Though Master Gardener is appearing on best-of-2023 lists, Paul Schrader isn’t slowing down or resting on laurels. In October he finished shooting his 24th feature Oh, Canada, an adaptation of the novel by his friend (and Affliction writer) Russell Banks starring Richard Gere, Jacob Elordi, Uma Thurman, and Michael Imperioli. An American Gigolo reunion in the midst of Schrader’s late-career hot streak is enough to vault that into upper echelons of most-anticipated 2024 features, but excitement is doubled by a recent interview in Le Monde where arguably his greatest film gets invoked: “It’s the first time, since Mishima, that I’ve made a puzzle film. Or an assembly of scattered memories, heterogeneous formats, fragments.” And despite wrapping two months ago, a 91-minute cut (retaining every scene shot over 17 days) is already finished, now only awaiting a score by the group Phosphorescent.

But when do we see it? Schrader thinks Oh, Canada‘s starry cast (and American label, rare in a strike-afflicted year) would please Cannes’ Thierry Fremaux, but adds that “often, what should please him scares him.” Should all else fail, he says Venice––the premiere site of his last three features––would suit its tight budget and smaller, 91-minute frame.

There’s an intriguing update on Three Guns at Dawn, mentioned earlier this year in conjunction with Antoine Fuqua, who––having, as producer, sold the script to Netflix––seems to think Schrader should direct. The latter, however, has misgivings about cultural appropriation on a film concerning three African-American brothers: a cop, a trafficker, and a serial killer. Schrader’s suggestion? He co-directs with a black man. And please! I would love to see discourse that literally causes one’s phone to crack in half when they open Twitter.

From there the interview gets a bit more dishy. It’s worth sharing in full this window into his life with Martin Scorsese, thoughts on Killers of the Flower Moon, and a recent mishap:

“Marty compares me to a Flemish miniaturist. He would rather be the type to paint Renaissance frescoes. Give him $200 million, a good film will inevitably come out of it. That said, I would have preferred Leonardo DiCaprio to play the role of the cop in Killers of the Flower Moon rather than the role of the idiot. Spending three-and-a-half hours in the company of an idiot is a long time. See that nasty wound on my finger? This is Marty’s final contribution to my existence. I had dinner with him three days ago. One of his dogs bit me. What an asshole! [Laughs]”

On the subject of Apple-financed 2023 epics, he cared less for Napoleon. The issue? “Joaquin Phoenix is ​​the least-charismatic actor there is. How could such a bland man accomplish so many military exploits? We don’t believe it for a second.”

Schrader also reiterated a long-rumored facet of Quentin Tarantino’s The Movie Critic. After suggesting that film would rework scenes from Rolling Thunder, written about at-length in Cinema Speculation, he says the following:

“Quentin will insert extracts from films from the 1970s. And he will also make his own versions of films from that era. He asked my permission to shoot the ending of [Rolling Thunder], by John Flynn, as I had written it in the original screenplay—before it was completely rewritten and watered down.”

Finally, and most frivolously, his long-noted Taylor Swift fandom got an interesting qualification. Despite calling her unique, Schrader says that quality’s less to do with voice than her marketing savvy as a “queen of brandishing,” a figure more comparable more to an industrial titan than artist. Perhaps The Eras Tour‘s mise-en-scène soured him on the superstar?

No more articles