When you’re offered the chance to sit down with Robert Duvall for almost twenty minutes, you clear your schedule. Which is exactly what I did at this year’s SXSW. Duvall was in Austin to promote his latest directorial effort, Wild Horses, which he also wrote. The film stars Duvall, James Franco, Josh Hartnett, Luciana Duvall, and Adriana Barraza and it’s about a Texas Ranger that puts her life in jeopardy when she tries to prove a powerful family’s involvement in a boy’s 15-year-old disappearance and murder.
Texas Ranger Samantha Payne reopens a 15-year-old missing person case, and uncovers evidence that suggests that the boy was likely murdered on a ranch belonging to wealthy family man, Scott Briggs. When Scott’s estranged son unexpectedly returns home during the investigation, Samantha becomes even more convinced that the Briggs family was involved, and will stop at nothing to discover the truth about the boy’s death – even putting her own life in jeopardy.
During the extended video interview, Duvall talked about making Wild Horses, where the idea came from, the editing process and the lengths of the different cuts of the film, casting the film, the drawbacks of doing too many takes, his dislike for The Searchers, Terry Gilliam’s Don Quixote, his admiration for Orson Welles, Lonesome Dove, a Western based on The Day The Cowboys Quit which will appear on AMC as a mini-series, and so much more.
Here’s Duvall followed by a time index of the interview.
- 00:22: Whether SXSW was the festival he and the filmmakers were aiming for to premiere Wild Horses.
- 00:44: Where he got the idea for Wild Horses.
- 01:14: What he took from the original outline of the film.
- 01:48: How he secured financing for the film.
- 02:23: Discusses the editing process and the lengths of the different cuts of the film.
- 03:13: His brief synopsis for Wild Horses.
- 03:47: How Josh Hartnett came to be attached to the project.
- 04:05: Talks about the involvement of real Texas Rangers in the film, and their natural acting abilities.
- 04:20: How he tracked down Adriana Barraza to be in the film.
- 05:06: Discusses the projects he has chosen to direct.
- 05:30: Talks about the help and admiration he received from filmmakers such as John Cassavetes, Francis Ford Coppola, and Marlon Brando.
- 06:34: Why he wanted his wife, Luciana Pedraza, to play a Texas Ranger in Wild Horses.
- 07:17: Advice he would give to himself when he was starting as a young actor/director.
- 07:45: How the film Kes inspired him and provided the model he wanted to use when directing.
- 08:37: What his reactions are to the rise of shooting digital instead of on film.
- 08:55: “I don’t care if you’re shooting with a video, as long as I get the behavior.”
- 09:25: “Rehearsals are for pussies, two takes.” – Billy Bob Thornton
- 09:40: The drawbacks of doing too many takes.
- 10:30: Why he prefers to do just a few takes.
- 11:35: Which projects people talk to him about most when they come up to him.
- 11:51: “Boys, we are making The Godfather of Westerns” – with regards to Lonesome Dove.
- 12:18: Talks about his admiration for foreign films, including Ida and Wild Tales.
- 13:03: Believes 2014 was a great year for movies.
- 14:01: His opinion of the Oscar race, and shares a story from attending this year’s ceremony.
- 14:22: Thinks that Michael Strahan would make a great Oscar host.
- 15:06: Reveals that he did not like The Searchers.
- 15:12: “People from New York many times don’t know what goes on beyond the South Jersey shore.” – Horton Foote
- 15:20: Discusses his love for the book Empire of the Summer Moon.
- 15:45: What projects he has coming up, including a Western based on The Day The Cowboys Quit, which will appear on AMC as a mini-series.
- 16:53: Talks about how hard it is to get projects off the ground.
- 17:08: Was going to appear in Terry Gilliam’s Don Quixote, but the project fell apart.
- 17:17: Reveals what much of the novel Lonesome Dove was based on.
- 17:38: Discusses his admiration for Orson Welles.