There are some fairly juicy quotes.
I think that was always the attraction. I always thought of Nixon as like my father. Nixon was like a father to my generation, but it was the behavior of the man that reminded me ofmy father. Bush is my generation. It’s the behavior of me, the culture of me.
On the budget of W. and the casting of Josh Brolin:
And we were turned down by everybody for money, including your Aunt Gertrude. It was humiliating. I make no bones about it. I think this is a great subject. I don’t think I have a bad track record. I needed a star, though, and Josh Brolin was not a star.
Originally I went for Christian Bale. We did some rigorous prosthetic tests and spent a lot of dough—thousands and thousands of dollars—and then Christian said, “I just don’t feel like I can do it.” I met Josh and liked him. He was more rural Americana. But man, he was scared shitless.
That wasn’t a media strategy. That was an outrageous leak by a company called Participant. One of their assistants was trying to make a few bucks, and he sold it, and then it was everywhere.
There were articles everywhere destroying it, historians trashing what we’d done. We didn’t want that. All because of an assistant. Christ.
The cops came to this bar. They arrested Jeffrey because the bartender had a hair up his ass about this uppity black man from the North. And contrary to reports, he was not drunk. I was there. He was arrested because he had words with the cops.
As for Brolin? It was the first night he had had a couple of drinks the whole time we were shooting. He had been sober for five months for the role, so he let loose a little bit and they got him, too.
If I had the guts, I would have done the Sergio Leone three-hour cut for Europe and butchered it for Warner Bros. And I would have taken out the homosexuality, which is what Warners really objected to.
They have told my people that they don’t want to work with me again. I should have just said, “Okay, guys, go for it. Just make your cut.”
And it would have been a much shorter, truncated film, and who knows, it might have made more than $32 million. It might have made fifty-two. Eighty-two. Who knows? You don’t have any idea how big an issue the homosexuality was. Especially when it comes to a military movie.
We had our locations, we had our actors, we had everything picked out, and it was a very reasonable plan.
Then Bruce Willis walked, and they were thrilled, because that gave them the final excuse to call it, even though we got Nicholas Cage.
That was three weeks before shooting and right before Christmas. Let me remind you, that’s 120 Americans and 500 Thais put out of work right before Christmas.
It was a cruel, heartless decision, and it was probably made because [UA’s] Lions for Lambs was perceived as a mess, a failure, and we were linked to these Iraq movies that weren’t working.
….And I have UA going on and on about “Do the bad guys have to be Americans?”
Read the full Q&A at GQ.