Blood, Bullets, Screenwriting, and Octane with Joe Carnahan
It’s been a hell of a year so far. I’ve been blessed to have had the honor of speaking to some amazing screenwriters and man today’s guest is high on that list. On the show, we have writer/director Joe Carnahan. Joe directed his first-feature-length film Blood, Guts, Bullets and Octane. which was screened at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival and won some acclaim.
In 2002, Joe directed the neo-noir crime film Narc starring Ray Liotta and Jason Patric. The film caught the eye of the biggest movie star in the world Tom Cruise, who jumped on as an executive producer. His involvement helped propel the film and Joe’s career. Narc went on to earn about 13 million dollars in the worldwide box office, and launch Joe’s career.
Narc: When the trial goes cold on a murder investigation of a policeman an undercover narcotics officer is lured back to the force to help solve the case.
Tom Cruise asked Joe to write and direct Mission Impossible III. The dream slowly became a nightmare as Joe was run through the Hollywood machine at the highest level. He left the project soon after.
As a response to his Hollywood experience, he wrote and directed the high octane, the insane masterpiece that is Smokin’ Aces, starring Ben Affleck, Ryan Reynolds, Ray Liotta, Andy Garcia, Chris Pine, Common, Jason Bateman, Wayne Newton. The film is about a Las Vegas performer-turned-snitch named Buddy Israel who decides to turn state’s evidence and testify against the mob, it seems that a whole lot of people would like to make sure he’s no longer breathing.
In 2010, Carnahan directed the action thriller The A-Team, a film adaptation of the hit television series from the 8os. It was a worldwide box office hit, becoming Joe’s highest-grossing film.
THE A-TEAM follows the exciting and daring exploits of Hannibal Smith and his colorful team of former Special Forces soldiers who were set up for a crime they did not commit. Going rogue, they utilize their unique talents and eccentricities to try and clear their names and find the true culprit.
Liam Neeson (Taken), Bradley Cooper (The Hangover), mixed martial arts champ Quinton Rampage Jackson, and District 9 sensation Sharlto Copley, is The A-Team. (read less) THE A-TEAM follows the exciting and daring exploits of Hannibal Smith and his colorful team of former Special Forces soldiers who were set up for a crime they did not commit.
Going rogue, they utilize their unique talents and eccentricities to try and clear their names and find the true culprit. Liam Neeson (Taken), Bradley Cooper (The Hangover), mixed martial arts champ Quinton Rampage Jackson, and District 9 sensation Sharlto Copley, is The A-Team.
Joe follows that up with the adrenaline-fueled, action-packed film, The Grey. Arguably one of my favorites in Joe’s filmography. It has some of the most intense and brutally realistic attack scenes ever filmed.
Liam Neeson (Schindler’s List, Taken) stars as the unlikely hero Ottway in this undeniably suspenseful and powerful survival adventure. After their plane crashes into the remote Alaskan wilderness, a roughneck group of oil drillers is forced to find a way back to civilization. As Ottway leads the injured survivors through the brutal snow and ice, they are relentlessly tracked by a vicious pack of rogue wolves that will do anything to defend their territory.
Joe’s latest adrenaline-fueled film is called Boss Level. starring Frank Grillo, Naomi Watts, Michell Yeoh, and Mel Gibson. Think Groundhog’s Day or Edge of Tomorrow meets Smokin’ Aces. It’s time loop chaos!
Trapped in a time loop that constantly repeats the day of his murder, former special forces agent Roy Pulver (Frank Grillo) uncovers clues about a secret government project that could unlock the mystery behind his untimely death. In a race against the clock, Pulver must hunt down Colonel Ventor (Mel Gibson), the powerful head of the government program, while outrunning skilled ruthless assassins determined to keep him from the truth in order to break out of the loop, save his ex-wife (Naomi Watts) and live once again for tomorrow.
Joe and I had a ball discussing his early career, working in and outside the studio machine, superhero films, meeting Hollyweird dirtbags, writing for other directors, the Colombian government, and much, much more.
Getting ready to take an adrenaline-fueled ride with Joe Carnahan.
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Alex Ferrari 2:22
Now guys, you are in for a major treat today. We have on the show writer director Joe Carnahan. Now, Joe bursted onto the scene in 1998 at the Sundance Film Festival where his debut $7,000 feature film, blood, guts, bullets and octane blew the audience's out of their seats. If you're familiar with Joe's other works, you will understand that his kinetic form of directing which is so unique to him, has been there since the very beginning with his first $7,000 short film. He followed that up with the film narc starring Ray Liotta and then blew everybody out of the water with smoking aces, which was such a big hit for universal that they greenlit a feature for it right away. And he followed those up with films like The a team, the gray stretch and his most recent boss level with Frank Grillo and Mel Gibson. And if that wasn't enough, he's not only written everything he's directed, but he also does a couple of screenplays on the side, like pride and glory deathwish and the most recent bad boys for life, which grossed almost half a billion dollars worldwide. Now, Joe and I had an absolute ball talking shop in this episode, our conversation ranges from what the realities of this business is his journeys with Tom Cruise and walking off of Mission Impossible three, how that affected him his career, what he's done in his career, meeting some unscrupulous people along the way. I know that's surprising to hear in Hollywood, and so so much more. So. I want you to sit back, relax, and get ready to go on a ride with Joe Carnahan.
I like to welcome the show Joe Carnahan, man How you doing Joe?
Joe Carnahan 4:29
I'm good Alex, how you doing?
Alex Ferrari 4:30
I'm good brother. I'm good man. Thank you so much for doing this man. I've I've been a fan of yours man for for a while, bro.
Joe Carnahan 4:36
Since since 74 years. So you know you got a lot of
Alex Ferrari 4:42
I mean, so when you worked with Orson How was that?
Joe Carnahan 4:46
Well, this is back. You know, Joe Kahn and I were close. And Jesus. So So I mean, you feel like a business that long. Did you know? No, dude, I
Alex Ferrari 4:57
feel you 110% as we were talking about We feel a lot of things more as we get.
Joe Carnahan 5:03
By the way, you could stand the treachery in this town and ages you anyway. It's like the president, you know? Right? Mama goes gray. Trump somehow just goes more orange. She wasn't great was a weird, you know,
Alex Ferrari 5:16
it's a weird thing. It's a weird thing.
Joe Carnahan 5:19
Lucky we're not, you know, broken down decrepit.
Alex Ferrari 5:22
So, um, I want to start you off, man, I want to ask you, why did you be Why did you want to become a director? What kind of got you started? In what what made you think of jumping into this ridiculous business?
Joe Carnahan 5:36
You know, what, I just wasn't suited, I think to do anything else. I mean, I don't think I was smart enough to be a stockbroker or school teacher or good looking enough to be a movie star or rock star. So it's just start going, Okay, what can I do, and I and I had a love of writing at a very young age, my mom gave me this very kind of, I think, very potent love of books. And I just took that up. And, and, and so I was, you know, 1314 I was when I was writing a lot as written short stories. And, you know, this is like, kind of, I shouldn't say pre computer because we were always playing like either Atari or in television or wherever. But we really, my mom made a really concerted effort to kind of push us into that. So you know, and I always love films and, and so I started when I was 18. I wrote my first screenplay, and it was garbage. But I had written a letter at the time, I think Shane Black had written lethal weapon. And I wrote him a letter as a kind of inspiring dude on a long shot of a moon shot chance he would ever respond. He did. He actually wrote me back, because I was doing, I was doing the tacky, hey, I'm gonna let me get a hold of your agent at UTA, whatever the hell it was, and not let me anyway. And he was, you know, he was kind enough to basically say, listen, send your script. No time permits, I'll I'll certainly read it. And it was just dogshit. It was a cool idea. But it was a dogshit script. And then, you know, and I just kept going, I just thought like, this is a war of attrition. And I wrote another one and another one and another one, another one. And I try to tell these kind of fledgling screenwriters if you think you're going to knock out of the park on the first one, the second one you're not, it's almost never happens, you know, you've got to teach yourself the craft, like anything else, you know, you want to be a great sprinter. You get into blocks, and you sprint every day, over and over and over again. And I thought to me, because I never thought I was that particularly good. I thought you make up in the margins with hustling. And that's so and I still think that way, do I still go? Anyway, I've always known about it, which is, he wants something done, you got to do it yourself. Because ultimately, your little one's going to care that much. So and do listen, I consider myself fortunate to still be doing it to be honest with you, brother. It's like it's it's a it is a brutal, ugly times. merciless. And it's also the greatest job in the world. Right. So you know, this dude, it's like, you know, when it's rewards, it's dynamite. You know? Oh, and it's
Alex Ferrari 7:49
the highs and the lows is it that the highs are the highs are highest of the highs, and the lows are just
Joe Carnahan 7:54
brutal, brutal. And I've experienced all those things and in great quantities. So you know, I just kept going man, and I got a job I got, I got fired. I got fired this place because I had to kind of piecemeal my college education together. So I didn't get my bachelor's. So I was almost 25 years old. So I remember I was working at this place, and I wouldn't help this guy shoot like basically softcore porn in the warehouse that he had at night. He had a video production services place and he wanted to use the strippers from this local strip club and shoot softcore porn that My name is I can't I can't do that. Nothing against a nothing against pornography. I'm a giant fan of long standing, but I'm talking about. I was like, No, and I thought it was kind of sleazy. And so he fired me on a Friday. And so I wouldn't roll over to the next pay period. That's what stand up guidance and he was and and I went home panicked. My my, my then wife was pregnant with our daughter who's now 25 years old. I was absolutely freaked out. And I remember this local TV station used to do their own 32nd trailers for movies. So I remember I wrote one for road warrior, aliens and Poltergeist I wrote three little little 32nd spa a purely doing on a lark cuz I was like, I didn't know what that what the hell's to do. I wasn't fit to do I wasn't going to go let me go get a teaching job or ta job or something. So I took them I didn't even know what the hell was called. I just called who does the call the station. Oh, that's our promotions department. The guy's name was Andy critten. And I took them down on Friday. I dropped them off. I drove back to my place my little shitty one bedroom place in Sacramento. I'm sitting there going, you know, what the hell am I gonna do? around seven o'clock the phone rings and it's Andy criminate. And he says, I read your stuff. Why don't you come down Monday I have. I have a promotions proof spot that's just come available. You can take the test with the job. And there I met my dear friend Kevin Hale, who right now is sitting about a half mile away cutting cop shop for me and cut boss level. So we've been friends that long. started a promotions department at this little crummy TV station in Sacramento but it was dynamite brother that ate me spot education. Every every form of production, um, and it was invaluable in that way. So that's really where I got where the jump was. Yeah me blood guts.
Alex Ferrari 10:10
Yeah, we're gonna we're gonna get we're gonna get into blood guts in a second. I also worked in promos back in the day as an editor doing but not nearly as yet not nearly as cool as your stuff like Road Warrior stuff. I was doing Matlock and, like promos for Matlock and, and like, what was the big seven? Yeah, yeah. And Andy Griffith Andy Griffith Show stuff. Like that's what I did back in the day. Oh, yeah, dude, yeah. So
Joe Carnahan 10:40
yeah, if wewere brutal.
Alex Ferrari 10:42
Yeah. You got and I'd read hundreds, hundreds, hundreds, hundreds of them. Now I need to ask you, man Oh, bro. Yeah, I need to ask you. So can you tell me the story behind your script? karate writer? Oh,
Joe Carnahan 10:55
God. Okay, so there's so there's a guy I shouldn't be cruel. I don't want because name's Brian Martini. He's basically like, if there was a poor man's poor man's Chuck Norris, he's that poor man's Chuck Norris. Right. So he's like, he's like, you know, it's terrible to say, but it was these are really cheesy, you know, karate movies. And I had written this kind of what I thought was just really cool. I call it like, straight trigger some jerk off title, like in the, you know, early 90s that you did. And, and it was this, it was this love triangle between this criminal this kind of hardened killer killer, a cop and a psychotic psychologist, they all kind of were interrelated. I thought all this would be cool. And I want of selling it to him for like, $3,000 $2,000 the script, whatever the hell it was, which to me was a lot of dough. Right? And then I got very kind of, you know, uptight about what they were going to do with it. long and distinguished career being a fucking pain in the ass. And not not being able to just say, do you know which we'll get to brought where I finally said, I was gonna take the money guys knock yourselves out. But it was I don't believe they ever shot it. They did it. I think they called it omega cop. I
Alex Ferrari 12:09
think it's actually on the whole movies on YouTube. So you can watch the whole movie. It's called karate Raider. But it's called karate Raider. But within the the description is your movie. But but the but the title in in the movie is different than karate Raider. So I actually scan through it. I didn't I didn't sit and watch the entire thing because of his genius. No, it was it was it was actually it's actually on some shit literally just got put up like four days ago. I was like, What are the chances? I just look.
Unknown Speaker 12:46
Lucky me right, bro? While
Alex Ferrari 12:52
I was scanning through it. I'm like, well, man, we all got to start somewhere. We all got that. We all got that project.
Joe Carnahan 12:59
Yeah, I mean, dude, it feels like one of those worlds horrible relationships you ever like Yeah, she was gay. He was kind of nuts. And I like to talk about it. That's really what it was.
Alex Ferrari 13:07
But she tried to stab me the shower didn't really work. But she's article but a heart of gold. Heart of Gold.
Joe Carnahan 13:15
Okay, all right. Hey, sweet girl. Sweet Girl. Don't get me wrong. Sweet. Sweet.
Alex Ferrari 13:20
Sweet, sweet. All right.
Joe Carnahan 13:22
So she came through the vinyl with that machete, everything else was, you know, was great. She was gonna be the one she was gonna be the one she was. I'm sure she'll find something nice.
Alex Ferrari 13:34
I wanted to bring that because I always like I always like going deep back into into into filmmakers and cinematographers and screenwriters about early, early work, because that's what that's, that's where the meat of those stories are. Because, you know, we could talk about all the successes, but we and we will. But I always like I want filmmakers listening to understand that everybody starts somewhere everyone's got to eat to curl everyone's gonna get punched in the face all the time. So that's why that's why I bring it up. So
Joe Carnahan 14:01
do you know you listen, these are you know, these are the necessary kind of doldrums and and in kind of the you know, the BTRC tier DTS z tear things you have to do to get going and get your name out there and try to try to make a living at this. It's not easy, not easy. And again, you know, you and I came of age again, where you got you know, you think about you being in this business of being a poster for 20 years you've seen technology I mean, this all those more this and iTunes does more than I ever did I ever had access to a full blown production facility with a DVD and every other thing you know, with it with a flame and all these things. It's oh my god is so amazing. You know, your phone will do that stuff with filters and like it's crazy. So I always tell people there's no excuse for you to not make something you know, as you see extraordinary things made by the amateur filmmakers. It's like but again, I think the cream will still rise to the top you know, yeah, no question and, and, dude, you need you need wherever the hell you start out YouTube, Tik, Tok, Instagram, whatever you're doing. I got friends of mine that make these fantastic Instagram sure you know it's like but they're still out there trying to grind it out to get the quote unquote shot and and and they don't come easy and again a lot of times you just got to be willing to get you know your balls being like a birthday pin yada and and you know what a great line and and that and that is what it comes down to is is your your you know how resilient are you? How tough are you? And how much do you want to take getting smashed in the face time and time and time again because that's really what it's going to require and not take the shift personally and it's only now do that I don't I no longer take it personally and I'm no longer I'm a newer to kind of the treachery you're not gonna show anything new in terms of taking up you know, you know six inches of a nine inch steel temper blade between my spinal column I get it I mean, it's like okay, that didn't you know, there was money or something on the table and you decided to go that way so okay, not shocked
it became angry about it. Right and it's the the thing I always say shrapnel like you got shrapnel I've got shrapnel like you know it could be different shrapnel and that's it I promise you it is different shrapnel but I love that you're right.
Alex Ferrari 16:10
But it's great. You got you got shrapnel and and that's why like, you know you were talking to me early on that you want you want you saw that video that I did that that episode I did about you know the truth about independent filmmaking and, and and all and how, why they don't make money and things like that. And it's this just this raw kind of shrapnel is the best word I can use because it's it's, it's already now it's a war and you're going to get hit. And that's why what I what everything I do is because I want to help filmmakers avoid, not avoid but understand that the punches coming and how to you're gonna get hit, you're gonna get
Joe Carnahan 16:46
you can't do them a greater that's the greatest service you can do to filmmakers. Like if you think that you're going to run that gauntlet and not get knocked on your ass. And get that kind of ammonia taste in the back of your throat. You really get the chicken You know, you're gonna you're gonna taste if you are a man that bitter, coppery, it's coming. And I think too many people make this false arrangement slash agreement with themselves that Oh, yeah, but now me I'm going to call coast and I've certainly seen it. And then I've seen those same people dude, get dropped in the stratosphere and land on their head. And it's like, it's just gonna, you're not gonna be able to sit it out. I don't care how good you I don't care what kind of cloud you think you're cruising on, you're going to get knocked it and by the way, you should want that. And you should want it and it doesn't matter. It happens all the time. It's happened to me, it's happening multiple times. And that's again, how you shake it up and keep going. And the great thing is brothers, you know, you're like, you've been doing this as long as you do it because like you don't, we don't age like athletes. You know, we're not a blow rotator cuff away from like, that's it, you get better. I'm better at my job better my 50s and I was ever was in my 30s or 40s if ever and across the board better. So anybody that doesn't know Raymond Carver and publishes for sources who's 52 years old. So it's like you can become an almost prolific kind of American short story writers. It's like there's always room to and it's and it's age proof. It shouldn't mean I got to be this young upstart kid it's like I don't those experiences don't necessarily move me away the experiences of people that have lived life do so so yeah, man it's always it's never too late. And you can always prove and I love that about the cracked you know, apps absolutely,
Alex Ferrari 18:25
man. Now you you had your first feature was called bullets guts, blood and octane, which arguably was which was arguably the one of the best titles have come out of the 90s I have to say,
Joe Carnahan 18:40
Well, I hope so. Maybe not the best film economy so no, but no. Again, brother going back to this this is a this is a movie that I was in. We made for like seven grand. It was it was designed to totally to kickstart everything. I think unfortunately, we got caught in the massive spike wait the Tarantino it created and no one could do a crime genre film of any kind. Without the immediate supposition being What's there to stereotype as though that genre never existed prior to Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, so that always kind of rankled me because there's used cars Bob Zemeckis, and that is Glengarry Glen Ross has always kind of influenced or Leonard does all that shit. But watching it now is a much older guy. I think the writing is great. And it's funny, and it's goofy. And it's amateur, but it works. And it's like, it just never I never I never thought it got a fair shake up, Jake and i think i think i think i've had one of those careers do that think has always been and you know, you sit here and go well, I never got my do I never got my it's not about getting you do I just always think I was misunderstood. in certain ways. It took movies like The gray to go, oh my god, I guess the guy is serious of all you know, it's like, it's like, I just don't want to do the same shit. You know what I mean? It's like, and I think sometimes that because it's not, I'm not I've always said this. I'm not I don't want to make I'm not used to making movies. I don't give a shit they say anything about me 50 years you know it's like I want to make stuff I enjoy and stuff that you know that that for whatever that whatever it is but I'm certainly not curating a career you know I'm like I think about very much you know I came from you know lower middle class you know middle Michigan kind of and and you'd like you to be a pulling a paycheck doing this I mean, my mother says me Well, at least you know, I'm glad you got your your degree. It's like mom I think I'm okay I think I'm alright
Alex Ferrari 20:28
now you make this film and from what I understand you shot it on 16 and edited it on video so I'm assuming you edited on three quarter or did you do I did an M to the Panasonic m two which was the cheap
Joe Carnahan 20:42
or I know bro, I know bro You look like you just saw like like like oh you know like no photo
Alex Ferrari 20:47
because I I actually actually saw I actually did some research and is it true that you edited on the pinnacle? dv
Joe Carnahan 20:54
Oh brother I edited on it was the other fast the other? The pedicle fast it was the precursor to the avid, but I'll tell you this dude, to me to this day. That interface is still better than avance it just is. Because you could drag and drop you could do all this what you can on avid but to me and again i i'm doing i'm cutting right now with Kevin I've cut I've cut and every one of my films I've cut sequences or scenes because I cut my cut this movie blood guts I cut it all myself. So you know I still understand I love editing to me is like writing right? It's very it has that same kind of effect. But you know you it's never that was so the ease of use on that was so great. And so but it was I don't even know if they're still in business dude. It's like no, they're
Alex Ferrari 21:35
still making I think they are like one
Joe Carnahan 21:38
to one compression rates and dude was just no, bro. Listen, when you just think this is the way people are gonna see the movie. You're not not all fuck black make it black and white. I don't care. Because shit, you know, but it again, dude, the theory being creatively, that shit ceases to be shit. If it's moving fast enough. They're not gonna realize I made it for no money and performances, right? You know, a bunch of kids bah, bah, bah. So it was you just had this kind of devil may care attitude about the editorial. Then they go now back to film. Oh my god. So I had to go. Everything had to go back to be transferred. Then I had to have an IP that I've been in. And you know, I ended we had a negative cutter. And we had Oh my god, check. It was like, Oh my God. And this is back to photochemically. You had to this is how you had to color films. You didn't have the da Vinci you didn't have like, could go into like, like, what's your like? What the fuck? You know, it's like there's too much Thai investments too much magenta. You know, you do but you did it. You wouldn't screen reels. So it was a totally foreign but but yeah, I'm doing I'm glad I got the tail end of that. And it was great. Education that I wouldn't have had, like the last, you know, those were still cutting on cameras like okay, you know, but that's gone, bro. That's like, No, it's
Alex Ferrari 22:48
Joe Carnahan 22:48
But I'm glad I experienced.
Alex Ferrari 22:49
Yeah, yeah. But yeah. And the other thing I heard from you is about that the story about blood guts Was that you? You actually used all the TV station you were working on all their gear and all their lights and anything you can grab without without their kind of permission or they weren't they frowned upon it.
Joe Carnahan 23:10
The guy I mentioned earlier, Andy criminate gave me permission. Then he took a job at Fox. And then it was one of those what ask for forgiveness and permission now because I'm not going to go back to the GM of the station. And then literally that Saturday is we're shooting the GM and station walks into the conference room where we all are, are sequestered shooting this scene and basically said, while somebody's making money on this, but he never shut me down. Elektra schinsky was a really lovely guy. And years later, dude, years later, I don't smoke in aces. Never. I was at this really kind of nice Mexican restaurant in Sacramento. And my kids were still up there. And I saw him and his family having dinner and I bought them all dinner. He had no idea what the hell was going on. He came over He's like, and he was so lovely. You know, but I'm like, I do that was a brilliant thing you did for me and you'd never you never like shut it down. You never kind of you could have and you didn't. So I was I was you know, I was I was you know dancing between raindrops dude. And on that particular thing, but Yeah, dude, it was all brother mtwo machines. Digital I would tell my then wife on a Friday I'll see you Monday morning and I are Monday night. And I would work through and bring change of clothes. I slept under the under the editing console on one inch stack wheels. I that's how I'd sleep and just cut to just just to get this goddamn thing done. So I thought if not now when? And if not now, never. You know what I mean? It's like it was one of those deals.
Alex Ferrari 24:33
And then you and then you so you do this film for it's at 878 $1,000. Right then you get into Sundance and the midnight screening, right? Yeah, yeah. So so you get into Sundance and I and I see the trailer which is so brilliant that trailer that you should that you edited for like for blood guts, like how did it How did it $8,000 movie get into Sundance and you just boop boop boop and I was like man,
Joe Carnahan 24:58
marketing dude, we did. Real emarketing Yeah. And by the way, do you know, like, like my buddy like Kevin Hale, like, look like he's smuggling heroin through the airport and we're selling kits and chips. I mean, it's crazy dude, we went way over the top. And he's little like kind of vignettes. But it was like, those kind of that vibe was what we needed to have happen. And it was, because we're just lucky to get anything, dude, it was like you brought that idea. That was the attribute, he was not nuts. So that in and of itself was just a gigantic victory for us and everything else. That was great. I didn't. I thought the first screening of the library Sundance was kind of a disaster. It was fine. But I thought the second screening, which was in God, where was that little area where like, it was the holiday. It was the holiday village cinema. I think that one was a bunch of snowboarders and they loved the movie, it was a very different crowd. It wasn't the kind of the, it wasn't the it was the film crowd. It was the 70s it was kind of like the guys just coming off the slopes and snowboard, they loved it. And so, but it was dude, it was the Sundance experience. It was like that was every at that time, brother. And I don't know if it's the same now because Sunday is a very different place. That was the that was the goal, man. That was the Sundance Film Festival was, was that was it. You know, you got there and you're on your way. My mother saw Robert Redford, a restaurant, she's like, Oh, I think maybe, you know, you can make something for this. I mean, it's like, yeah, you know, we'll see. You know, it's like, that's the that's the goal. That's the goal for the rest of my life. So yeah.
Alex Ferrari 26:22
And the funny thing is like, my dad still doesn't know what that I do. Like, I took him on set one day on us unexpected. Like I do make money. You obviously doing a well enough to own a home in Los Angeles. So whatever you're doing, keep doing it.
Joe Carnahan 26:38
I have a family of two girls are taking care of it. Yes, that's right. Right. Engaging in high end bank robbery. And right. So yeah, whatever you do, keep doing it.
Alex Ferrari 26:47
Yeah. Because that generation, like that generation goes, like, unless I
Joe Carnahan 26:51
know the better.
Alex Ferrari 26:53
It's so funny. It's so funny, because that generation is all about, like, if you don't work in a factory, if you don't like bust your ass for nine to five, it's not a job.
Joe Carnahan 27:02
It's not a job. Like what are you doing, you know, like, writing or standing, writing one? Well, that's it, write what
Alex Ferrari 27:09
I write. I don't get paid to write.
Joe Carnahan 27:12
It's great. He's got this great. Grill. He's got this great story because he and his dad sounded like the like the patio of his place in the Palisades. And he just needs his dad's music. You got this from acting? got this beautiful kind of sprawling pad in, in. In Palisades? It's like, it's like his dad. You got this? No, no, I've been knocking off seven levels. Yes. But Dude, it's a generational thing.
Alex Ferrari 27:42
It is it is. And I think the generation coming up behind us like our daughters. And, and and that, that they they are so aware of everything like they they know about, you know, being on online and they know about followers, and they know about building content, and they get there they are so much. They're just exposed to stuff that we weren't exposed to. So it's,
Joe Carnahan 28:05
I think that's the thing to start to slow that down. Because I'm so terrified that that overload is very real. Yeah, it's very scary. And it's and it's kind of it's, it's it's pervasive.
Alex Ferrari 28:18
No, I agree with you. I agree with you. 100%. And I try to do everything I can, but then they see what I do. And, you know, and they're just like, yeah, they just like, they Google. They googled me the other day. And they're like, Dad, right? Like, people know who you are. I'm like, Look, man, I am. In the grand scheme of the world. I am nobody. But But yeah, there's a few. Yeah, yeah, I'm not like, I'm not Obama, like I can't I could walk the street like everybody in the world knows who you are. Think about if you couldn't,
Joe Carnahan 28:51
that's always because I bought that habit. Friends of mine. I watched it happen to Chris Pine. I watched it happen to Bradley Cooper. I watched it It literally happened to them in real time where they couldn't be themselves anymore. And like, they had to deal with, with with, you know, with, you know, with being constantly bombarded and constantly inundated with requests for autographs, requests for pictures or having received the Dorchester having dinner with Bradley Cooper. Someone comes up says Can I get your picture? He says, Oh, honey, I'm just I'm right in the middle of trying to be cool. I'm right in the middle of a meal. She was wanting to be done. I just kind of posted up there. I'm like, see, I couldn't do it. I'll put the fucking fork in your hand. How about that? And then and then and then you know, it's like, Are you out of here?
Alex Ferrari 29:34
Get the fuck away. Have some respect. I know. I know. Dude. It's It's It's insane. But you're right.
Joe Carnahan 29:41
I've seen someone's you know, like, come on, man. You know, it's just ridiculous because it's Yeah, I don't I would know what to do. I would not I you know, I get recognized once a blue moon flips me out. Dude. It slips me out.
Alex Ferrari 29:52
Yeah. Yeah, when I was talking to Albert Albert, he was Albert Albert Hughes. I was talking to him. The other day on our show, and he was telling me He's like, dude, I was at Planet Fitness. And some dude walked up to me. He's like, Hey, man, I got a script. Like, he's on the treadmill. And he's like, and he's like, well, I'm in the middle of working. And he's like, Alright, and he waited. He's always done. And he just stood there next to me. And I'll say,
Joe Carnahan 30:24
Hey, I can't you know, you got to go to the agency. I can't. Because if I read one page, and somehow I put walks into, or I read your stew, I read your script off. It's like, okay, you know,
Alex Ferrari 30:34
it's it's, it's insane. And I get it, bro,
Joe Carnahan 30:36
I get the hustle, man, I do I get it. I get it. I get it.
Alex Ferrari 30:39
But there's such a right way to do it. But there's a right way to do it. Like, look, man, I literally got the word hustle on my shirt, my shirt and on my hat. My brand is about hustle. But I've been I've been yelling and screaming from the top of the mountain. Like, look, guys, there's a way to do this. And there's a way to approach people and there's a way to do that hustle and respect it. As opposed to like, calling somebody at their house or dropping off a package at their house burned broken. There's ways of doing it. And
Joe Carnahan 31:07
it's creepy. I like I don't want you to come in here. Like don't don't do that. It's like either. That's not for public consumption. Anyway, I don't want you to know what the fuck I let you know, come on, man. Like any more than you will want me to know where you live. It's like it's creepy, right? It's like so and I get it dude, listen, and part of me is always it's always it's always cut with this kind of sympathy of our I get it man. You know, it's like, you know, I it is it's broad. It's trying to get some but but the idea that I'm just going to jump right into your screenplay and change your life. It's like, I'll say how many scripts you will set per script, right? Another one? What are you waiting on? Don't don't don't sit around, you know, the coffee shop waiting for this one to take flight right another one and work and you got to work them, you know, you got to multitask these things, you got to keep them all, you know, keep all of them moving and shake in a different manner. You have to be you have to you have to I still have to everybody does you should I like that. I like that experience. And I'm used to it. You know what I mean? And it's comforting to me, as opposed to just having stuff kind of float in. And here you go. There you go.
Alex Ferrari 32:07
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. You know, so so your your next film was a bit of an upgrade from the $1,000 which was gnarrk. How, how did how, because there's a I remember, there's just a lot of stuff swirling around. Now I remember when Mark came out. And because it was that during that time, we were still like it was on the tail end of the whole Sundance kind of craze which was once Aaron Tino and Rodriguez and Smith and Linkletter and spike and Singleton all these guys were coming up. So you were on the tail end of that like in 98 with octane and then mark came out so exploded onto the scene. I remember people were like talking about it left and right, like, Oh my god, this is like Revelation, this is the next big thing. And I will get to that part. But man, I heard other stories about like the making of it, and the money behind it and a lot of craziness is can you go into that a little bit? until it was Listen, it was one of those It was one of the and this is the way that a lot of these independent films are financed, they're very Listen, there's anytime there's any time there's millions of dollars, you're gonna have people in there that want to siphon off a certain amount of that and and and, and it's like the scam and a casino. You know, it just is and if you say if you think that you're dealing with you know, these honorable sorts across the board, you're dead wrong, you
Joe Carnahan 33:37
know, you're not you know, you deal oftentimes and one of the guys on there was like literally gone to prison. He and he was I think he was he may have been like, I think at one point he was like trying to reach out to me from like, you know, like the baker Denver row cellblock, C whatever the hell it was. It was like, wait, what this guy's so it was very, it was and I remember, you know, they were they would we'd say to the, you know, the it's like, Hey, man, we didn't get the wire. It's like, Oh, you know? Okay, look, we'll send it. We just got to find the number. And then they and then they and then they call us back. Oh, we can't remember which bank we made the wire with. I'm like guys, you're doing the adult version of my dog ate my homework. This shit isn't isn't funny. You know, we've got a crew we have to pay. And you know, we're in we're in Toronto, and like the dead of winter. And I remember walking onto a set one day, this kind of really rundown little one bedroom apartment. And I remember I remember walked in, and there's the production manager and I turn the corner here and say, I don't know when you're going to get paid. Again. I don't know if you're ever gonna get paid again. And this is 7am you know, before we shot any you know, and I just listen, I just decided the best way to deal with the situation was just to take the bull by the horns. Listen, guys, listen. We're dealing with disreputable people and people that are kind of sleazy. And you have mortgages and you have you know, car payments, you have kids to feed. I can't tell you how to do that. If you don't have the money is not here. By the end of the day. You should walk. I would I think for whatever that was worth that galvanized them for a moment and they kind of they understood our, our plight and they hung in there. But do you know it was it was a movie that could have very easily kind of disappeared and just been this cool little, you know, but I remember going to the Eccles theatre, which is still the best screening I've ever had a movie and it just went through the roof. And I remember right after that they took myself and Ray and Jason Patrick up to the main street of Park City and put us on put us on cnn live was great, right and I thought okay, that was something happened. And, and then you know, kind of post that coming back Lionsgate Tom ortberg had made three films when I picked up blood guts. They, they it started this whole there's like, you know, the Bel Air screening circuit is basically a euphemism for rich people that have that have theaters in their homes. And so I started meeting all my heroes Dustin Hoffman, and remember like Justin has been everybody all these great, you know, and one night I'm having dinner with Ortenberg and Jason Patrick look up and Warren Beatty standing there, he just came down to like Bandera on Barrington and Wilshire just to hang out and talk about the movie and it was just this crazy and then you know, I get the call that you know, Tom Cruise has seen the film and he wants to meet you and and I go to cruise wagon I'll never forget to do and I'm in the conference room and I didn't realize that the main entrance had a little latch style lock and it was locked and suddenly the door just starts trembling trembling to like shake it up. And they just pulled open the lock flies off and there's Tom Cruise. And and and and we start talking he goes he was dating Penelope Cruz the time he goes Listen, she had a family member that had cheat sheet I knew she walked out of the movie she covered her eyes and left the film. And he goes I knew it was as good as I thought as good as I knew it was great. It was a great movie right there because she couldn't bear it and and then do it in you know listen he got that film a tremendous amount of time and attention and and really rescued it from being it could have just been this little $3 million indie that you know was cool and and disappeared and he really made it kind of bigger than the sum of its parts and for that I'll be always be grateful to him for doing that.
Alex Ferrari 37:09
You know Yeah, and that's not something that Tom does very often like he hasn't hasn't hasn't like Shepard a an indie or you know an independent or a very you know, much lower budget non studio film like the I don't remember. Hey, might have done a couple here there but I don't remember him doing that's not what he does.
Joe Carnahan 37:28
Yeah, no, he was really it was something else man, it was something else to kind of raw I don't think I was aware of how of how extraordinary that was, you know, for me to experience and, and only now is a much older guy but you dumb ass. You know? It's like a 31 year old jerk off key didn't really know what the fuck is going on. By the way, shut up. You know if I can time travel via Doc Brown and a fucking DeLorean I go back and slap the shit out of my mouth. Shut the fuck up. Not everybody needs to know what's on your mind, bro. Shut up and lose 25 pounds. That's why I say to myself.
Alex Ferrari 38:08
Because I'm feeling it now use you. You fat. Yeah,
Joe Carnahan 38:10
you know, he likes you shut the fuck up. You know? So? So So, uh, no, it was but it was it was remarkable. It was one of those like, just kind of amazing moments in time and and and you know, the movie came out and we did what it did it was I think it was it was obviously was successful in in his insofar as it was one of those movies that got listed Paramount put put a put Oscar money behind it and the campaign rated campaign for the screenplay campaign. You know, it was it was great. It was really something else, you know.
Alex Ferrari 38:42
So then from from that film, Tom hires you to do Mission Impossible three, which, which, which, in hindsight, and I'm just thinking is myself like if Kevin Fay he knocks on my door tomorrow, and says I want you Alex to direct the next Avengers. And here's 200 million. I would probably I would take the meeting. But you take you take, you take the meeting,
Joe Carnahan 39:10
but you're gonna get coffee. At least there's that but you're gonna get a cup of coffee,
Alex Ferrari 39:14
or a cup of coffee or a bottle of water, at least at the bottom of the water bottle tour. But But the point is, you know, I mean, at this age, I think we can really you know, this. I don't want to overextend myself. I haven't give me a $10 million movie give me a you jumped you jump. Yeah.
Joe Carnahan 39:31
Yeah, it was an I also think in my hubris, and I think listen to the script that Danny go right, I wrote I still think is a knockout. And I think there's elements of it that work their way into those later. Mission positive those being disavowed having to go to ground that was all stuff we covered in mp3. So So I think it was a good dude. My kind of naivete and my inexperience in in thinking that I could read Kind of Shepherd this in a way that I retain kind of the the our tours advantage which was never fucking going to happen right and not just put myself into a process that take the ride kid it's you're gonna make a lot of money You know? And I think they I think listen this is what you realize too I think now with these with these big franchises I think they don't i don't think they want filmmakers brothers so much I don't I think they want someone that's had kind of a ready hit and kind of an indie darling or whatever, and then they plug them into this kind of gigantic franchise, but it is a largely plug and play scenario. It's like, it's like, you know, my wife jumps horses, you know, equestrian, and you know, they have these million dollar skills and push button horses, you put anybody on that horse, and that horse is going to take them through a course and they're gonna look great, but that's not riding, you know what I mean? And kind of, it's a little bit the analogy I would think of now it's like, you're not, not that there's anything wrong with this film. I'm not saying I'm saying that process, man. is, is it's it's, it's preordained and it's predestined. And and you're gonna you're gonna have to understand that and I didn't, and I was a pain in the ass and and I thought that I was fighting the good fight. And I've always said told the story, I think Listen, I quit a week before they were gonna pry sack my ass You know, there I was out. And And listen, I do I have regrets about it. I don't do it. Because it was my process. And it was my journey is as stupid as that sounds. And it was something I had to experience on my own. And I had to live and die by that decision. So, you know, I thought my career was over. And it was one of those. This is one of those gut check moments in life. It's like, How good are you? Can you get yourself out of this? Are you gonna be able to make another movie? And so but it was but i don't i i have the greatest stories about that time. You know, these anecdotal mountains and that's what it's meant to be. And not I don't have an ounce of rancor. I don't have an ounce back then. I was a motherfucking. Brother. Listen, man, Tom gave my tiny little movie a gigantic birth man. He really did. And really helped me out a lot and really propelled my career in ways that I'm probably still not 100% cognizant of or aware of or appreciate. So, you know, you got to take that for what it's worth it and, and it was your right going going for $3 million movies $180 million movie, probably not the most astute career move. You know what I mean? Like? Yeah,
Alex Ferrari 42:28
yeah, yeah, yeah, you gotta chillax a bit man. Because you know, because you're and I gotta I gotta I gotta imagine man that the town like you you walking away from such a high profile star and project where there's probably 1000 directors in line waiting to do a job like that and you just like you know what I'm out. I'm assuming that that gave the town gave a bad timok Who is this guy? What is he really about? Like it must have been a struggle for you to even just get the next thing going again I'd
Joe Carnahan 42:59
imagine it was it was it was and you know, it's like for kids talking to it's a great story. Our workers are lawyers and lovely guy and was trying to get my daughter and Galton at the at the Tisch School at NYU. I was talking to him and he goes, Joe, I gotta tell you, I gotta I gotta I gotta thank you, man you gave you gave my client those feature career. I go Who's your colleague was JJ Abrams? Right I can help now. with great affection I adore JJ he's what he's a man. She's one of the great one of the great guys in this town. He really is.
Alex Ferrari 43:30
I've heard I've heard I've heard I've heard that phrase will work with credibly
Joe Carnahan 43:33
underrated I think it's probably one of the most lovely human beings you just he's a dialogue. So I say that, but I just think to myself, Oh, you fucking idiot. You know, you idiot. You had you had to open your mouth, then you had to say something you couldn't shut the fuck up. had to say something. But yeah,
Alex Ferrari 43:51
but that's you though, man. That's, that's, that's, that's that's your brand, if you will, as a as an artist. I mean, from from what I've seen as a fan. That makes all the sense in the world like that. You were that dude?
Joe Carnahan 44:05
I guess Bro, I get Listen, I don't think I don't think I've ever I certainly don't take myself that seriously. I take the work very serious. And I think right really serious sometimes. And you have to kind of know, you know, you gotta you gotta you gotta you gotta, you know, spare your powder when you can, you know, don't die on every hill. You know, it's like you and that's, I think I think that those are those are, you know, hard fought lessons and hard learned lessons. But there are lessons nonetheless. So, you know, I'm thankful that I've that I've, and you know, do listen, there's guys out there and guys, I won't name and kind of, you know, the filmmakers that can plug into those situations and understand those ebbs and flows and so on and so forth. And it's like, and they have these tremendous, they have these, they make the you know, they make these big studio movies and franchise and sequels and so on and so forth. And I always say like, I want their money. I don't want the career, but I want the money. Right, right. Yeah.
I don't want the career. I think my career is very cool. And weird and offbeat and it mirrors. I think who I am. And so I like that because I think it has, it has its own personality. But But I'd be lying and say, yeah, shit, man, I'll take your, absolutely I'll take your money. But those guys also have the gear, the gear changes and the understanding and the nuances and the subtleties of dealing with, you know, the film exec and the studio chief and the thing that I think I possess now, but I certainly didn't, at the time, and, and, and again, you know, and there's great, that kind of that kind of savvy and that business acumen is something that I had to really work for. It took a long time to develop, and then some of those guys just have it do they just get they know what, bro they know how to surf those breaks. And, and I'm and I admire that yeah, it's
Alex Ferrari 45:49
it's, it's the, it's the I was talking to an agent once. And they said, you know, when I'm looking for in a client, a director client is I need an artist, a businessman and a politician. And they have to have all the things and and it's so so so true. Now from
Joe Carnahan 46:07
Yeah, you don't Yeah, you don't and without those things, brother you you're gonna you're gonna be left lacking you start.
Alex Ferrari 46:13
You are now you you did one of the higher I love that higher series that
Joe Carnahan 46:19
Alex Ferrari 46:21
yeah. That How was that man?
Joe Carnahan 46:23
Oh, it was brilliant. It was Tony Scott. Like I got I got signed at RSA. Really nice company. They were so generous and so loving and so welcoming. And at the time, it was like Tony Scott john Woo. And Who the fuck is a clown? Because the people that don't pry were Fincher Frankenheimer blanket who did Chungking Express? Oh Guy Ritchie. garbagey for the star guy. g. Right. So there was this great kind of band of, of notables and then there was me bringing up the rear like a Yeah, it's me, you know. So it was but it was you know, I do that got Clive Owen f Murray Abraham. I get to work with Mario Fiore for the first time it was one of those like, you know, it felt like fantasy baseball camp. It's like, like, you put the pinstripes on and you could take batting practice, like, wow, I'm here. So it was you know, Don Cheadle. It's like, it was a blast man, Robert Patrick Ray Liotta. I got to work with these great, wonderful, wonderful people. And it was right after narcs was again, it was the and I think I was that was prior to Mission Impossible. So I'd done that just after in the kind of the rush of of narc and had a commercial career, which I never anticipated ever having, which was great. It was amazing. It is awesome. Now,
Alex Ferrari 47:45
the thing I've always loved about your filmmaking in general is that it has a very specific energy there is a kinetic energy to your films, some more some less. So like the gray has a different kind of that energy. But then I think the ultimate expression and please correct me, the ultimate expression of the Carnahan kinetic energy is smoking aces,
Joe Carnahan 48:14
like it is this I think it was until boss level.
Alex Ferrari 48:18
Yeah, no, I was gonna say boss level boss level. It looks it looks very it has that thing but the colors that the the amazing.
Joe Carnahan 48:28
Ridiculous past you had
Alex Ferrari 48:31
it smoking aces, that kinetic energy I was I was remembering like, when I saw it in the theater, I was just like, I felt abused after I finished watching it. Like I felt physically assaulted by the by the visuals of it. It was visceral. And it was so visceral it like what the loss was to it. At least one other two sequels. Right?
Joe Carnahan 48:48
Yeah, yeah. It just reverse. Yeah. Yeah, it did. So well. Yeah. What do you PJ pressure is one of them. Yeah, it was it was one of those again, as well as I think it was born out of my frustration about Mission Impossible three and this idea that I wanted to do something that was just kind of almost like it's a Mad Mad, Mad World, right, this kind of, you know, kind of zany over the top kind of assault on a penthouse with this kind of, and this this weird magician kind of illusionist at the center of it. And, and this idea of enter of these interlocking, interlocking, interlocking stories, overlapping stories, that that were just kind of, again, my kind of sense of humor, my sense of irony, my sense of the sardonic and all that weird shit. And, and, and, and it was also dude, one of those movies, I always felt that it was the outgoing regime, a universal kind of their hand grenade and the incoming regime because it was like it was working title. So I had I had the imprimatur of like, you know, Eric Foner, and Tim Bevin and then that they're really kind of high end, very British very, very studied very kind of wonderful film ographers that they had put together, and it's So they couldn't really say no but the idea that you could do that movie now Alex so you could have the main character or or not even make up the main character by default everybody else is dead unplug everything in this kind of nihilistic and it's funny it's like the movie that I'm doing right now cop shop I say it's it's it's it's absolute first cousin smokin aces but it's not nihilistic it's actually has this great heart and its core, it's probably just me getting older and softer and and not needing to kind of you know, do the you know, it was so so you would never make that film now in a traditional studios ever do they would never let you get away with it. So I thought that we got one over on everybody because it was such a downer ending, but you know, more or less, it wasn't a you know, wasn't this uplifting, kind of like, the guy just fucking unplugged everything and sits there and you know, disarms himself and throws his FBI credentials on the ground. That's that it's like, and they let me they let it go. Never happened now dude, ever
Alex Ferrari 50:57
you know what smoking is smoking is is wouldn't ever get made today. Like you just you it's crazy of all the movies I've
Joe Carnahan 51:03
made. The one that's been the Bonanza in residuals is smokin aces. Hands down, dude, I made more money after the fact on that movie than any other film The 18 any of them like that movie is so weirdly and I get friends and I go dude, every time that fucking thing's on, I watch it. And I have movies like that. Like, I don't care where jaws is where he is where, you know, Road Warrior where aliens I'm watching you know what I mean? It's like I'm in whatever it is. I'm in and predator. It's like, shit, man, you know, they're gonna you know, they're gonna you know, they're gonna kill ability or sunny things like he's dead. Like I'm in there. So it's one of those the kind of the repeatability and the playability i think is always something that it is and visually I think Morrow really was edgy shot that thing and to this day I look at and go man, I think I shot last week you know and that's the great that it has a timeless quality to it I love you know
Alex Ferrari 51:57
and the cut but it'll end the cut was insane.
Joe Carnahan 52:04
Right? Right. Right. So again it's it was it's it's just one of those movies dude that that it was also misunderstood. The same thing was like that movie was really for me about the war in Iraq. It was it was these it was it was this kind of maniacal, insane levels of violence being leveled toward forces that we weren't quite, you know, weapons of mass destruction. Who we fighting. Wait a minute, these guys these guys weren't behind. You know, none of these guys were Oh, no, they weren't, we wouldn't have guessed. So is this nutty kind. And then at the end, the government side of where we cut a better deal and fuck you. And that's really what it was about. And I just think it was like, Oh, it's just fucking crazy. And isn't it but but it's again, I'll never forget David Denby wrote the most awful review of the film, but it was so entertaining I love the review was such if you're going to get trashed, get trashed by a really good writer. get trashed by a really good read. Not like Willie waffle get trashed by epi lane or, you know what I mean? ao Scott or get trashed by a really good writer. But but it was again, I just think to this day, dude, it's there's so many fans of that movie after the dance around. And it's weird. It just plays you know,
Alex Ferrari 53:12
now you've experienced and I want everyone listening to hear it from you. Have you encountered any fake or scumbag II kind of people in your filmmaking paths are
Joe Carnahan 53:23
never broke. What? What? No. Oh. Doris Day, the pillows of love and goodness. What do you mean to No, no. Oh, Jesus. I mean, let me do one point my leg could sweet dead Kava in a scumbag it's like, you know, it's like you're just it's you know, Alex. But again, you can either let that dissuade you and you can price in a dick, which I've certainly had my moments. Or you could say, all right, this is a temporary, necessary evil, sometimes unnecessary evil, but you're stuck anyway. And you know, listen, dude, I can't listen. This is the way that I've chosen to make movies, which is largely outside the studio system, really. smokin aces and the 80s are the only studio films I've made. You know, you know, Boss level wasn't isn't as you know, it's become a Hulu film, a cop shop is st x, but that's still like, you know, we don't it's still an indie film. It wasn't financed in a traditional, you know, kind of studio model. So, you know, you you really can't this is the this is the this is the path that I've chosen to go down so I can't you know, bitch and moan about you. No, no, of course you don't. But yeah, dude, they're there tons of their fucking their knife fighters and, and in penson whores, and in, you know, they'll slice you fuckin, you know, appetite to the windpipe. It's like that's what they do so,
Alex Ferrari 54:50
and they'll smile and they'll smile doing it and they'll smile doing it. It's It's It's and I again, I always the whole point of what I do is to tell the reality of what the business is with hope like My big my my mantra for filmmakers like follow your dream But Don't be an idiot.
Joe Carnahan 55:05
Don't be an idiot and by the way, dude listen you you you you know like the great you were the great Katzenberg quote about you know in this town people live to see you fail and if you die in the process it's that much better that's how Yeah, in this town people live to see you fail if you die in the process. It's that much better. There you got a great learning one of the great Maverick kind of studio you know what I mean? A guy Yeah. Nice dude guy that's gone down swinging. And it has had you know, spectacular success. So he's absolute fucking literally right? Yeah, there's no any out is correct.
Alex Ferrari 55:45
Now um, another thing that a lot of people don't understand. It's such a reality man is rejection in Hollywood and rejection on your on your filmmaking path. And there is again, illusions of people when they receive and directors when they get to a certain level that they just like you just Joe Carnahan could just walk into universal and get whatever he wants made. And I always tell people, dude, Spielberg couldn't get Lincoln financed. Scorsese couldn't get silenced, financed for 20 years.
Joe Carnahan 56:14
Yeah, dude, this is the struggle. I mean, listen, you say this, like, you know, this week five guys, Jim Cameron Spielberg, Chris Nolan, Michael Bay. I'm trying to kind of they're kind of like, Okay, what do you want to do? But even then, it's like, now we're not gonna let you do that. You know? Yeah, no, no, no, you can't do that. Well,
Alex Ferrari 56:29
not just with Cameron, Cameron, David Cameron, Cameron. Cameron, whatever
Joe Carnahan 56:33
Cameron wants to shoot intellispace toilets, he can shoot. You know, it's it's about fun guy to come Who? They'll give him the money to do that. Right. Right.
Alex Ferrari 56:43
But it's, I always tell people like, Listen, there's only one there's literally one human being on the planet that could have made avatar there's it's not i'm not even it's not like you can't Nolan couldn't make that nobody else can make avatar. You can't walk into a studio ask. I'm going to need about $250 million to develop technology for an IP. That's no, that's not existing. And we're going to figure it out. And how are you doing today? We're
Joe Carnahan 57:08
not shooting today. Get out of here and they go Okay, well, we're not gonna bother you when I heard about
Alex Ferrari 57:12
stars and no, no major stars.
Joe Carnahan 57:15
Yeah, no major stars. Right. Well, who does that? No one. No one who camera. Jim Cameron. You know, it's like, but that's Jim Cameron. Right. And also like, you know, like, guys talk about Cameron's like, he's also the most unpretentious. It's like, Yeah, he's got these two he has, he has his way of working. And it's singular and you got to get on that thing. But at the same time, it's like, hey, Jim, you hungry? Here's a peanut butter jelly sandwich. Okay, great. You know, can I get a lift? Yeah, we just jump in the back of that truck. And okay, cool. He's not you know what I mean? It doesn't he's not precious. And I think that's what is the key to it is like, Yeah, he takes that shit. He's deadly serious about that. And I think I get that man. It's like, I always tell people it's like, Hey, don't worry, guys. It's only forever. It's only forever. This fucking moments only forever. Right? And by the way, they don't talk about oh, that's okay. That's okay. People don't discuss and 50 years. That's okay. is bullshit. We have this moment in time right now. Let's it's only forever, you know? And and that's it, right? It's like, Fuck, this is it man. This is what they're gonna see from now until the end of time. So goddamn. Take a beat do it right. And I think that's what Cameron is exceedingly brilliant at like, I'm going to do it this way. Listen, watch this. Watch aliens do it's as good now as it was an absolutely, absolutely. It is great. Now as it's a it is a crackerjack sci fi war thriller. That's just dynamite. You know, and, and he took everything that Ridley did and just weaponized it and just shot it with steroids. And it's like it. You know what I mean? Everything. All the beats are there. He just made him expansive. But I yeah, you're right. It's that guy. That guy and that guy alone? can get it done?
Alex Ferrari 58:47
Nope, not Spielberg, not that you're right. Nobody else on the planet. And you can fit and, and I think someone asked him that, like, how does it feel to be like, one of the only people in the world to be able to do something like that? Because there's like, there's a hand there's like five guys, like you just listed off a bunch of them that will get that kind of budget. And again, those kind of budgets are dependent on things, but cameras, it's not dependent on any anything else. It's insane. No,
Joe Carnahan 59:17
it's not exactly. It's just it's it's his it's what Jim wants to do. You know, and whenever when that he's gonna fall. That's amazing, dude. That's amazing. You know, what I would want that responsibility.
Alex Ferrari 59:28
Because 500 million
Joe Carnahan 59:30
fuck off and go do a $5 million film. So he can't there's there's and there's and there's an it there's a different kind of freedom and that he can't do that because expectations are too great. You know, I I don't think that is that. That is not freedom. That's that's a set of expectations that you must meet. You know, it's like Chris Nolan. Do mementos and I think that's a fucking genius. No, it's a brilliant movie. Can you go do memento again, you know, yeah, it's a well it's Chris Nolan. You know, it's like, right. So I worried that that's like and I want to see him do that again I want to see him do mentors are following was a great movies, you know? Well,
Alex Ferrari 1:00:08
you know no makeup Jeff but like that brings me to your film stretch because that's that was exactly what that was because you've been you've been playing in the in the in the semi studio and studio and like $20 million 50 like you were at a higher level, and then you like Screw it. I want to make stretch for I think you want to three to five, I think it was like three to five, right?
Joe Carnahan 1:00:29
Yeah, yeah, it was I think it was just under $5 million movie. Yeah. Right. So it was to me is one of the most talented guys I've ever worked with. And it's a joy and funniest shit and, and I adored it. I loved working on a film, but it was it was Jason Blum. And it was one of those things. It's like, listen to it, again, Jason's business model. You know, we're gonna do we're gonna make 10 of these fuckers and maybe one of them punches through. But and again, even that I was antagonistic about you know, it's like and, and because I thought, well, you know, we're gonna do you know, we should do this, you should want to, that doesn't mean it's gonna fit the studio calculus man with what they want to release and so on. So it doesn't matter. I love that little moodiness and it's just like, and I and I had a blast making it. I was making the blacklist at the same time. So it's kind of like, okay, cool, man. I'll do the big, you know, kind of fuck off TV pilot series, and I want to go make this little indie you know, because that piqued my interest. I thought it was you know, I thought it was, you know, funny. I literally messed around with like, a couple weeks ago, I was like, shit, man, I
Alex Ferrari 1:01:26
just, I mean, one just,
Joe Carnahan 1:01:27
I mean, shoot an entire film on an iPhone and cut it on iMovie just to see if I could do it. You know what I mean? Like, make a feature on an iPhone and not like, like, Swinburne made unsane. But they had they said $50,000 Panasonic, you know, painted, you know, painted vision lenses on those, you know, I mean, you still got like the G Series. I mean, that's a fucking that's a that's a that's a beautiful piece of glass, dude. So it is it is so, but really shoot it on an iPhone and say, Okay, what can you do on an iPhone and iMovie? What? How good are you? You know what I mean? Are you just full of shit? And literally say it's like, it's like the dogma thing you know, back in the day with Yeah, with the parent like Benjamin all those guys like, dominated by things like, you can only use an iPhone you can only use iMovie up use all the effects and all the music that are contained within iMovie and you got to make a feature. That to me is exciting. That's fucking cool. Now I'll probably never do it. Talk a lot of shit. But I mean, look, look, I
Alex Ferrari 1:02:21
mean, I I did my my last feature I did for about three, four grand, and it was shot on a pan of pocket camera 1080 p pocket camera. And I just ran a Sundance and shot an entire movie completely guerrilla at Sundance, about filmmakers trying to about trying to three filmmakers trying to sell their movie at Sundance and the ridiculousness of what filmmakers are at their core, the egocentric TV. Yeah, that's what I did. I shot in four days. And I came back. It was so much fun. Like I've worked on much bigger budget stuff. And I just like, I was like, You know what, I want to see if I can do it. And I want to leave something behind as a call, like a love letter to filmmakers. And I just want to see And see And see what I could do. And dude, because it was so little budget, I was like, I don't know if I got a movie. Like we shot 36 hours. Like it was a 36 hours over for four days. And I on the plane back and it was like, Do you have something like I don't know. I didn't have time to just know
Joe Carnahan 1:03:17
it in there. Yeah, dude, and I just wanted it. That's fun. Now, are you still messing with it? Is it? Oh, no, dude, it's
Alex Ferrari 1:03:23
been released already? Yeah, got it. Got it. Well premiered at rain, dance and stuff. I'll send you a link.
Joe Carnahan 1:03:27
I'll send you a link to see it. What's it called? I want to see it. Where can I see it up
Alex Ferrari 1:03:30
on the corner of ego and desire? Oh, that's great. What
Unknown Speaker 1:03:34
a great title. title.
Joe Carnahan 1:03:37
CDC you see these days? I'm
like, Guys, what the fuck are you talking about? Do you know how lucky you are to be doing this goddamn line? Are you out of your fucking mind?
Alex Ferrari 1:03:46
Just get up and do it. Like my like I always tell filmmakers and I did it. Also, as a case study to show filmmakers. I'm like, I don't look, you don't need an Alexa. You don't have a $50,000 glass. You don't need all this stuff. If you keep the budget super low, do whatever the hell you want. Now, if you would have given me $250,000 to make that movie, I would probably say no, because that story. And that audience doesn't justify that budget. And unless it was money that I could throw away. So you have to be physically responsible. But three or four grand, who gives a shit, do whatever the hell you want. And people love it. And it's been like in within my community. Really.
Joe Carnahan 1:04:21
It's, it's but that's dynamite.
Alex Ferrari 1:04:24
But that kind of goes to your point. By the way, that was two months and about, it was about six to eight weeks prior to Sundance, like me and my being my buddy just like, hey, we've got a million dollar suite that we're staying in on a main street. Shoot, let's go shoot a movie. All right, and that just kind of like let's do this, this, this, this and this. Just look at that, and that and that freedom. And I've talked to other filmmakers about it too, and they just like, look at me. They're like, Man, what was that freedom, like? Like I had three crew members. I had the DP I had the sound guy. I had myself and I had the three actors who I never met. Who I never, who I'd never met, I only Skype them. And I cast them from New York influence. I first met them. Oh, that's so it was completely and it was it was it was kind of like a Kirby enthusiasm, more improv like very structured story, but the dialogue was improvised and I was just like,
Joe Carnahan 1:05:20
which is the Mike Lee Ken Loach, you know, kind of way of the eight. Yeah,
Alex Ferrari 1:05:24
just once for Mark duplass. Yeah, that whole
Joe Carnahan 1:05:26
Yeah, exactly. Dude. Exactly. Right. That's, I mean, that's dynamite like that. Yeah. And it's like, if you I guess if you get away from that stuff, then you know, you you stop being able to do I'm really freaking, who's a huge fan of it right? saying, Ah, I wish I could make a movie like that again. I wish I could just make a simply, why can't you? Why can't you and I understand what that because the expectations were? Well, it's really freakin it's got to be x. And I think when you get that's when you start to crawl up your own ass if you think you can't do that stuff. And that's why I always admire guys like Soderbergh who just says pocket man, I'm just gonna subvert because I want to and because it's fun to me. And it's interesting, you know, and I'm going to give you any number of of looks, and I don't really care how these things are quantified. Because everyone's so I'll remind you, that how great I am by doing fucking oceans like doing studio who's better than anyone else as a studio movie, and then fucking turn onto a magic mic and make it a mid off, you know, like, it's like, you know what I mean? So it's like that, to me is is is a real is a is a career worth really examining and studying, I love him. Dynamite.
Alex Ferrari 1:06:32
And he was the one and he launched Sundance. He's the one
Joe Carnahan 1:06:36
he did sex licensing, as a filmmaker do was was his sexualizing videotape, the companion that had the screenplay and his kind of diary. And it was it was it was absolute composer's absolute must read for me to kind of get my head around. You know, what the indie film scene was like? And it was it was massively helpful. That still is that you really learned anything about yourself is like, I just did this whole thing. Like I listened to Lauren green song Ringo, and put my two daughters Mike at the time, they were like, five, and they lip sync the whole song. And I did, and I had more fun doing that than I had done. You know, literally, I had more fun doing that, and got a bigger kick out of that than I have. Like, it was just messing around, you know.
Alex Ferrari 1:07:14
And that's what Rob like Robert Rodriguez. Does that all the time with his kids in the back?
Joe Carnahan 1:07:19
Did Robert Yeah, he's Yeah, dude. Yeah.
Alex Ferrari 1:07:21
Robert Roberts, Robert, Robert, dude. But did you see that way? I'm assuming I'm assuming you've seen Mandalorian. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Joe Carnahan 1:07:40
You know what, dude, I've watched. I haven't watched a second season Mandalorian it was slow to get to it because I think I was kind of burned out on Star Wars for a minute.
Alex Ferrari 1:07:47
Yeah. Alright. So the episode that Robert did, which is which is a it's I think Episode Five was so it's so Robert, first of all, but he later in the behind the scenes. He actually, before he went to shoot it, he didn't have time to storyboard it. So he went in the backyard with Stormtrooper figures and shot and did a did a kind of rip ematic of the scene. He takes it to john Favre and Dave alone millennium. And he goes, Yeah, here's what I want to do. And he's and Dave, just like, halfway through. He goes all asking staffers like, Did you just go in your backyard and shoot this with, like, action figures, Star Wars action figures? And he and Roberts like, yeah, that's, that's all I had. I didn't have time to do it properly. Like, that is the coolest thing I've ever seen in my life. It was just
Joe Carnahan 1:08:34
no pretense Roberts, a filmmaker, he's gonna he's gonna go out and do his thing. You know, it's like, it's like, he did it. I remember seeing he had done this many years ago now. With Rose McGowan. He had done. He tried us, but he'd shown me a sizzle reel. He just shot with her. Behind the scenes. The lady in the blue dress was a sensitive thing with her with blond hair and blue eyes in the rain. And it was like, Whoa, he said, Yeah, just he shot it in an afternoon. As a proof of concept. I'm like, dude, on his computer, you know? Like, he's got that. And then and then he grabs a guitar and like, I'm like, no crank out like the score. I mean, it's fucking it's, you know, it's just another level of cool that I'm not. You know,
Alex Ferrari 1:09:15
it's absolutely insane.
Joe Carnahan 1:09:19
It's just bananas. It really is, dude.
Alex Ferrari 1:09:21
So dude, honestly, the gray your film, the gray dude is arguably I just I think Love, love, love that film. And they marketed it so beautifully. Like, oh, wait a minute. Liam Neeson is gonna strap on some bottles and fight
Joe Carnahan 1:09:37
by default and we'll
Alex Ferrari 1:09:38
find a fucking Well, that was that was that was just loke that's high concept as you can.
Joe Carnahan 1:09:45
And it was like, yeah, and dude, it was one of those things too. It's like I remember we had like, you know, like a two hour and 25 minute, you know, you know mediation, life and death with occasional wolf attacks. It became an hour and 45 minute wolf attack with occasional mediations online and it was you know what it is like? You don't I mean it's like it was like you know it's like you know you you did you we change the the the the the polarity of that entire movie because we understood like you this way you need to give the odds but that ending was always It was never source poppers like listen the guys made a choice how he's going to die and that's all you need to see after that it's superfluous doesn't we don't need to fight because we had a fight we had we caught a whole fight and I was just was never a fan of it and you see a little and one of the flashbacks, the wolf snapping his face that was from the fight. And we use that as kind of a nightmare to jar him out of the sleep, but it was like, it was more and it not because, you know, can be nicotero and Harberger those guys made that these great kind of, you know, snapping puppet ends and the alpha and, and, and but it was one of those it's weird too because I feel like I'll spend the rest of my career chasing what it felt like to make that movie which was we were we were we were having this adventure and we just have been making a movie at the same time. You know, we were up in like, in Smithers, British Columbia in that like in the in the deep deep snow we got blown off the mountain twice I would snowblind I'd never I mean, you know like you You don't know what that's like your eyes just constantly buzzed focus, because you don't have any sense of background. And and then I stayed out there out where we were this cabin and I'm telling you dude, at six o'clock at night is pitch black. And it's it is a quiet like, you will never experience in your life that that quiet. Which must sound like what like what it was sound like when no one's coming for you. You're dead out. It was like, thank God, you know, but like it was it was Yeah, it was it was a remarkable experience. Dude, it was very much about you know, where I was, like, people ask me it's like, it's funny. Like, you get asked about films where and my I'm always at a loss because I go, I don't really know that guy. I knew that guy. I was that guy. I don't know what the fuck that guy was thinking I so I'm not really, I could give you I could give you an approximation of what I what it was about to me. But I've heard theories about the film that are far more interesting and intriguing and smarter than anything I've ever come up with, you know what I mean? So you know, those things, just let it go. It's like, it's, it's out there. It's gonna it's gonna speak to different people in different ways. And you have to just allow that, those translations to take place because you Who are you to say what the fuck it should mean? You know, I know what it means to me. I know what it's about.
Alex Ferrari 1:12:15
I mean, he, I mean, I mean, obviously diehard is the greatest Christmas movie of all time. Now, that wasn't the intention. But it
Joe Carnahan 1:12:24
has become that way has become the again duty to you, you know, your, whatever those things are, whatever those you know, I've had people send me pictures, I tattooed a poem on their arm. I'm like Jesus Christ. You know, it's like, which is dynamite. But but it's a little it's also, you know, it's like, it's a bit overkill, but I get it, man. I've had people say, Listen, my dad was dying during that time. And that movie meant a lot to us. Oh, man, you know, it's like, wow, it's the heart. It's amazing, dude. So, again, that's for it to do anything that approaches that kind of, I'm so thrilled Dude, that it did that. And again, you can't it's like a kid you sent out to college, and he winds up, you know, you know, being successful and you're kind of just in orbit but but that's his, those all movies have their own existence, you release them and then they do their thing. And then they grow and mature and, and take on qualities that you could have never foreseen and that's always that's such a lovely thing about this about about making films that they really evolve. Yeah. wonderful ways.
Alex Ferrari 1:13:27
You know, now you, you, you, you lose. A lot of people don't know this, but you also write everything you do. So yeah, pretty much you have a hand in everything you do. And you also just wrote like one of this year's big or last year's biggest movies, bad boys. The new bad when I saw anytime I see your name come up on a screen, dude. I'm like, aware of this gonna be fun. Like I just like I always, I'm always like, when I saw the blacklist and like others, okay, I got, I guess Joe's doing this. That's it, it's gonna be fun.
Joe Carnahan 1:13:59
Because you're a good time, dude, you're in for
Alex Ferrari 1:14:01
you. This is gonna be fun, I don't care what it is. It's gonna be interesting. It's gonna be fun, let's let's rock. And that's and that's the brand that you've you've cultivated over over the course of your career. And for guys like me, who kind of grew up at the, you know, similar similar vintages as far as age is concerned, and seeing what you've done. I'm like, Oh, I that's okay, this job I get what you're gonna do. So what is what is your writing process to because you're prolific
Joe Carnahan 1:14:26
as a writer, you write a lot? Or do I right now it's funny, man. You know, you're not I'm not in the zone. I've been in the zone for a while, because I haven't really been writing and, and, you know, so. But, you know, it takes me it takes me a day or two, like, I'll usually go somewhere and just get so I'm alone and I could focus and it'll be a day or so. Be just tinkering around and dicking around until I start to get that thing moving. And then once it's moving, it's great. But it's like, you know, it's like, it's like juggernaut the complicated once you start going in one direction, he's just gonna keep going. It's gonna run through shit. And that's kind of how it is right? Like you're just gonna you have I had the keep that momentum. But it's but But listen, sometimes, you know, I'll write a page in a day, sometimes I write 10 pages just depends, it's really, but it's but it's my, it's the kind of the erstwhile it's my most favorite thing to do, therapeutically and creatively is to write still, because I just take great comfort in it, because I can really, you know, and I've been doing it a long time, dude, and it you know, after any, hopefully, you know, you've been doing it for 30 years, you start to get good at it, or you understand the kind of the ebbs and flows of structure and character and dialogue, and so on. So, it's a lot of, you know, I don't do like vomit, drafts, I don't just jam, I take my time, and I write refined stuff, and then I rewrite, and then I refine, and I rewrite, find more. So I never just, you know, plow something out there for kind of general consumption, it's got to be kind of, I put a lot of fuckin, you know, a lot of a lot of heat on a lot eyes on a lot of TLC, because I just think that's what you know, but, but it is, it is a it is a process to get into that mode. You know what I mean? And you think because I'm editing right now, it's it's kind of a companion pieces writing, it's really not, it is a writing process. It's just not actual writing. So you're asking me this. Now, if I was writing, I'd have a much more fluid, I wouldn't seem a lot more confident. But right now.
Alex Ferrari 1:16:26
I don't know. I don't know if I'll ever write again. I don't know. But that's your, you know, dude, like, when I'm writing when I'm writing, like, when I write my books or things like that, like, you get down that road and you just start, you start writing and write and write and write and write. And then you stop. And you just like, Can I start this up again? Like it's, it's that it isn't meant
Joe Carnahan 1:16:46
to stay in it. I have to really stay in it. Yeah, if more than two days, three days without right. It's hard to get, it's hard to get back in. And I'll find myself waking up at odd hours to get to go back and keep moving. And again, sometimes these are little pyrrhic victories sometimes they're big kind of swaths of stuff that you covered. But but but it's it is in the best of scenarios. It is it is not excruciating, but it can be and there's scripts I've written to that, you know, like my script for death wish is still the Best Screenplay I've ever written. I think it's my Best Screenplay. Because it was a total pain to kind of the ideas of the way that the gray was about being you know, this kind of macho bravado and who what we're expected to be as men and so on so deadly is very much sad but it's like you know are my my core coward Am i would i if faced with these things, so I wrote this kind of pan to that pain and and and this the emergent killer in this guy, we realize oh, you're this you're a doctor. But that's the fraud. You're actually a killer. That's who you are. this other thing is, you know, your your your you know, your Mr. Hyde masquerading as Dr. Jekyll but you've always been Mr. High. So it was and do you know, I had to like, sit and watch that thing be sad in a way that I did not agree with. There was nothing like my screenplay, right? But I took and so you shut the fuck up. And I did you know, and not that I can't say it's like a man doesn't matter what the hell I think of it. You know, it's like, it was not it was mine was very, very different. But it was one of those things where I pull it out. Do not go boy, ain't you ain't that guy. You ain't that guy. You know, but dude, at the same time, I remember writing it on scotch and probably cocaine. Like, a little bit of blood, but like, but it was, but that fuel is false. And and again, you I've learned that now because I'm basically kind of sober at this point in my life. And and I feel more energized and more capable and more willing. So I don't think that these are things that can just be accessed. I think again, we all have that romantic kind of, you know, Hemingway and Steinbeck and peck and pond all these guys were hard drinkers and koski know Yeah, you know, they died young and they died horribly, you know, so
Alex Ferrari 1:19:00
yeah, they didn't they didn't like quietly in their sleep surrounded by loved ones.
Joe Carnahan 1:19:05
The roads delivered anyway, both barrels of an over under shot, you know, so like, Yeah, he you know, they went out, you know, they went out of a very grandiose fashion. So, you romanticize that and I realize it's not really where it is. So now and I also think that there's a there's a reticence on my part to jump back into something original, because I know there's, there's, for me, there's a there's the high watermark can we get back there and be that because I still write for people that read, I don't write bullshit scene breaks I write, you know, and that's what Death Wish was, you know, the first 25 pages are a standard screenplay. The minute that guy gets attacked, the entire thing shifts to first person so there's no more scene breaks I wrote outright entire page that just Asterix because he's knocked out. And then it goes into large, large font, and then it takes half the pages empty and then you don't I mean, like I was doing, it was kind of like art to me. You know, and I thought that damn like, I don't know, if I ever get back to that, you know? That's kind of the That's exciting to me. It's like, Fuck, I got it, I got it. I gotta figure out how to top that I got to figure out a way to get you know, write some that's I think is better. You know what I mean? And that's, you know what I mean that and that's kind of a it's a great, it's a great. That's a great expression of energy, you know? Absolutely.
Alex Ferrari 1:20:19
Now there was there was one script that yours that was fairly famous that didn't get made. I know it's something that you always wanted to make killing Pablo.
Joe Carnahan 1:20:27
Yes, which was the script, but
Alex Ferrari 1:20:29
I heard that someone literally because screenwriters are always scared of people taking stealing their work and doing something with it. You from what I understand someone literally took the cover off of the script, their name, or
Joe Carnahan 1:20:42
I'll tell you whose names Yeah, this guy, his guy, this guy literally was he went got wined and dined by the Colombian government. I've been down there a couple times. And he literally just tore the cover page Robinson written by Bobby Ray and that was the that was the I saw the screenplay I got next to there was and I thought wow, and again, we go back to you know, the treachery you experience in this business. It's like I don't know where the guy is now. I might be who knows what he's doing his part maybe selling snow cones. I don't know what the hell he's doing. But you know, it was you know, what would have shocked and awed me back then it just disgust and contempt is like yeah, you know, he made a run out of man he tried to he tried to sell an angle he tried to but yeah, was basically using that to kind of you know, get in his way with the Colombian government which is just insane to me,
Alex Ferrari 1:21:27
but the smarter not the smartest thing
Joe Carnahan 1:21:30
Yeah, now now when you can track it and by the way, the script the script have been around for a little bit and gotten gotten a lot of good attention and so you know, but but then you know, then you know, Josie Odeon and Wagner Mora and they did you know, they do that great, you know, thing with with Narcos it's like I couldn't eat it could have been a better team to tell that story. So I wasn't, I was bummed out. But my my screenplay was really balanced book was really the manhunt for Escobar not so much and I think that's the problem I had finding someone want to play Escobar because Javier Bardem was going to do it for a while. And I think they wanted they wanted that Robin Hood like romantic angle of Pablo, and he was a fucking absolute bloodless killer. And yeah, of this family. We all do. You know, you can be a homicidal maniac and still love your kids. And and that's what he was, I think I was more interested in that in the in the run up and how insane he almost tipped over a democracy at the time. 62 million people in Colombia, it's like this guy almost almost ran the table, you know, and, and to me, and it was because of some very brave people, Colombian officials that stood against that shit, not unlike we just experienced it in a very different way that basically stemming the tide of that becoming a narco state, you know, but yeah, man, it was it was, you know, again, one of those screenplays is like, man, god damn it, you know.
Alex Ferrari 1:22:55
But there's always we always have that story or that film or that thing that we couldn't, couldn't get made. It's not even the lack and that's the thing I want people to understand. It's not the lack of quality. It's not the lack that if it's a good script, or if it's a marketable script, sometimes the stars just don't align.
Joe Carnahan 1:23:14
You know, I've had it happen Dude, I had listen. White jazz, which is equal to LA confidential, you know, my brother and I wrote the absolute shit out of that script. And I've been and I we were, we were literally like a year ago on the one inch line with Netflix, right to go do that. Oh, and it just didn't, you know, just didn't happen. And I remember there was like, the British version of torshin books reached out to me and said, Do you mind sending us your materials and we just we want to include it in a in a in a compendium called the 20 greatest movies you'll never see. I mean, you go fuck yourselves. What? No, I'm not sending you honor. flattered. Oh, wow, you like it that much. You want to include your book of movies? You'll never fucking get it made? No, but no. Fuck off.
Alex Ferrari 1:23:54
And can you imagine if they called Kubrick up and like, Can you send me your notes on Napoleon? Napoleon? Yeah,
Joe Carnahan 1:23:59
it's like, ah, but no, ever fucking live to fight another day. Dude. You live to fight another day. You know?
Alex Ferrari 1:24:06
So dude, so? So boss love dude.
Joe Carnahan 1:24:10
Alex Ferrari 1:24:10
it's it's insane, dude, like the trailer looks insane. It's basically so basically this is what I did. This is my analogy of it. It's Groundhog's Day, which of course was just the first kind of like, time like film that I can remember. Groundhog's Day meets
Joe Carnahan 1:24:27
diaries. I heard it Yeah, it's what it is. It really is. It's like it's it's it's just again, it's just one of those movies that everything it's tried to do and we tried to do it and it just worked. And it's funny as shit. There's complete kind of this is young actress Selena Lowe, who plays go on in Yeah, this trailers just absolutely steals the movie. And then you've got Frank Grillo in this in this kind of really, you know, do we want I said do watch some funny we watched like, we watch singing rings until watch Jean Kelly watch the way he moves. Watch Harrison Ford watch how Harrison Ford watches relationship with the camera man watch how he understands where he's at. And you're you're setting about making this very deliberate kind of big Hollywood kind of spectacle action movie comedy. That's just absolutely fucking bonkers that they never would have let me do this stuff do because it's nuts. But it's but when I tell you, it's one of the funniest. It's just laugh out loud, funny, it just works. And, and we're and again, I'm incredibly fortunate that in fact, because it's been you know, two years of struggle and hardship and so on, to get it out Finally, and God bless the powers that be at Hulu. They saw it and responded to it the way that we wanted them to. And so yeah, man, it's it's it's not it's but and
Alex Ferrari 1:25:50
once it come out, and once it come out,
Joe Carnahan 1:25:52
March 5 on Hulu, which I think is I don't know what day that is. But that's I can't wait to It's so good. So good. It's so much fun. It really is. It's really and like I said, it's emblematic of me and my personality. It's just
Alex Ferrari 1:26:04
Oh, it No, it's
Joe Carnahan 1:26:05
not logical that it gets serious then it goes back to being you know, kind of, it's great. And he's great at it. You know? Now he really is, you know, now it was great, Neil, right? No.
Alex Ferrari 1:26:17
Yeah, Mel, Mel, I mean, Mel's melted and I and I'm looking forward to seeing I'm looking forward to seeing Lethal Weapon five, five vs. Five. Yeah, let's see what they do with us.
Joe Carnahan 1:26:30
Alex Ferrari 1:26:30
I know. And Donna's doing it and Donna's doing it I guess
Joe Carnahan 1:26:34
I guess the script is actually really good. I love the dictators do a 90
Alex Ferrari 1:26:39
I was gonna say How old is he? Like that's like how
Joe Carnahan 1:26:42
8989 nine years old? Still doing it Clinton 90. So I mean, that's our that's how I want to go off just we'll I don't care what a bucket wheelbarrow if I'm just ahead. And like a small intestine just we'll be around let me say cotton action. And I'll be
Alex Ferrari 1:26:56
like Hitchcock, it's like Hitchcock was literally being rolled around on a wheelchair rolled around.
Joe Carnahan 1:27:02
He's like 40 I mean, that's
Alex Ferrari 1:27:03
you know, it's not you know, to be fair, to be fair,
Joe Carnahan 1:27:05
yeah. Right. But But yeah, dude, I you know, it's like, you know, I think it was like reading an article years and years and years ago when when David Lee was trying to make the straw man he couldn't get insured because he was too old and always broke my heart. I'm like, fucking Dave. You can't figure out how to put David lean on set, you know, or like when Alban had a basically a PT Anderson like kind of Yeah, kind of understudying on I forget the movie, but but those stories are always kind of like I just want to be vibrant enough and still mentally acute and cogent enough that I can that I can understand what their physical
Alex Ferrari 1:27:42
Joe Carnahan 1:27:43
if I'm not even putting up is just don't take my mind just don't strictly have my you know, you don't I mean, like, don't have me start talking to my like, like my boogers, please like I don't want to do you know what I mean? Please just bear with that, you know?
Alex Ferrari 1:27:58
Now I'm going to ask you a few questions ask all my guests bro. What is the one thing you wish you could tell your younger self? Oh, God, I
Joe Carnahan 1:28:07
think I want to do but I would just say to him a dude, pace yourself. Don't talk so much. You don't have to entertain everybody. Sometimes silence is golden. Not it'd be nice to know your opinion at every moment and and and just know enough to know when you don't need to do anything. Just let it be. You know, and chill. Patience. My son patience. That's what I would tell him.
Alex Ferrari 1:28:35
So what advice would you give a filmmaker trying to break into the business today?
Joe Carnahan 1:28:40
Um, you gotta outwork everybody man. You really man. It's like you know like the stuff that like Vijay Singh is a golfer he got hit 1000 balls nobody else to hit 100 you should be hitting 1000 balls you should be out there you know perfecting and honing your craft and getting better and better and better and learning all the tricks of the trade and in addition to learning those shortcuts, learn that the areas you can save yourself time you know you're saying but and and understand everybody's job. Know what the note the note a colorist does know what the you know know what, you know the sound mixer does know what the the production designer does know what the sound designer But no, no these various jobs No, the DP no lenses, not that you have to know these things and you know, an encyclopedic kind of for like Kubrick or Spielberg that know those things like specific like ground glass how that thing is gonna that's a whole nother level of freakish genius, but get yourself educated and and and, and don't take a goddamn thing for granted. Because you can't take anything for granted. Nah, man, you would not ever been Certainly not. Now, there's a lot of competition out there and it's stiff. And I wouldn't want to be coming up right now when you're trying to like bust through. When you got guys like danishes I'll do what he's doing, which I think is wunderkin like and you know, so it's a tough it's a tough road to hoe for sure.
Alex Ferrari 1:30:00
Yeah, it's it's the the world's changing so effin rapidly man. It's just looks so ridiculous. Our business has changed so dramatically in the last year. Yeah, man, but like like
Joe Carnahan 1:30:10
literally like you said you'd send it prior pocket like we may never recover and it's certainly not going to look the way it's look in the past and I think that's you know when Alex that's all right do that's okay. Like, but
Alex Ferrari 1:30:22
but it didn't but it didn't look but it didn't look the same way since like when VHS showed up and DVD showed up and then streaming showed up like it's always color showed up sound showed up like it's always this is just changing. Just, there's just, it's just happening so much faster now.
Joe Carnahan 1:30:37
Hey, bro, listen, I got one of those Oculus quest put that on Play beat Sabre and tell me that you're not gonna have to fuck with VR at some point. Play super hot and tell me you're not get the fuck out of here. How do you compete? How do you how do you compete with that? It's a foreigner dollar unit. It's cool in any video game I've ever owned in my life. You know? Like, are you kidding me? It's like so so you know, you're gonna wait, you have to do these things. And you can't get mired in tradition. You can't get mired in what's got to be this way. I got to make a studio. Listen, when I was young. If you had a to picture deal and universal you were you're hot shit. That's indentured servitude. Basically, you're just giving your ideas to send you just give me your IP away. You know, it's like, don't do that. Or if you're going to do it do the way Todd Phillips doesn't that guy. It's like, yeah, let me make it for you. No, let me make my little fee. And then I'm going to take a gigantic piece of your bag and in success. And that's and that's a guy playing a game at a very, very high level, you know? So there are ways there's certainly ways to game the system. And even with Chris Nolan. Like, listen, whenever your feelings about tennis, right? You liked it, you didn't like it, whatever. The fact that guys still taking those kind of swings at the plate to try to put the ball fucking 500 feet from home play. You got to have those guys, man, that's exciting to me. So there's all these areas of progress and evolution. And it's like you, you've got to find them. You got to make them your own. And you got to extend your own game, whatever that may be. And the hardest question of all three of your favorite films of all time. That's not that difficult dude. Raging Bull. Raging. Raging Bull Raiders lost art. And there's a film called horror carry saga Kobayashi from 1963 seppuku that's basically I think, is the best Samurai film and then may may may Curacao strike me dead from beyond, but like, it's one of those movies that just I just adored it and I just saw it. I just show it to my dp in Atlanta, we had like a, we put like a big like a home theater in the base of this place. We would watch movies. It's just one of those epically brilliant, slow burns that you just don't see anymore. I love that film. Dude,
Alex Ferrari 1:32:35
it has been an absolute pleasure talking to you, man. Like I could talk. We could talk. We could talk for another two or three hours. Yeah, we could do any time you want to come back.
Joe Carnahan 1:32:45
You're always welcome to Oh, if I got a DUI or I'm in trouble, Bro, I gotta come on. You know, you gotta make a little room for me, bro. You know?
Alex Ferrari 1:32:52
My goal. My goal is now to get you to go out and make a five or $10,000 film like that's
Joe Carnahan 1:32:57
I Dude, I'm telling you right now we're gonna talk offline, but I don't think I don't think that's a bad idea. I don't and I think there's some there's some I think it's ballsy to go do that and he has to go out and solicit like, let me go make a $10 million film. You know, what can you do with nothing? Yeah,
Alex Ferrari 1:33:11
right. And and in today's world, like when you and I were coming up man like it was expensive as hell to do anything like you shot on film. Like that seven grant was filled stock 12
Joe Carnahan 1:33:21
has got a better camera than any any film or video game we've ever used in our lives. And Chris Rock some eight What is it an 8k? Whatever the case? That is insane dude, in it. That is lossless. Like you could like we had to go live or shoot you got to go beta cam beta SP debase. Oh, this generation Lawson you have to deal with that shit.
Alex Ferrari 1:33:41
three quarter inch, one inch, three quarter inch just to get the film flicker,
Joe Carnahan 1:33:44
I can do that on fucking on a filter. You know, colleagues, give me a break, dude. You know, it's like, this is the kind of shit that's at that's at your fingertips. So it's like I tell you, so stop dicking around on Twitter and Facebook to go and examine and explore these things because they're amazing, you know, and you can really do something you can really do great shit for no money. The key isn't the watch McCall. The barrier of entry is not the tech anymore, and the cost of the tech. It is the How To Make Money With it, how to get it seen know that but it's also the creative gumption and ambition. There's that to get it because you know what, you may not make a fucking dime. And you've got to come to grips with that. You've got to say, okay, that's the possibility. How bad do you want it? That question remains that question persists. Brother.
Alex Ferrari 1:34:31
It has been a pleasure. Keep doing what you're doing. And I appreciate I appreciate you man.
Joe Carnahan 1:34:36
Thank you so much, brother.
Alex Ferrari 1:34:39
I want to thank Joe for coming on the show and dropping his bullet written knowledge bombs on the tribe today. Thank you so much, Joe. If you want to check out his new film boss level, it's going to be available March 5, exclusively on Hulu. Now if you want to get links to anything we spoke about in this episode, head over to the show notes at any time. Film hustle.com forward slash 443. And guys, if you haven't already, head over to if h academy.com. And check out the amazing new courses we have on the platform, including James v hearts screenwriting masterclass the film distribution Blueprint by yours truly, and many, many more. Again, that's ifH academy.com. Thank you so much for listening guys, as always, keep that also going, keep that dream alive. Stay safe out there, and I'll talk to you soon.
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