This year's Santa Barbara Film Festival was filled with a flurry of A-list celebrities being showered with affection and awards for their many contributions to cinema. While it was a shame that not all of them made time to converse with the press, we were happy as clams to be able to sit down and watch them gab on about their career so far, the future and get a shiny trophy during the middle of this crazy awards season.
So far we've touched upon a couple of rising stars as they were honored with some fine awards, but they weren't the only ones who were showered with praise. Among the honorees was , a man who's been getting an enormous amount of attention due to his Oscar nominated film Argo. Many believe it's poised to win Best Picture in a couple of weeks' time, which is understandable since the picture has been going through an awards tear in the past month and a half. Affleck kicks back during the Modern Masters Award Q&A and scrolls down the list of films he's worked on. Here's some of his thoughts on what it's like being the director and star of your own movie.
Ben Affleck: "To me I sort of bifurcate the experience where I think about being a director in the morning and when I get ready I think about being a director when I'm shooting everybody else. I know I kind of carve aside my coverage, and the stuff where you're going to see me is the stuff I'm likely to use my stuff and then I take some time and sort of go think about what I'm doing and how it's going to work and what I want to try and then we go in and shoot. I just, with myself, I really do the ... I talked to Kevin Costner, I've talked to Mark Ruffalo. Every single one of these actors, I talked to George Clooney who said shoot more coverage of yourself than you think you need. Don't be gallant. When it gets to your close-up go 'Oh we'll just do one.' I really took that to heart and I just shoot shoot, I stay rolling until we run out of the thousand foot mag... I will just crank through most of that stuff without ever trying to direct myself or anything. As an actor you have a little bit of a barometer of when it's good or when it isn't, which is why you might hate doing some movies and might love doing others. I think this is feeling right and then I watch playback, like a take or two, and either it matches up with my idea of it or you just go oh no no, we've got to keep going."
A couple of days later another highly respected actor made his way into the Arlington Theater . is another actor who's been getting a lot of attention as of late for his amazing performance as the 16th President of the United States in 's Lincoln. Before they handed over the Montecito Award to him, he said a few words about what it means to be an actor whose best roles have more or less defined his outstanding career.
Daniel Day-Lewis: "I'm not reaching for some kind of self-deprecation there. I genuinely I supposed, again I'm not saying anything that hasn't been said a thousand times before but if something works apparently and people take to it, I'm always amazed and that amazement comes partly from the fact that I look at that thing and I don't really feel in any way responsible for it. Even now, though I'm still connected to Lincoln because I wished to be, not because I have any real reason, but I look at that work experience and I don't really understand what happened. I don't know how it happened, it feels almost as if I'm examining somebody else's experience and that's invariably true. So I'm delighted... I can't tell you how thrilled I am when people... cause of course I made films that no one has seen and you'd rather wish a few people had. I don't begin with any kind of ambition from that point of view other than to I suppose a very selfish thing, other than to do that work that you feel compelled to do. But when people take to it, it's a wondrous thing to me."
The American Riviera Award was originally supposed to go to veteran actor , but when he couldn't make it they shifted their attention over to Django Unchained director , and for good reason. The man is a superb genre director who's flawlessly integrated homages to films that have influenced his work and his own stylistic way of storytelling on the big screen. Not only is he a director but a great writer, which is a tricky process in itself. Among many topics that were discussed that night, Tarantino touches upon the changes your story goes through in the writing process over time.
Quentin Tarantino: "I can't just jump to the stuff that I want to write or I'll never write the stuff I don't want to write. I have to get to there. And often times about the time that you get to there you don't want to write it so much anymore. It's an idea that's actually proven itself past it's time. You wanted to do it way back when, but now you're here and it's not so important. I always have to kind of keep moving forward. That's why I can definitely come up, for the most part, of what's supposed to happen. Like I said, and it is one of the things I have learned about myself. I have a pretty good idea of what's going to happen in the first half of the story. Now I have a really good idea what's going to happen in the second half of the story, and in the second half of Kill Bill I kind of figured she might kill Bill at the end, but the way it happened was much different than what I thought about. Forget about before I started writing, but even after a few months into writing, it became quite different by the time I got to that point in the story. But I actually do think that, again if you're trying to breathe these characters to life and have them take over, well then the middle of the story would be as much as you could know before you actually bred life into them. Once they take over, it becomes a different thing. You shouldn't be able to know that much from that point on. Now having said that, I actually work in genre, so there is a bit of a road map because if I'm doing a western, if I'm doing a World War II movie, if I'm doing a martial arts movie, I don't want it to be an art film meditation on that, I want it to actually deliver the goods. If you like martial arts films, I want you to watch Kill Bill and see a really terrific martial arts film. Frankly I want it to be more than that, but as far as delivering the goods of the given genre, that has to happen. And that kind of helps you out. That kind of keeps you on track a little bit.
Last but never least is who showed up to receive the Cinema Vanguard award. She's an actress whose broad range has given her the opportunity to work with the likes of Steven Spielberg, and many other A-list directors out there today. The actress came from small beginnings as she gradually honed her skills in acting, eventually getting the chance to shine in a number of major movies. Although the times of struggle are long behind her, she's still misses the days where that voice of determination would take over.
Amy Adams: "It's great to look back and see sort of where you came from and who you were. I still remember that person, that person existed inside me so strongly, and I've missed her from time to time. I've missed that girl. The struggling part I don't miss as much. I do though because there's something to the hunger that informs you and that drives you. Your hunger changes so you have to find quiet time to pay attention to that voice which tells you where to go or what to do. But my voice was so loud at that time."
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