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'Exorcist' director slams trend for comic book stories

Breitbart.com 09/14/2011 22:16
US film director William Friedkin

US film director William Friedkin

Director William Friedkin on Tuesday decried a trend in cinema of infantilizing audiences with stories ripped from comic books, at the North American premiere of his new film "Killer Joe."

"It's harder and harder to do (original adult material) in this climate of American film... which is mostly concerned with movies that are comic books, and remakes," he said.

The icon of 1970s cinema said his own classic films "The French Connection" (1971), which won him an Oscar for best director, and "The Exorcist" (1973) would not be made today by movie studios.

"The audiences have changed," he lamented. "They are conditioned by television and television is aimed at the lowest common denominator... their expectations are lower."

Also, "the studios, when I started directing, were run by people who had made films," he said. "Today they're former agents or lawyers and (the studios) are owned by gigantic corporations that have to appeal to the lowest common denominator."

"There's less money in the adult market (now)," added Pulitzer prize-winning writer Tracy Letts who adapted his 1998 play for the movie. "The guys who run the show have figured out that they can make more money basically selling comic books to people."

For "Killer Joe," Friedkin cast Emile Hirsch ("Into The Wild," "Milk" and Oliver Stone's upcoming "Savages") as a drug dealer who hires a cop moonlighting as an assassin (Matthew McConaughey) to murder his mother to collect on an insurance policy that will pay off his debts, and sells his sister (Juno Temple) as a sexual retainer.

Friedkin says he was drawn to the story because it is about "innocence, victimhood, vengeance and tenderness."