FILMMAKER FLASHBACK: WINTER, 1996
Spike Lee was our cover in Winter, 1996, and there were two tie-ins. First, his movie Girl 6 was about to be released. And, second, John Pierson’s Spike, Mike, Slackers and Dykes was just being published. For Filmmaker, Pierson gave us an expanded version of a talk he had with Lee and Kevin Smith that includes this interesting note from Lee. I had forgotten that Lee’s intended first feature was Messenger, an autobiographical tale about a young bicycle messenger. The film collapsed in pre-production when financing was pulled.
Kevin: I want to do goofy young filmmaker questions, the kinds of things that I would really like to know too. If you had done Messenger first as planned, would your career have been any different?
Spike: Yeah, I might not have a career. [laughter] It was too ambitious, and it would not have been a good film. It was not a great script. Once again, there’ve been too many things that have happened in my career that couldn’t just be happenstance or coincidence. Something’s definitely been guiding me. God, or whoever, knew that [cracks up with laughter] if I’d done that film it would’ve been suicidal. That’s why that film did not happen.
There’s not much else online from this issue, but it’s interesting to see interviews with Todd Solondz, Chris Smith and others making their first and second films. Also, we had a piece on a new filmmaking group calling themselves the Cambria Liberation Collective. The director in the group was Dante Harper, and he made an amazing, neglected indie called Delicate Art of the Rifle that still holds up today. Recently when we were compiling our “25 New Faces” list I spoke with an industry colleague, a producer at a really big production company. He said, “There’s this guy you have to put on, this screenwriter who in a couple of years has racked up these amazing deals.” The writer turned out to be Harper, and the films he’s been developing include Black Hole for David Fincher, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters for Tommy Winkola, and All You Need is Kill for Doug Liman. “He’s not a new face,” I said. “We ran a feature on him in 1996!”