Show: FRESH AIR
Date: OCTOBER 30, 1997
Head: Paul Thomas Anderson
Sect: News; Domestic
TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP, "BOOGIE NIGHTS")
BURT REYNOLDS, ACTOR, AS "JACK HORNER": My name is Jack.
MARK WAHLBERG, ACTOR, AS "EDDIE ADAMS": Eddie -- Eddie Adams.
REYNOLDS: Eddie Adams from Torrance.
REYNOLDS: Jack Horner. Filmmaker.
REYNOLDS: Yeah. I make adult films, exotic pictures.
GROSS: That's Burt Reynolds and Mark Wahlberg in a scene from "Boogie Nights," a new movie about a group of people who make porn films. Reynolds plays a director who's slightly more ambitious than the average X-rated director. He aspires to make movies that people will watch for the story as well as the sex.
Mark Wahlberg plays the well-endowed teenager who, with the help of the director, becomes one of the biggest stars of adult films.
Boogie Nights takes place from 1977 to '84 and chronicles how the business was turned upside-down by cocaine and video. Boogie Nights shared the Toronto Film Festival's top award with "L.A. Confidential." My guest is the screenwriter and director of Boogie Nights, Paul Thomas Anderson. Although he's only 27, this is his second feature film. His first, "Hard Eight," was set in the world of casino gambling.
Before our interview gets started, let me tell you that we will be talking about some adult subject matter.
Anderson told me that he grew up in the San Fernando Valley in California, which he describes as a capital of the adult film business. He'd occasionally see mysterious film crews going in and out of houses, and he passed cinderblock warehouses without signs, which he assumed were connected to the industry.
I asked him if, as part of his research, he ever went to the set of an adult film.
PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON, WRITER AND DIRECTOR, "BOOGIE NIGHTS": I went after I'd written the first draft and spent some time and hung around, and just -- you know, it's kind of -- it's a trip, you know, for the first 10 seconds it's kind of shocking. But then after those 10 seconds, it's quickly -- the shock sort of goes away and it's just work, you know, and you're kind of witnessing these people really trying to do good work, you know, and it's really not that different from a real film set, you know, where they're worried about the same thing.
Like, OK, is it in focus? Is the lighting OK, you know?
GROSS: How's my hair?
ANDERSON: How's my hair -- you know, are we communicating what we want to communicate here, you know? And that's kind of interesting and wonderful, I think.
GROSS: Boy, if you ever needed a metaphor to kind of hammer home: film as voyeurism.
GROSS: Being on a porn set would have to be it.
GROSS: Now, you got Burt Reynolds to be in this movie, and it's an excellent performance and everybody is saying so. He was a big film star in the '70s when this movie is set. You grew up in the '70s. Did he mean much to you when you were growing up?
ANDERSON: Yeah, he did. I mean, I can remember, you know, being -- and I told him this. I said when I was eight years old and I saw "Hooper," the first thing I did was go home and sort of recreate the title sequence of Hooper, you know, in my own bedroom, like -- with, like, soccer pads, you know, I mean, the opening title scenes of Hooper, he's like putting all these stuntmen pads. And I would sort of -- ran home to my bedroom and sort of recreated that title sequence with...
... and I told him. And I -- he was impressed, I think.
GROSS: Was that a good enough credential?
ANDERSON: I think that's why he's in the...
ANDERSON: ... yeah, I think that's why he's in the movie.
GROSS: Well, was it hard to get him to be in it? I mean, this was -- this is your second film -- second feature-length film to be released, but he probably didn't know you from a hole in a wall when you approached him?
ANDERSON: He didn't, but you know, the first time I met him was right after I sort of set up a screening of my first movie for him, and he watched it, and he had read Boogie Nights, so he knew what he was getting into. And we sat down and it was kind of wonderful -- sort of the same thing as going to a porno set, you know, for the first 10 seconds it's Burt Reynolds, oh my God, you know. But then -- but then it sort of quickly went away and it was just an interesting guy to talk to.
And that's kind of the way it was on the set, you know, is that ultimately it's just -- he's just another actor who just wants to do good work, you know. It's -- but that's not to say that there weren't a couple of times where -- while we were editing the movie, it was actually -- you know, his -- he would turn his head in a certain way or the light would catch him in a certain way, and I'd just sort of stop and say: "that's Burt Reynolds. How did Burt Reynolds get in this movie? What's happening here?"
GROSS: Paul Thomas Anderson is my guest, and he wrote and directed the new film Boogie Nights.
The Burt Reynolds character in your movie is a porn producer and director who wants to make movies that incorporate story into them, so people won't just watch the movie to see the sex scenes. They'll want to see what the outcome of the story is.
GROSS: Did -- is that based on a certain character or a certain type of trend in '70s porn?
ANDERSON: Absolutely. That's something that you saw, I think, in '70s porn was more of an effort to create a genre; you know, to create a whole new sort of set of rules for these -- you know, to take it out of sort of stag film status and make it, you know, a genre where you could tell a story and also have a movie that was basically a sex film.
And I -- so I think Burt's character is kind of based on a lot of notions that flew around at that time. There was a lot of people that really wanted to kind of try and dignify the industry at that time. Not to mention that Burt can also accurately reflect, I think, any so-called legitimate filmmaker's wishes, you know, which is: how do I make a good movie where, you know, I can keep people in the theater?
GROSS: You obviously have a real affection for some of these characters. Did you know any of the people in the pornography industry? Or have you since come to know them through the making of this movie?
ANDERSON: I've since come to know them through the making of the movie. It's funny 'cause when I made -- when I first wrote the movie, I'd never been to a real porn set. Like I said, I'd only been sort of surrounded by it in a peripheral way.
And all of my sort of knowledge was based on just sort of watching porno movies and seeing documentaries or reading a couple of articles. The actual research within the field that I did was just to verify, well: is what I think the truth the truth?
You know, and then when I did meet some of the people in the industry, I kind of saw that my imagination wasn't really too far off from what the truth was. Well actually, I should correct that. I would say that it was funnier and sadder than I thought it was going to be.
GROSS: The young porn star in your movie is played by Mark Wahlberg, and in the movie, you know, his name is Eddie in the film, but he takes on the porn name Dirk Diggler. That's the name he imagines, you know, a porn star should have. How did you come up with that name, Dirk Diggler?
ANDERSON: I have no idea, but I know that I -- I still have the index card that -- where I wrote that name down when I was 17 years old, in my bedroom. I really don't know. I have no idea. I mean, I think a good porn name has to have two Gs in it.
GROSS: Oh, I knew that. Yeah.
ANDERSON: That's very important.
GROSS: That's the kind of comment -- I say, why? Why two Gs?
ANDERSON: I don't know. It just -- it just looks good and it sounds good for a good porn name. And you know, a K is pretty important, too. So you know, I wish I really knew, but I -- it just kind of hit me like it hit him, I guess, like "Dirk Diggler," wow. That's what's gonna -- that's my future.
GROSS: There's a scene where Dirk Diggler pulls down his pants for the first time and the crew of the porn movie sees how well-endowed he is.
GROSS: And the camera pans the expression on each of their faces, and everybody's -- everybody has this absolutely fantastic look on their face.
GROSS: And I'm wondering what the actors were really looking at when you shot those expressions?
ANDERSON: You know, that's a wonderful question, and the answer is me.
I -- honestly, I think -- and I remember it was the sound guy who said that that was probably his single -- single greatest experience on a film set. And I don't know what language I can use on the air, but I sat just off camera 'cause Mark and Julianne, you know, they didn't -- weren't needed. They were just off-camera. I sat off-camera and I said OK just look at me and each reaction followed as you see in the movie.
GROSS: Well, you must have really showed them something to get those expressions. That's very funny.
ANDERSON: You know, I'm a method director, you know, I really...
GROSS: The casting in your movie is really terrific. I mean, we've talked about Burt Reynolds and Mark Wahlberg is very good. Julianne Moore, an actress I love ...
GROSS: ... is just wonderful in the role of a porn star who's married to the director played by Burt Reynolds; and W.H. Macy plays an assistant director; Ricky Jay, the sleight-of-hand artist, you know, plays the cameraman; John C. Reilly (ph), who had the starring role in your previous film Hard Eight, co-stars in this. He's terrific. What a find, I mean do you have an approach to casting that you'd want to talk about? I just think you have a great eye for really good actors.
ANDERSON: Yeah. Well there's two approaches. First is -- is most of those actors that you just mentioned are friends of mine.
ANDERSON: So I -- and it's wonderful because I get to write parts for them -- A because they're my favorite actors; B because they're my friends and we get to spend all summer shooting a movie together, you know, so it's just wonderful. And John Reilly and Phil Hoffman (ph), Philip Baker Hall (ph) were all in my first movie.
It's a leg-up, you know, to be able to go to an actor and say, well, what kind of part haven't you played before? What do you want to do in this one? And what can I -- what can I write for you that you, you know, would really thrill you?
And that's kind of fun. And you can also sort of factor in wonderful personal things about them that, you know, no one else knows, you know, and you can kind of write it in. The wonderful thing is when they say: "this character is nothing like me." And you kind of go: "mm-hmm, sure it's not" -- you know.
But anyway, and then, you know, with someone like Ricky Jay, there's a great advantage to, you know, going to make a movie is that you get to kind of meet people that you really want to meet. And for a long time, I wanted to meet Ricky Jay, and this was a way to meet him -- to send him the script and go "I want you to be in this movie. Please, can I just hang out with you? Can I just be around you?"
And he said OK. You know, with casting, it's funny because, you know, you mentioned Julianne Moore -- I mean, she is someone that I had in mind when I write the part, but I didn't know her personally, you know. I knew her work. And she -- so I wrote the part with her in mind and gave her the script and she went with it.
I have a great casting director named Christine Shieks (ph), who really has wonderful instincts. She also cast my first movie. And not just -- not just in terms of these bigger parts, you know, but in terms of the smaller parts, you know. And the thing you always look over is the person that says, you know, that comes home and says, like: "more coffee?" -- you know? There was kind of -- can look those over.
And it's fun to -- there are so many great actors out there. really are. There are so many great actors that I really loved making where there's 80 parts. You know, there's about 80 parts in this movie, and I got to cast 80 actors. I just -- I just watching them act, you know.
GROSS: My guest is Paul Thomas Anderson, writer and director of the new film Boogie Nights. We'll talk more after a break.
This is FRESH AIR.
Back with Paul Thomas Anderson, writer and director of the new film Boogie Nights.
Boogie Nights has an R rating, but...
GROSS: ... it was an -- originally, I think, an NC-17. Why did you decide to tone it down?
ANDERSON: Well, that's a contractual thing. You know, when you -- when I first went to try and get money for this movie, I sat down with New Line and I said: "so here's the deal. It's three hours long and it's going to be NC-17." And they said: "uh, can you pick one?" And I said: "OK, I'll pick one. I'll take it as a challenge to make this an R-rated movie, but it's going to be long, you know, are you OK with that?" And they said: "fine."
So contractually, you know, I was obligated to make an R. On our first submission, the film was an NC-17. You know, it had -- no scene was taken out of the movie to get the R, but it was just a matter of sort of negotiating and trimming down on some of the sex.
In the first sex scene that you see between Julianne and Mark, just some of the shots were extended a bit more so, you know, I don't know how, sort of -- I don't know how graphic I can be here, but it basically was just shots of humping, you know, Mark on top of Julianne humping, and you -- if you see his bare ass, and they're just sort humping -- if that goes on too long, that's something they say is a no-no.
So you deal with the MPAA and you kind of negotiate back and forth about what you can get away with and what you can't. And at the end of the day, I'm really happy with where the movie is. You know, I think -- none of the stuff that they suggested changing was stuff that affected the story, you know.
And that was sort of the line that I had to draw, was well, you know, if we're just talking about shots of Mark's butt, you know, that's one thing. But the second this -- any of these suggestions effect the storytelling of the movie, we're going to have a problem.
And it never did. You know, it never got there. And the funny thing is is that I went back. I was going to do an unrated versions for overseas or for laser disc and I looked at it, and it's like 40 seconds worth of stuff, and I said well this is just silly and I don't need it, and this is really the best version of the movie.
GROSS: There's a scene where the Mark Wahlberg character comes home and you could tell he's aroused by the bulge in his pants. Does that count as something that they wanted -- did you have to negotiate that with the board?
ANDERSON: No, that wasn't one. They didn't have a problem with that. They had a problem with, like I said, humping -- for how long humping goes on. They have a -- they had a problem with humping and talking at the same time.
And essentially it boiled to when they said: "so you -- she's humping there and she's talking. Can you pick one?" And I said: "well, the talking is more important." So we just went and shot a shot of Nina Hartley, and I said: "Nina, hump once, stop, say your lines, and we'll move on." And we did that and put it in and got the R.
GROSS: Boy, it sounds like a bad joke about not being able to chew gum and walk a straight line at the same time, doesn't it?
ANDERSON: Yes. It's a similar thing.
GROSS: Paul Thomas Anderson is my guest -- director and writer of the new film Boogie Nights, and his earlier film is called Hard Eight.
There's some great disco through the movie. I'm wondering what your feelings for that music is?
ANDERSON: Well, I -- I love all the music in the movie. It's sort of music that comes from my record collection, you know. The criterion for picking the music was it just has to be cool, you know. That was really the first thing, you know, it's nice if on the other hand it can work kind of thematically or maybe lyrically there's something that happens that kind of complements what's happening in the movie. That can always be nice, you know,
But just sort of music should just work on the vibe level first, you know, that's sort of the criterion that we used. And I -- I'm very fond of that music.
GROSS: The opening scene in your movie has behind it "The Best of My Love" by the...
GROSS: ... Emotions. It's really -- that record has to really help set the energy level for the movie, so it must have been really hard to narrow down -- of all the records you could use, which one are you going to choose. How did you choose it?
ANDERSON: You know what? That was not a tough choice. That -- those -- to me, there was only two songs sort of as choice for the opening, and it was either Best of My Love or "Got To Be Real." And then "Carlito's Way" came out, and I saw that Got To Be Real was used pretty prominently, so it was very clear to me that The Emotions was the winner, you know.
But I love that song. I think -- I love not only the sort of lyrical value of the song, but just like I said, the vibe of the song and the way that it starts to start, you know, in punctuation with the title coming on. It was really great.
GROSS: You movie is set in the '70s and early '80s, so you know, in part of the movie you're really dealing with '70s fashions and '70s looks, whether it's, you know, the stud look or the country and western dude look. My friend likes to call the '70s "the decade that fashion forgot."
It's the decade you came of age in. I figure when you were growing up, you thought that everybody always wore, you know, big hair and big sideburns and big collars and things like that.
ANDERSON: Right, right, right.
GROSS: Did you have fun with the clothes in the movie?
ANDERSON: I did. You know, I have to -- I have to say the funny thing is that for as much focus as there is on the '70s stuff, I had more fun with the '80s stuff. I mean, because that was just a clearer kind of memory to me, is sort of moving into my adolescence and, you know, the sort of -- the wonderful trend of headbands and Capezios and, you know, lots of zippers on everything, you know. It was actually incredibly fun.
The '70s stuff was great, you know, and the funny thing was is that my costume designer, Mark Bridges, actually we had a hard time finding some of the stuff because, you know, the thrift stores are sort of bare. You know, I mean '70s fashions are so in vogue now that the thrift stores are sort of all out of this stuff.
So we really had to -- it was sort of a massive -- a much bigger treasure hunt than you might think to find some of these clothes. But the '80s clothes weren't hard to find. There are certainly a lot of headbands and legwarmers out there.
ANDERSON: That's right.
GROSS: Well, Thomas Anderson is my guest -- writer and director of the new film Boogie Nights, about the pornography film industry from the mid-'70s to the mid-'80s. His previous film was called Hard Eight.
Your first film, Hard Eight, was set primarily in Las Vegas where -- without saying too much about the story, a young guy in his 20s who's really kind of lost, finds a father figure who's this kind of expert gambler and is showing him the ropes in Vegas -- showing him all the tricks to get a free room; tricks to make people that you're a real like high-stakes roller and real winner and all of that.
And I'm wondering how much you knew about Vegas when making that movie? -- about gambling, too.
ANDERSON: I knew -- I knew -- I knew a lot. I'd spent a lot of time gambling and I still like to gamble. I spend a lot of time in Vegas. And I really was just kind of in a time where I was obsessing about gambling. And I think in the same way I made a movie about the valley where I -- because I just wanted to stay in the valley 'cause that's where I lived at the time. I'd wanted to be able to walk to location.
I made a movie in Reno just because I wanted to go gamble. You know, I really wanted to be there.
GROSS: Why did you want to gamble?
ANDERSON: I wanted to make money.
GROSS: Did you make any?
GROSS: Did you lose a lot?
ANDERSON: I lost a ton, you know, but...
GROSS: You know, I've said this before, but I can never understand why anybody who knows movies gambles, 'cause in every gambling movie, the gambler always loses big in the end and destroys his life and destroys his family.
GROSS: So I mean, you always know what the outcome is going to be.
ANDERSON: Exactly. But you know, I think that's why you're there is to try and spending a year of your life trying to figure out why the hell am I doing this, you know, and hopefully you can get some answers from it.
GROSS: Paul Thomas Anderson -- he wrote and directed the new film Boogie Nights. We'll talk more in the second half of the show.
I'm Terry Gross and this is FRESH AIR.
This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.
Back with Paul Thomas Anderson, writer and director of the film Boogie Nights. It's about a group of people making X-rated movies in the '70s and '80s in the San Fernando Valley where Anderson grew up.
Boogie Nights is dedicated to your father, Ernie Anderson, who passed away earlier this year. And I think a lot of our listeners will know his voice, or you know, knew...
GROSS: ... his voice, primarily probably from his announcements on ABC Television?
GROSS: He was like the voice of ABC for a long time. I don't know if he was officially...
GROSS: ... called that, but he did all those, you know, like "coming up on the 'Love Boat'"...
GROSS: ... kind of announcements. You know, he had quite a voice. So tell me what it was like for you hearing, you know, your father's voice coming out of the TV all the time?
ANDERSON: It was great. It was very cool, you know. He was a very interesting man. He had an interesting kind of job in that we -- he was -- he didn't have to do anything, really. He'd get up for a couple of hours and he'd go into the studio down the street from where we lived, you know, in the valley. And he'd say a couple of words and then come you, and you'd sort of wonder like: "what's your -- what do you do? What's your job." And he'd say: "I'm done. I don't know." You know?
He'd just -- and it was a great job and I think he was really kind of happy that he didn't have to be involved with Hollywood or deal with, you know, any kind of politics or anything. And he did it, and he did it better than anybody and it was kind of a trip to hear him once in a while on the radio or you'd be in the supermarket, and you'd hear, you know, a commercial on the PA there.
But it was -- it's a beautiful voice. I think you -- we always knew when we were in trouble, you know, in my house because he would use "the voice," you know. He would say, you know: "be home by 11:00," you know, "or I'm going to kill you." You know.
GROSS: It's a very authoritative voice.
ANDERSON: Yes, you know, you knew, oh God, OK, he's using "the voice." I gotta be home by 11.
GROSS: I think he hosted a horror show in Cleveland. This would have been before you were born...
GROSS: ... a horror television show?
ANDERSON: There's -- this is something that he did in the early '60s that started his career. He was working at a local television station in Cleveland, and he created this character called "Ghoulardi" (ph). And it was this incredibly odd kind of avant garde freaky beatnik thing where he would introduce these horror films.
These were terrible horror films, and he would sort of do these little sort of vignettes before and during and kind of comment on how bad the films were. And he would sort of blow things up with firecrackers, and just sort of be this all-around rebel, you know, that apparently a lot of people have responded to. I mean, people will come up to me and say "oh my God, you're Ghoulardi's son, and you have no idea what that did for me. It was the -- sort of the biggest thing ever."
And my dad used to tell me that he did this, and I remember being like 13 or 14 and just thinking, you know, all right, well what does this mean? You know, this isn't that big a deal. And we went to Cleveland and literally stepped off the plane, you know, people were all over him. It was like the Beatles had arrived or something. It was like: what is this, you know?
But it was -- it was a very cool thing. I have a lot of the clips from that show. It -- very interesting. He was one of the first guys to sort of chroma-key (ph) himself inside the movie, you know, so...
GROSS: Oh, yeah.
ANDERSON: ... he'd be in there with the actors, commenting on how bad the dialogue was or how bad the monster looked, you know, sort of saying, like: "I can see the string," you know, "I can see the string on the flying saucer," you know.
GROSS: Would he act like the zombies were really chasing him?
ANDERSON: No, well, he would do the exact opposite. He'd stop and say: "look, this monster doesn't look real," and the zombie would kind of like run past him. You know, I -- very weird.
GROSS: So did he help you get started when you started working in movies?
ANDERSON: Well, I'm -- not really. Unfortunately, like I said, is that he didn't have a lot of ties to the sort of -- the industry at all, you know. I would sort of say, like "come on, Dad, who do you know? Help me out."
You know? And he'd say: "I don't get involved in that, man" -- you know, and so -- so unfortunately there was this guy who was sort of in the industry, but didn't know anyone. It was sort of like, you know, thanks for all your help, you know.
GROSS: So what did you do to get started? What kind of television or movies did you work on before making your own?
ANDERSON: I worked all around. I worked as a messenger for a long time -- for a messenger service. I worked on a game show called "The Quiz Kids Challenge," which was kind of fun, you know, three incredibly bright children versus three average adults, you know: who will win?
GROSS: Did you have to write questions for them?
ANDERSON: No, my job was to -- they would go around to all of the country and videotape children, you know, at school, asking them a series of questions and I would sort of edit down the top choices from each of the field trips, you know. And that was part of my job to edit the quiz kids.
GROSS: So you were like the Ed McMahon of precocious children.
Exactly. I still have some of those tapes, actually. They're quite funny.
GROSS: Well maybe you can work them into a movie sometime.
ANDERSON: I might.
GROSS: Yeah. You I think worked at one of those Sundance workshops...
GROSS: ... where -- what? -- you did a fellowship or something to get to work on a movie?
ANDERSON: It's -- it's the Sundance Filmmakers Lab run by a woman named Michelle Sadrumn (ph). You know, I had a short film that showed at the Sundance Film Festival in '92 or '93. And she came to me and said: "you know, I love your short and have you written a script?" And I said I had, and I'd written Hard Eight. And I gave it to her, and she invited me to the lab.
And I thought, well -- I was a little bit skeptical, you know. I thought is -- am I going to be forced to buy "Rhinestone" from the Sundance store, you know, at gunpoint? And what it turned out to be was this wonderful, wonderful thing. I don't have any experience with film schools, really, and this to me is probably what film schools should be.
The directing side of things I brought up my two actors, John Reilly and Philip Baker Hall. They sort of picked three scenes from the script and rehearsed them and put them on videotape and then cut them together. And all the while, you're sort of surrounded by other directors, like John Schlesinger was there and Frank Oz and Michael Keaton Jones (ph). And they're sort of guiding you and kind of giving you tips and talking about everything -- just sort of talking about movies, you know.
And then the screenwriting part happens, and you sit down with the script and -- I met with Richard Legravanes (ph) and Todd Graff (ph) and Scott Frank (ph) and, you know, they just sort of pick your script apart and kind of -- you just get to sort of talk about movies for two weeks. And it's so wonderful and it's so supportive, and you get to come out of there saying "I was at the Sundance Lab," which means something -- which means something when you go to get financing for a movie. You know, people listen a little bit closer when it has the Sundance name attached to it, so...
GROSS: Mm-hmm. Boogie Nights has been really well-reviewed and you know, I imagine it's going to be really popular. It's a great film. So that puts you in the position of being like one of the new, you know, new hot filmmakers who is probably going to get a lot of offers from the big studios and stuff.
And you know, really that kind of thing could just be like the kiss of death, unfortunately, for a talented young filmmaker because sometimes like when big success strikes really soon, you know, it's just kind of overwhelming and -- I don't know. But it's just easy to lose track of your real vision. And I'm wondering, like, what your approach is going to be to, you know, kind of maintaining your sense of what you want to do?
ANDERSON: I bought a set of horse blinders.
ANDERSON: I've put them on. I haven't put them on yet, 'cause I'm still just trying to just sort of sit and enjoy what's going on, because it's...
GROSS: Yeah, sure.
ANDERSON: ... trying to find a weird balance of relaxing for five minutes, 'cause I really did only finish the movie, you know, about a month and a half ago.
ANDERSON: I mean, we really kind of pushed it right up to the deadline. I want to just try and sit back and enjoy what's happening. I don't want to try and feel bad about it. I want to enjoy it, but then put my horse blinders on, you know. And -- 'cause I have in mind the next movie, the next couple movies that I want to make. So, I can't imagine being swayed in any way from what that's going to be.
The wonderful thing is that I have the luxury of having made a first movie that absolutely no one saw, you know. So it's not like, yes, I'm young and this is only my second movie and this is a great success for me to have, but I've also got to -- I got to go through two years of hell with my first movie in trying to get that seen, and not having it happen. So...
GROSS: Hard Eight?
ANDERSON: ... I don't feel too spoiled. Yeah, it was Hard Eight.
GROSS: Is that on video now?
ANDERSON: It is now.
ANDERSON: Yeah, I hope people will find it there.
GROSS: So, my last question: would you ever like to make a real porn movie?
ANDERSON: Didn't I? It's two and a half hours long, I mean. No, I don't think so. I don't think so. I think maybe Boogie Nights is my version of a porn movie.
GROSS: Mm-hmm. Paul Thomas Anderson, thank you very much for talking with us.
ANDERSON: Thank you for having me and asking good questions.
GROSS: Paul Thomas Anderson wrote and directed the new film Boogie Nights.
Dateline: Terry Gross, Philadelphia
Guest: Paul Thomas Anderson
High: Writer and Director Paul Thomas Anderson. His latest project is "Boogie Nights," a film about the pornography film industry in the late '70s and early '80s in the San Fernando Valley. Anderson's first film was the independent "Hard Eight" with Gwyneth Paltrow and Samuel L. Jackson.
Spec: Movie Industry; Pornography; Boogie Nights; Paul Thomas Anderson
Please note, this is not the final feed of record
Copy: Content and programming copyright 1997 WHYY, Inc. All rights reserved. Transcribed by FDCH, Inc. under license from WHYY, Inc. Formatting copyright 1997 FDCH, Inc. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to WHYY, Inc. This transcript may not be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written permission.
End-Story: Paul Thomas Anderson
Transcripts are created on a rush deadline, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of Fresh Air interviews and reviews are the audio recordings of each segment.