Filmmaker George Hickenlooper passed away in his sleep last Saturday at the age of 47. He was in Denver, where his cousin John Hickenlooper is mayor, and where George was set to attend the premiere of his new film Casino Jack starring Kevin Spacey. His early films Picture This, Persons Unknown, The Grey Knight and Some Folks Call It a Sling Blade are available on this site.
Ned: Your movies seem to [focus on] ‘the outsider’ a lot.
George: They do. I never really thought about it that way. I’ve always felt like somewhat of an outsider in the Hollywood system. I’ve always kind of empathized with the outsider in general, really, which probably has to do with my fucked up childhood, you know, on the playground, ‘Georgie-Porgie’ and all that. Although, Los Angeles is one of the last democratic cities in America. You can come here and do anything. People come here to escape – that’s been said before – but people come here to fit into something. Here and Washington DC have a lot in common.
Ned: How so?
George: You come here to be a part of something bigger than yourself. With Washington it’s politics, here it’s entertainment. The ego flourishes in both. It’s an industry, and there’s a place for everyone. McCarthyism and some extreme views aside, it’s a very forgiving town. But talking about the ‘outsider’ comment… I’ve never been comfortable filling the same adolescent boots as Kevin Smith, do you know what I mean? Never really felt the need to deal with the fecal matter aspect. Or sperm. I think people don’t really know how to figure me out here because of that. William Wyler was a very big influence on me – he was a director that supported the story rather than supported the style. Like Quentin Tarantino or Wes Anderson, are you with me? They’re great directors in their own rights. All those directors are great but they have a very narrow vision. I’m a big proponent of storytelling.
Read the full interview here.