Peter Bogdanovich Talks Roger Corman, Other Influences

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Peter Bogdanovich Talks Roger Corman, Other Influences
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Peter Bogdanovich at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco

Oscar nominee Peter Bogdanovich is a true Hollywood legend. Starting out as an actor, he discovered a passion for directing in his late teens. He won a Grammy for Best Long Form Music Video for "Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Runnin' Down a Dream" and a BAFTA Film Award in the category of Best Screenplay for "The Last Picture Show," as well as several others.

Bogdanovich received an offer to direct his first film by B-movie mogul Roger Corman. I had the opportunity to talk to Bogdanovich about "Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel," a documentary in which directors and other associates shared their experiences working with the icon.

Who are the influences you would point to for your career choices?

A lot of people like Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hawkes, Orson Welles, John Ford, Jean Renoir, and Ernst Lubitsch. Those are probably the ones that had the most impact on me.

When did you know you wanted to be a director?

That didn't happen until quite a bit later on. I wanted to be an actor when I was first seeing movies. Everybody thought I was going to be an actor. I studied acting for four years with Stella Adler when I was a teenager.

It wasn't until I was in my late teens that I started thinking about directing. [It was] in the theater at first. I think the first time I was aware of a very important presence behind the screen and behind the camera was when I was 16. I saw "Citizen Kane" for the first time. I think that had a similar impact on a lot of filmmakers. I think because Orson was playing the lead and he directed it. It was easier to imagine somebody making a film when I saw that. I don't know if I thought I'd be a director at that point. I still wanted to act. I got more interested in directing in my teens.

What kind of an impact do you feel Roger had on your career?

He gave me a career in pictures and jumpstarted it. [He did that] with "The Wild Angels," where I learned an awful lot about making films. I learned all aspects of making a picture. I worked on it for 22 weeks. I did everything you can do on a picture. [I] helped him cast it, found locations, rewrote the script, directed the second unit, and cut my own material together. I learned an enormous amount.

Then he gave me the opportunity to make "Targets," which he financed and made his money back, I'm glad to say. That led directly to "The Last Picture Show" because Bert Schneider saw "Targets" and said, "If you ever want to make a picture for us, we'd like you to make one." The rest is history so to speak.

For more articles by Eric Shirey, check out:

Blu-ray Review: Roger Corman's 'Camel Spiders' Infests Your Household

'Camel Spiders' Actor Brian Krause Discusses Roger Corman Creature Feature

"Sharktopus" Blu-ray/DVD Movie Review

Eric Shirey is the founder and former editor of Rondo Award nominated movie news websites MovieGeekFeed.com and TheSpectralRealm.com. His work has been featured on Yahoo!, DC Comics, StarWars.com, and other entertainment websites. Eric has interviewed and worked with actors like Harrison Ford, Brooke Shields, Gerard Butler, Brendan Fraser, Selena Gomez, and many more.

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