Today I came across a terrific conversation between Mike Nichols and Elaine May on the occasion of an Ishtar screening at the Walter Reade Cinema in February 2006. Thanks to Film Comment.
ELAINE MAY IN CONVERSATION WITH MIKE NICHOLS
A Film Comment Selects special event, February 26, 2006
Following a sold-out screening of her unfairly maligned 1987 comedy Ishtar, writer-director Elaine May took to the stage of New York’s Walter Reade Theater for an hour-long interview with her former collaborator and old friend Mike Nichols. Nichols began with an observation about the experience of watching Ishtar in 2006.
Mike Nichols: I do think that you put your finger on what is central about making movies, what makes it something that you—that I—never want to stop. Just as you never want to stop seeing them. There is something that happens among people and what it finally is, is a sort of melding of unconscious. When you do your best, you’re depending to a large extent on your unconscious, when you’ve done this for some length of time, because you’re waiting for the thing you can’t think of. You’re waiting for the surprise of shooting that day. And when a large group of people is waiting for today’s surprise, and they’re all in the same place, and you have the people that you do it with every time, and you love them and they love you, something begins to happen. Over the weekend I went to see Oprah do a thing she does in a theater, telling people how to be their best, live their best life. And she charges a lot for it, and the money goes to the charity of the town in which she’s done it. And she has this gift, she can hear 2,500 people sitting in the dark. She can connect with what they’re thinking.