I thought of becoming a
missionary. I went to church and to college on a Presbyterian scholarship.
Public school or
state school? University or straight into work?
Birmingham High School in
California, then Occidental College. I scraped through as I was spending my
time on extracurricular things.
fit are you?
I’m not. The only
exercise I really get these days: our house is four floors, I work at the top
and have to go downstairs to eat.
talent: which matters more to success?
Both. And luck — maybe
the most important thing. And patience. And pigheadedness. Monomania may also
committed are you?
Everything I do has a
political point. Voting seems to be the less efficient way of changing things.
Do you consider
your carbon footprint?
I’m more interested in
carbon dating. I want different molecules of carbon to meet each other and get
married. I’m fairly careful is all I can say — I don’t measure it.
Do you have more
than one home?
Yes. One in London and a
place in Italy, in Umbria.
What would you
like to own that you don’t currently possess?
A private jet. I’m very
I’m not extravagant —
some might say I’m mean — but I’m careful with my money. What I really cherish
is time to wait for what I really want to do rather than having to work to pay
for my lifestyle.
In what place are
I’m happy a lot but the
house in Italy is where I’m most content.
What ambitions do
you still have?
It’s not so much an
ambition as a need: the need to get The Man Who Killed Don Quixote [his
longstanding film project] out of my life so I can get on with my life!
What drives you
It seems to be built into
the DNA. I think my parents wound me up and the spring is still wound tight.
What is the
greatest achievement of your life so far?
A couple of my films will
stand the test of time. But what I’m most proud of is the thing I didn’t want
anything to do with. I never wanted to have kids when I was younger and they’ve
turned out to be great! I love them. And it’s not even my achievement, it’s
more my wife’s.
If you had a coat of arms, what would be on it?
Cupid’s foot has got to be there. A tree. The sun. A west wind. A shrew
rampant. A key, though we don’t know what it opens or what it locks in. A
broken heart, for the sentimental vote.
What has been
your greatest disappointment?
I don’t carry regrets.
But I wish I’d been able to make more films.
20-year-old self could see you now, what would he think?
I made films for that
kid. So I hope he likes them. Around that time I became aware of films being
eye-opening, mind-opening, not just entertainment.
If you lost
everything tomorrow, what would you do?
I have no idea! I don’t
know if I understand the world any more, what the rules are for getting going.
Maybe call one of my rich and hugely successful friends...
Do you believe in
If you had to
rate your satisfaction with your life so far, out of 10, what would you score? I’m never satisfied so
I’m not sure. Can that be my answer? I hate one-to-10 questions.
There's no people like show people, they smile when they are low
Even with a turkey that you know will fold, you may be stranded out in the cold
Still you wouldn't change it for a sack of gold, let's go on with the show
from There's No Business Like Show Businesfrom the musical Annie Get Your Gun with music and text by Irving Berlin