James Foley: Control vs. Creativity

From American Cinematographer, More Trouble in Little China by Eric Rudolph (March 1999)

Film: The Corruptor
Director: James Foley
DP: Juan Ruiz-Anchia, ASC, AEC

Foley and Anchia were also motivated by a mutual desire to return to a more adventurous style of filmmaking. "Directing feature films is a strenuous exercise," Foley acknowledges.

"You're getting up at five in the morning and going at it for 12 or more hours, day after day. It's physically exhausting, and it's tempting to make the safe, conservative choices to get through the day more easily. However, over the course of several films, I've learned that the threat to good filmmaking is not the danger of getting out of control; the threat to creativity is to be too much in control."

Foley believes the high-risk nature of mainstream filmmaking pushes creative people toward the safe center. "There is an unconscious tendency toward the center and tremendous pressure to do things the correct way," he says. "You're expected to shoot the master and then the close-up, so everyone will be happy with you. Once in a while, we'd get a call from the producers of The Corruptor after they'd seen the dailies, and they'd ask, 'Where's the close-up?' Sometimes my response was, 'Who says there is one?' Fortunately, despite occasional questions of that sort, [our distributor,] New Line Cinema, was very supportive of our unorthodox approach."

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