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Roland Joffé

Roland Joffé

Birthday: 17 November 1945, London, England, UK

Roland Joffé was born on November 17, 1945 in London, England. He is a director and producer, known for The Mission (1986), The Killing Fields (1984) and The Scarlet Letter (1995).

Roland Joffé
[on City of Joy (1992)] Warners was terrified of doing a film about lepers. They said, "Who cares ab Show more [on City of Joy (1992)] Warners was terrified of doing a film about lepers. They said, "Who cares about lepers?" I said it's not a film about lepers, it's a film about life and about any outsider - it could be AIDS, because the way people respond to lepers isn't that different from the way people with AIDS are treated. People say to me, "You're crazy! Why do you go to these difficult locations and lay yourself open to these things?" I reply, "Because it's there and the doing of it will test me." Hide
I am an odd, quirky individual, and the last thing I ever wanted to be was some messianic filmmaker. Show more I am an odd, quirky individual, and the last thing I ever wanted to be was some messianic filmmaker. If something works, don't repeat yourself. Try something different. Hide
I know Warner Bros were convinced that their next Oscar-winner was going to be Fat Man and Little Bo Show more I know Warner Bros were convinced that their next Oscar-winner was going to be Fat Man and Little Boy (1989). And then they were shocked with it because it wasn't the film they wanted. I fact it was something very different. It said, a) this bomb didn't need to be dropped, b) you lied about why it was dropped, c) the man you all worship as the father of the atomic bomb was not picked because he was strong, he was picked because he was weak. The studio - it was actually Paramount who put the picture out eventually - were like, "Wait a minute, what the..?" It didn't fit the ideology they wanted. They obviously didn't read it very carefully, and when they saw the whole thing put together they thought, "Oh dear, we're going to have a problem with this one." But I like to do movies about things that interest me. I had no interest in doing a hagiography of Robert Oppenheimer. Hide
I understand that there should be a British film industry, and I think it's great, and I think Brita Show more I understand that there should be a British film industry, and I think it's great, and I think Britain has an awful lot to say. But Britain has never really loved its film-makers much. It likes them when they win things. But it's never really supported them particularly. There is no film industry in Britain. There are just individuals who've managed to do well. Hide
[on winning the Palme d'Or for The Mission (1986) at the Cannes Film Festival] I remember Andrei Tar Show more [on winning the Palme d'Or for The Mission (1986) at the Cannes Film Festival] I remember Andrei Tarkovsky was in competition the same year. He was dying at the time and the press wanted him to win. Afterwards they behaved as though I had personally robbed him of the award. I had a critic literally attack me in the lobby of my hotel. Hide
The Killing Fields (1984) went through many manifestations, and I think it was a matter of how I int Show more The Killing Fields (1984) went through many manifestations, and I think it was a matter of how I interpreted the screenplay. Bruce Robinson saw it slightly differently to me. He was more anti-American than I was, more anti-authority than I was. I wasn't really interested in those aspects. I was more interested in certainty and what trumped all of that, which was friendship. I thought, "Fuck all the ideologies on both sides, because in their own way they're both going to have their limitations." What's really important, and what doesn't have limitations, is one man's feelings for another. That has a truth to it that ideologies bury. That was not what Bruce wrote. He had it there, but his was a much more anti-American film than I made. Hide
[on working with Ennio Morricone on The Mission (1986)] Originally on The Mission, he didn't want to Show more [on working with Ennio Morricone on The Mission (1986)] Originally on The Mission, he didn't want to do the music and then he didn't want to have any South American influence, and then little bit by little bit, I wooed him into listening to different things and that score came out, which I think is his best score, and I know that he loves it above all others. One of the producers was Italian - Fernando Ghia - and he brought Morricone to the movie. When Ennio first saw The Mission, it was a cut that had some other music. Something classical. At the end of the screening he was weeping. I could see he had tears running down his face. I came up to him and he burst out in Italian. What he was saying was that he couldn't make the music for this. He was too affected by it. That's a good sign, my producer assured me, when Ennio Morricone says he can't do it, he usually does something extraordinary. Hide
I think it's a very dangerous thing for anyone to decide if there was a point when one was good, or Show more I think it's a very dangerous thing for anyone to decide if there was a point when one was good, or that one may be good now. Each movie is a chance to do something different and interesting. That's what I mean by not having a career. I've not tried to be a 'something'. I've just tried to live. Hide
The first two movies I made, The Killing Fields (1984) and The Mission (1986), I loved making, but i Show more The first two movies I made, The Killing Fields (1984) and The Mission (1986), I loved making, but in some ways they've been an albatross round one's neck. Everybody thinks that's what you're supposed to be doing. Hide
[on The Killing Fields (1984)] I had just done a television film with Colin Welland and David Puttna Show more [on The Killing Fields (1984)] I had just done a television film with Colin Welland and David Puttnam had just done Chariots of Fire (1981) and Colin must have told David that he enjoyed working with me because I got a call from David telling me that he wanted me to come and see him. When I was there, he gave me a screenplay to read which was about 300 pages long and it was called 'The Killing Fields'. He said to me, "Look, just do me a favour and read this and tell me what you think about it." Well, I sat up all night reading it and wrote him a letter afterwards that simply said, "I think this is a wonderful project. Many people will tell you it's a war story - and it's not. If you do this as a war story it will soon be forgotten. It's a love story. If you do it as a love story, the film will just go on forever because it's just extraordinary." Hide
[regarding Fat Man and Little Boy (1989)] I know from being a director that self-absorption and self Show more [regarding Fat Man and Little Boy (1989)] I know from being a director that self-absorption and self-love are very close. I think any director would understand Oppenheimer. Hide
[on Robert De Niro] I like him a great deal. I think he's a very poetic man. The Mission (1986) was Show more [on Robert De Niro] I like him a great deal. I think he's a very poetic man. The Mission (1986) was only my second film, and I'd never really worked with a star. So, one day, when De Niro had come to the location - in Columbia - I asked to have dinner with him. I told him, "Bob, I'd listen to everything you have to say. You are more experienced than me. But in the end, you have to listen to me. The film has to be my vision or it wouldn't work." And he waved his arms in typical De Niro fashion, saying, "Why are you telling me this? Why do you think you need to?" And I said, "I need your trust. It wouldn't work otherwise." He walked out on me saying he wouldn't do the film. And I went to bed thinking, "My first star and I've gone and blown it." Next morning he called me saying, "I think you're right." Hide
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