The majority of people know all the “big-time” film critics these days, thanks to the Internet. Former film critic, now writer/director Rod Lurie, was fairly well-known in the 90s in his own right. For being controversial, amongst other colorful adjectives used to describe him. A description some still slap him with today. After years of being an over-the-top film critic, Lurie decide to follow his true passion and become a filmmaker. Many people in the industry were just hoping a studio would actually let this guy make a film so they can tear it apart. And they did. However, their plan of derailing Lurie didn’t go as expected. For he continues to produce, write, and direct films that attract many big-named stars in Hollywood.
At the University of Tampa, Rod Lurie addressed aspiring film students on numerous aspects about the industry they all yearn to be in. Professor Tom Garrett, who seems to have unlimited connections, contacted Lurie about coming to speak at his school. Without hesitation or any type of fee, Lurie was on a plane to Tampa. Once his speaking duties were done, he was gracious to chat with me for awhile and here’s a few topics we covered.
Rod Lurie has wrote and directed in both television and film. Check out his already impressive resume of work. One common thread you’ll notice is that all of his productions have been politically driven thus far. He attributes this to his childhood and being the son of a political cartoonist.
“My Father was a political cartoonist. We always had generals, politicians coming through the house when I was young. While my friends were checking the box scores for baseball, I was checking to see who won the primaries. I enjoyed being an observer of politics at a very young age. I present a point of view in my films. I’m a strong liberal and I don’t feel the need to hide it.”
Going the political route in his films, have always led to harsh reviews. Mainly because people can’t separate their personal opinions and appreciate the actual movie. Now that’s not to say that some of his critics aren’t correct in certain areas of their thinking. But, Lurie realizes no matter what he does, people are going to be gunning for him. His latest flick, a remake of the very controversial Straw Dogs by Sam Peckinpah, will have people throwing stones once again.
“Many critics back then didn’t like the original. Not because of the subject matter per say, but the movie in general just wasn’t good in their eyes. Now you and the rest of the critics today, will probably say I should have never touched that masterpiece. I’m used to having a bulls-eye on my back. I’m prepared for that.”
In 1971 when Straw Dogs was released, the film was associated with one of the most graphic scenes in cinema’s history. A rape scene so shocking, a few countries actually banned the movie. Knowing that, I asked Lurie how he handled the script for his vision of Straw Dogs.
“The rape scene in our version of Straw Dogs is as tense and more controversial than it ever was. There’s no point in scaling that back. The people who have viewed that scene are left stunned. In a good way. Kate Bosworth is going to show a level of acting in that scene that will amaze people. Doing a remake is always tricky in the public perception. I believe that the performances of everyone in Straw Dogs will carry this film and leave people astonished.”
Lurie’s Straw Dogs will star James Marsden, Kate Bosworth, Alexander Skarsgard, and James Woods. Lurie, who has enjoyed making predictions over the years, decided to reveal this to me…
“Alex Skarsgard is going to be the biggest actor on the planet. His presence in Straw Dogs reminds me of the impact that Brad Pitt had in Thelma in Louise.”
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