Directors Close Up: Interviews with Directors Nominated for Best Film by the Directors Guild of America

Jeremy Kagan, Editor Scarecrow Press $29.95 (340p) ISBN 978-0-8108-5712-4
""What doesn't a director do?"" editor and moderator Jeremy Kagan asks in this rich compilation of musings from directors nominated for Best Film by the Directors Guild between 1992 and 2005. Loosely organized by phases in the moviemaking process (preproduction, the cast, the crew, rehearsal, etc.), Kagan lets his subjects discuss their craft without limiting their comments to the movies for which they were nominated. In some cases Kagan lets his subjects talk too long, but his editing is generally spot-on and lends an adeptly distilled feeling to the book. Readers looking for their favorite director's thoughts on every moviemaking topic will find the book frustrating, as organization within sections seems haphazard, but readers willing to let Kagan guide them through a particular topic will be rewarded with a level of insight rarely so focused. While each section is packed with information, the 66 pages devoted to the shoot itself are the most illuminating; focusing primarily on creating and maintaining a productive atmosphere on the set, the remarks about managing a small army of egos and mood swings are highly entertaining. Whether it's Peter Jackson discussing how to coax actors into wearing the prosthetic devices they agreed to or Sam Mendes's comments on incorporating wildly different acting techniques, it all makes for rewarding reading.
Reviewed on: 12/05/2005
Release date: 12/01/2005
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