I interviewed John Campbell, the director of photography for our film Alien Boy, last night. You can read the whole thing here. Campbell is probably among the most successful filmmakers I’ve interviewed, [although Robert Benton was a big deal, and I did have a very surreal interview with Gus Van Sant 18 months ago]. He’s the creator of some of the most iconic imagery of the twentieth century, and happens to be shooting a documentary film I’m lucky enough to be working on. It’s an odd feeling, to say the least. Sorry, odd but good. Odd but good!
So I have a “just blurt it out” philosophy of interviewing. As in, there’s probably a question people get asked all the time, but that if you don’t ask, you’re not going to get beyond it. So before we got to the history of Portland, gentrification, and the principles of documentary, I asked him, feeling like a teenager at a Take That concert, what it was like to work with River Phoenix.
“River had this need for approval, to find almost a father figure, constantly,” he said. Which surprised me a bit, but also made me think, perhaps that’s what made him so cool. The naivety. The openness. Note to self: Start looking for father figures. Call people daddy more often. Also: Steer clear of speed balls. Develop a stronger sense of when a joke might be in bad taste.
Every day and in every way, I’m getting better and better.