Daily updates from the first annual AFI DALLAS International Film Festival presented by Target, founding sponsor Victory Park, March 22 to April 1, 2007

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Ten Burning Questions: Martin Hynes

Zooey Deschanel in director Martin Hynes' The Go-Getter

If the true journey taken in a great road movie is the distance from innocence to experience or the lack of knowledge of oneself to an existential handshake, then Martin Hynes' THE GO-GETTER (screening Friday, 3/23 at 7:15PM and Saturday, 3/24 at 4:30PM) racks up some impressive miles on its odometer. Starring Lou Taylor Pucci, Zooey Deschanel and Jena Malone the film follows the progress of a young man after he steals a car to try and find his long-lost brother fueled by the phone conversations he has along the way with the owner of the stolen car.

1. What inspired you to write THE GO-GETTER?

The story's mostly autobiography, twisted around enough to make Mercer more reckless and cool than I've ever been.

2. You’ve said that some Christians have responded to the spiritual element in the film, particularly the idea of getting second chances in life and how love affects that. So, is this the first in the Born Again Road Movie genre?

I'm not religious, and given the fairly raw language and sexuality in the film, I don'’t think we'll be asked on the 700 Club. But a group of seminary students were at one of the Sundance screenings, and they were intrigued by the threads of spiritual confusion that run through Mercer's road trip.

3. What is the best thing about having your film at AFI DALLAS?

David Lynch makes films without compromise or convention; it's great to be part of any festival that hands him an award.

4. Was the decision to shoot the film in sequence in the actual locations depicted weighted more on which side - creative or economic?

Shooting in sequence was an entirely creative decision, much to the chagrin of my line producer and AD; Lou - and all of us - needed to go on the trip.

5. What should a director do that they never think of until it's almost too late?

In my case, the answer was "stop acting in his own films." When your acting runs the gamut of emotions from A to B, it handcuffs your storytelling.

6. Seriously, is the Taylor really necessary between the Lou and the Pucci?

If you're as talented as Lou, you can call yourself whatever the hell you want. On set we call him Pooch, and he calls me things we can't print here.

7. How often do you bring up your Pixie Award nomination for GEORGE LUCAS IN LOVE while directing your actors?

Few words bespeak respect and gravitas quite as much as "Pixie." It's every young leading man's dream just to be nominated.

8. Zooey Deschanel or Jena Malone - Which one would be more okay with you stealing her car if she thought you were cute?

I can say with some authority - neither. And I'd like to take this opportunity to formally apologize and ask them both to drop the charges.

9. What was the last film that made you cry? Laugh out loud?

HALF NELSON hit me pretty hard, but what honestly makes me cry is stuff like "Merry Christmas you old Building and Loan!" or Redford running the bases in THE NATURAL - the old triumph of the human spirit crap. As for comedy, that phone call bit that Kevin Kline and Maya Rudolph do in PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION is perfect and pure.

10. Popcorn or candy?

Both, always. But please call it Popcorn Taylor Popcorn.

By John Wildman, Staff Writer