The System:
I've often had success working with scoundrels -- people who don't pay their bills -- because they're ballsy. They got guts. They take chances. In fact, 6 of my movies are in bankruptcy right now. But that's what happens when you deal with rascals. If you deal with studios you get more stability, but they own everything. And they don't pay you often what they're supposed to. So, I think making films is a very radical action if you can pull it off and get people to see it. It is still a pirate action. Now working for a studio, if they give you a lot of money, because then they're invested, you're just a cog in the wheel. But if you can pull off your kind of movie where you're signing it, you're the author -- that's significant.
In Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July, you see the effect of violence. You see a single bullet tear through a man's chest and sever his spinal cord, and he's paralyzed for the rest of his life. That shows you the effect of violence on a life. I totally respect violence, I fear it, I don't want it to come into being. So when I went back to do Natural Born Killers, it was misunderstood, but I was doing it as a satire -- But people took it literally. They kill 55 people, but they're heroes because they exist inside a system in which the media, the jail system, and the police authorities were more corrupt than they are.
For more from Stone, check out his full masterclass below:
As someone who has worked both in and out of the Hollywood system, what lessons do you think he would have to teach an indie filmmaker? Let us know in the comments.