The five nominees for the Directors Guild of America’s top feature award emphasized just how stressful it can be to direct during Saturday’s Meet the Nominees panel at the DGA Theater.
“Stress is a condition of your job,” said “Birdman” director Alejandro G. Inarritu. “If I’m relaxing, I start to think something is wrong.”
The three-hour event — traditionally held on the morning of the DGA Awards — drew a capacity crowd of about 700. Jeremy Kagen moderated, as he has since 1992.
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” director Wes Anderson, who’s directed eight films, evoked major laughs by asserting, “I’ve gotten much less confident…I say to myself — it’s going be to over eventually.”
Morten Tyldum, director of “The Imitation Game,” allowed that he becomes alarmed when there are no problems on the set. “If it goes too well, there has to be something wrong,” he explained.
That comment prompted “American Sniper” director Clint Eastwood — who’s won the DGA Award twice — to reach over to comfort Tyldum and say, “You’re the picture postcard for stress.”
Eastwood also said he makes every effort to eliminate stress from sets, such as bells going off or assistant directors yelling. And he never says “action” or “cut.”
“When I was on ‘Rawhide,’ the horses would start to run all over when the director yelled, ‘Action,'” he recalled.
“Boyhood” director Richard Linklater offered a contrarian point of view on being stressed.
Richard Linklater says he doesn't get stressed by directing. 'This is more stressful,' he added at the DGA nominees panel #DGA
— Dave McNary (@Variety_DMcNary) February 7, 2015
Linklater, a former oil rig worker, also said that part of his ritual in going to a set is to spot someone in a hardhat.
“I say to myself, ‘OK, that’s the real world,” he noted. “When I arrive, I remind myself that there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”
During a discussion of costumes, Eastwood expressed gratitude to the widow of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle for her generosity in supplying “American Sniper” with her late husband’s clothing such as caps and shirts.
“Taya gave us a lot,” he noted. “We took a lot of stuff right out of the closet.”
Inarritu offered an intriguing note by admitting that he had changed the “Birdman” ending midway through the 29-day shoot.
‘The ending was horrible. I’ll never say (what it was),” he added.