Alexander Payne Quotes

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'Independent' means one thing to me: It means that regardless of the source of financing, the director's voice is extremely present. It's such a pretentious term, but it's auteurist cinema. Director-driven, personal, auteurist... Whatever word you want.
— Alexander Payne

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A book suggests a whole world and story that I could have never thought of in a million years.

Alexander Payne

A pitfall of making a comedy with a studio-and it's also an American cultural thing-is that I get tired of being encouraged to go always for laughs.

Alexander Payne

Anytime you cast a movie and you need someone famous in the lead part, you're a prisoner of whoever happens to be famous in the six-month window in which you're trying to get a film financed.

Alexander Payne

As the years go by and I make more films, I am increasingly interested in capturing place as a vivid backdrop for my films.

Alexander Payne

But it's just that the whole country is making generally lousy films these days and has been for quite a while. That's the big problem that we all have to think about.

Alexander Payne

Each one of my movies becomes easier to get off the ground.

Alexander Payne

Even if we die at 100, we're still dying young. I want at least 700 years. There's a lot of travelling and books to read and movies to see. I'm not going to squeeze it all in in 85 years.

Alexander Payne

Hollywood films have become a cesspool of formula and it's up to us to try to change it... I feel like a preacher! But it's really true. I feel personally responsible for the future of American cinema. Me personally.

Alexander Payne

I always wanted 'Sideways' to be like a great 1960s Italian film.

Alexander Payne

I definitely in filmmaking more and more find writing and directing a means to harvest material for editing. It's all about editing.

Alexander Payne

I don't feel despair because I am able to make the films I want to make, and that gives me hope.

Alexander Payne

I don't think so much about verbal comedy. I always think about visual comedy. I was raised watching silents, and I'm always thinking about how to make cinema, not good talking - although I want good talking. I'm much more interested in framing, composition, and orchestration of bodies in space, and so forth.

Alexander Payne

I don't want all of American cinema to be big cartoons that are just made to be digested by the entire world.

Alexander Payne

I get asked, 'How can you have such failures in your films?' Well, what else is life about? There's some sense of constant failure in something. Humor gives you a distance from it.

Alexander Payne

I guess maybe I try to make movies that are closer to real life than are many Hollywood movies. But I still try to stay within a commercial narrative, a contemporary American vernacular.

Alexander Payne

I like actors who, when you see them on screen, you sense a person, not just an actor.

Alexander Payne

I like to think of film-making not just as an act of personal self-aggrandisement but rather as an act of public service.

Alexander Payne

I like voice-over in films, and most of my films have been voice-over films.

Alexander Payne

I mean, look, I love movies, not just the ones I make... In fact, I don't like the movies I make very much.

Alexander Payne

I never wanted money worries to slow me down or make me take a job I didn't want.

Alexander Payne

I still have energy and some degree of youth, which is what a filmmaker needs.

Alexander Payne

I think a badly crafted, great idea for a new film with a ton of spelling mistakes is just 100 times better than a well-crafted stale script.

Alexander Payne

I think cynicism lasts. Sentimentality ages, dates quickly.

Alexander Payne

I think if you watch most of my films with the sound off, you could still tell what's going on.

Alexander Payne

I think that Peter Jennings is the only decent one of the big three.

Alexander Payne

I want all of my films to belong to me.

Alexander Payne

I'm hoping one day I can make one really good film.

Alexander Payne

I'm so not interested in producing, other than doing my own work, producing my own films. I only do it as favors, for other people to get their films made.

Alexander Payne

If you were falling in love and you could go back in time and relive a day and see the banal things you did that you'd forgotten about, you'd weep, looking at that day.

Alexander Payne

If you're trying to recreate life, the life that you best know is the one you grew up with.

Alexander Payne

In a sense, 'Schmidt' is the most Omaha of my films. But have I gotten it right? I'm not sure. Did Fellini get Rome right? Did Ozu get Tokyo right?

Alexander Payne

In the moment of making films, I want to share my observations of life, not of other films.

Alexander Payne

It seems that our politicians see the world in black and white, so why not our artists? Did Woody Allen's 'Manhattan' have to be in black and white? No. But is it fantastic that it was? To see New York like that? Yes!

Alexander Payne

Jesuits encourage an intellectual rigor in a way that I like.

Alexander Payne

Joe E. Lewis said, 'Money doesn't buy happiness but it calms the nerves.' And that is how I feel about a film being well-received.

Alexander Payne

Life mixes tones all the time.

Alexander Payne

Marketing has supplanted story as the primary force behind the worthiness of making a film, and that's a very sad thing. It's film only as a function of consumerism rather than as an important component of our culture, and that's everywhere around the world.

Alexander Payne

My flag is always flying. My shingle is always out. I'm always looking for movie ideas.

Alexander Payne

Omaha, like Rome, is built on seven hills.

Alexander Payne

That's how I like to do it with actors, have them really go for it and I'll tell them when it's too much. It's always easier to bring it back then to push it further.

Alexander Payne

The actors are the greatest executors of tone in a film. They're the most important cinematic component.

Alexander Payne

The best actors are always the ones who've directed as well, as they understand all the problems you face.

Alexander Payne

The best cinema is about ethics.

Alexander Payne

The biggest fear I have is to die with regrets, and of course that will come true.

Alexander Payne

The hardest part of this whole movie-making endeavor is finding ideas.

Alexander Payne

The kindest thing a director can do is look with open eyes at everything.

Alexander Payne

The most heinous shift in American films is that they reinforce good things like 'couples' and 'relationships.'

Alexander Payne

The novel succeeds on terms exclusive to literature. A good film succeeds on terms exclusive to the cinema. That's why so many bad novels can become good movies, like 'Jaws' or 'The Godfather.'

Alexander Payne

There is an audience out there for literate films - slower, more observant, more human films, and they deserve to be made.

Alexander Payne

'Independent' means one thing to me: It means that regardless of the source of financing, the director's voice is extremely present. It's such a pretentious term, but it's auteurist cinema. Director-driven, personal, auteurist... Whatever word you want.

Alexander Payne