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‘Taxi Driver’ Writer Paul Schrader Wants to Work With Kevin Spacey, Says There Are ‘No Crimes in Art’

Paul Schrader has a very good shot at winning an Academy Award for First Reformed, a film he wrote and directed with a lot of buzz. So Schrader did what anyone in his position would do during Oscar-ass-kissing-season, he avoided controversy and schmoozed everyone with a vote. Just kidding, he said films are bad now because audiences are stupid and that Kevin Spacey should be in more movies.

Deadline covered Schrader’s comments at a BAFTA Screenwriter’s Series about modern audiences.

“There are people who talk about the American cinema of the ‘70s as some halcyon period,” said the Hollywood veteran. “It was to a degree but not because there were any more talented filmmakers. There’s probably, in fact, more talented filmmakers today than there was in the ‘70s. What there was in the ‘70s was better audiences.

[…]

When people take movies seriously it’s very easy to make a serious movie. When they don’t take it seriously, it’s very, very hard. We now have audiences that don’t take movies seriously so it’s hard to make a serious movie for them. It’s not that us filmmakers are letting you down, it’s you audiences are letting us down.”

Okay, being a snobby elitist isn’t going to hurt your chances at an Oscar, it’ll probably help them. No one actually thought Black Panther had a reasonable chance at winning an Oscar despite what they might say, unless they also believe Star Wars got robbed when it lost to Annie Hall. So Schrader followed that up with a now-deleted Facebook post lamenting producers’ unwillingness to work with alleged dick-grabber and sexual predator Kevin Spacey.

I was sent a script yesterday. A very very very good script which screamed Kevin Spacey for the lead. I told the producer I’d direct it if they would make it with Kevin. The producer responded that that was not possible. I believe there are crimes in life but no crimes in art. Spacey should be punished for any crimes his actual person created. But not for art. All art is a crime. Punishing him as an artist only diminishes art. Put Celine in jail, put Pound in jail, punish Wilde and Bruce if you must, but do not censor their art.

Schrader has a history of saying movies are way better than not being a rapist, though. Seriously. Last year, as reported by Variety, he made a very interesting Facebook post about Harvey Weinstein.

“Of course I knew Harvey Weinstein was a sexual gangster. So did most people who crossed his path. It was an odor that preceded him,” the post says. “That’s not what offended me most about the man. It was the fact that he purchased films by both Bernardo Bertolucci and Wong Kar Wai and then recut them. TWC offered to purchase Bret Ellis and my The Canyons on the proviso that Harvey could recut it — Why would Bret and I, I screamed into the phone, undergo the sacrifice of self financing a movie only to let an asshole like Harvey recut it?”

Yes, Harvey Weinstein may have (allegedly) raped his way across the film industry, but his real crime was cutting ten minutes out of Snowpiercer. That sounds like something I would say ironically in an article about Weinstein. I may have said it, actually, I know I at least thought of it and I had to write a lot of stories about Harv, but I’m fairly sure it would be in bad taste to say as a joke because who would say something that dumb, and Schrader said it earnestly.

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