7 Questions with Director William Friedkin

photography by rickycphotography.com

Film director William (Bill) Friedkin is no stranger to controversy—and no movie had more surrounding it than the 1981 flick Cruising. The film centered around a serial killer who plagued New York’s gay community. It’s a real, gritty film depicting the underbelly of gay life like never before. The film is now showing at the Castro Theatre in the heart of the community that originally snubbed the film more than 25 years ago. Many felt the film poorly portrayed the gay community. The movie’s release was met with upset, outrage and a call for it to be yanked from movie theaters, but screenings went ahead all the same.

See what all the fuss is all about and venture to the Castro Theatre and see Cruising for yourself on the big screen.

Meantime, enjoy my seven questions with Bill Friedkin.

7 Questions with Oscar winning director William Friedkin, the man who brought us some of the best films ever: The Exorcist, Cruising, The French Connection, Jade—and that’s just for starters.

1. San Francisco, what does the city mean to you first off?
Bill Friedkin: Joy, pleasure, beauty. The most beautiful city in America by far.

2. What is your favorite movie that you’re embarrassed to say is one of your favorites?
BF: All About Eve. Not really embarrassed, but it’s not the kind of film you would associate with me.  It’s all dialogue, it’s funny, it’s about the theater. It’s a great movie the—the top three movies of mine are All About Eve, Citizen Cane and Treasure of Sierra Madre.

3. Ah splendid. Oscar, 1971. Where is it now?
BF: Uh on my mantle piece next to my wife’s.  She got an Oscar last year. And they are together joined forever.
LM: Little book ends.  You should put some books in between them.
BF: What are books?  Yeah we we…you have to read books in order to collect them don’t you?

4. What is the best seat in the movie theater, for you, when you’re watching a film?
BF: The last row in the back because it has the highest slope you know. The theaters are usually built to slope downwards so you’re generally not looking over a tall person’s head if you’re in the last row and you see the entire screen—I want to see the entire screen.
LM: You can make out in the last row too, but I didn’t say that.
BF: Make out what?
LM: Exactly. Make out what the full picture is.
5. It’s the last movie on earth, you’ve been picked to direct it, you can only pick two actors, you don’t know what the plot’s gonna be, but pick your two. Who’s it gonna be?
BF: Humphrey Bogart and Steve McQueen.
LM: Good choices. Let’s hope it’s a love story—that could be interesting.
BF: Why not?
6. Is there a movie you wish you’d made but did not?
BF: Citizen Cane! I wish I had made that, but I couldn’t have. You know that’s just sheer genius. It’s like I wish I could paint a Rembrandt too you know. I can make a drawing of someone’s face, but I can’t paint a Rembrandt.

7. And finally, film making to me is….
BF: An adventure and an education.

Much like our chin wag this afternoon.
BF: It’s a pleasure seeing you, Liam. 
LM: Thanks for the great films.
Show Comments ()

Related Articles


Follow Us On