Moonlighting With
The 2004 Interview with Glenn Caron By Rebeca Gomez

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Guest Editor:
Rebeca Gomez
Rebeca Gomez

I did this interview with Glenn Caron as part of a class project, and was kind enough to post it here. I hope you enjoy it.

Here is a little bit about me: I am originally from Northern California. I am about to start my second year of an MFA program in Screenwriting at Boston University. I grew up watching Moonlighting. I have seen every episode at least once. My favorite episode is "Big Man On Mulberry Street," followed closely by "It's a Wonderful Job."


The Interview

RG: : How involved were you in shaping the scripts for the films that you directed but did not write such as Clean And Sober and Wilder Napalm?

Clean and SoberGC: In the case of Clean And Sober, Tod Carroll wrote the original screenplay. The truth was that I was actually hired originally to re-write, which I did. Warner Brothers approached me during the height of Moonlighting's popularity. They knew that I wanted to direct and so they said, "well re-write this movie and if we like the re-write we will entertain the idea of you directing". I have, historically, with all of my television shows, never gone to the guild to arbitrate credit. I have this feeling that in the main credits the original writer should be the writer of record. And so, although I did a tremendous amount of work on Clean And Sober, it began with Tod and I consulted with Tod the whole time. Truthfully, there is a lot of me in Clean And Sober as a writer as well as a director. And that's not to take anything away from Tod.

Picture PerfectIn the case of Wilder Napalm, that actually is, with the exception of maybe one or two scenes, very much Vince (Gilligan's) script. Mark Johnson and Stuart Cornfeld, who produced the movie, were extraordinarily protective of the script. I actually kept talking to Vince about concerns that I had about it. Directorial concerns or questions, things that I didn't understand that I thought that the audience would be maybe confused by or whatever and because Vince was so early on in his writing career he was largely an instinctive writer and he did not always understand why things had come out the way that they had come out and to some extent didn't want to know, which I understand as an artist too. With movies, particularly American Movies, a certain amount of explicitness is necessary. In terms of the writing of Wilder Napalm, I didn't have as much to do with it as I would have liked. I am a great admirer of Vince's and obviously a great admirer of the script or I would not have chosen to direct it. But everything else I have done, Love Affair I did a tremendous amount of writing on, Picture Perfect I did a considerable amount of writing on, Wilder is the lone movie where I really thought "Okay, I want to come at this as a director, and see what I can bring to it as a director". And I really felt an obligation to try and understand and interpret what Vince had written. As I said earlier, there were times when I thought that he needed to do more and for whatever reason didn't or couldn't. And I was not allowed to by the producer who, and I think admirably felt, this was an original script that needed to be protected in that way. So, long answer to a short question.

Wilder NapalmRG: How did you get involved with Wilder Napalm?

GC: I directed Clean And Sober and I was offered, after that, a number of movies. A couple I got involved with thinking they would go into production and they didn't. I was involved very early on with what became The American President. I spent about a year about and a half preparing Evita with Madonna. I did a movie that was supposed to star Dustin Hoffman that he ended up not doing and I ended up not doing. It was ultimately called With Honors. And I turned around and three or four years had gone by and I hadn't done a movie, and thought I had better make one. Barry Levinson and Mark Johnson had come to me and said "we have this company, and we make movies and we would love for you to make a movie for us." The two projects that they had furthest in gestation were Quiz Show and Wilder Napalm. I read Wilder a number of times and actually turned it down a number of times. I just felt it was too…I wasn't sure I understood it as thoroughly as I should, and it was so heavily Vince's vision. The movie I was more intrigued by was Quiz Show. Obviously, I knew something about television. I loved the idea…I had never done a period piece, although I had spent a lot of time on Evita. But ultimately, Quiz Show the script wasn't ready and they guys kept entreating me to consider Wilder. And I really did want to make a movie I really was hungry to go make a movie. I met Vince and Vince is a charming, amazing, original guy. And umm… God, okay let's do this (laughs) I think it was as dumb as that.

Glenn Caron directingRG: What is your favorite aspect of the directing process?

GC: Wow, that's a great question. I love shooting. A lot of director's don't. I actually love shooting. I love the hundred people of it. I love the idea of a hundred people getting together to accomplish something. Which is a funny thing because, fundamentally, I guess I'm a writer and a writer is primary a solitary thing. There is something exhilarating about suddenly all of these people get together to make a movie and you're leading them. I suppose that is the part I like best: the shooting, the actual realizing of the movie and putting it on film. Also, the moment, frankly where the dream is still alive (laughs). You've written the script, you have an idea of what is supposed to be, you're shooting it and you believe that you're getting it. You haven't gotten to the editing room. You certainly haven't gotten to the studio or the network yet to tell you 'Oh you blew it'. There is still the possibility that this beautiful thing you dreamed might actually come to fruition.

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