Interview with Film Producer, Jon Kilik
August 15, 2010 § Leave a comment
A- “I met Spike Lee through a mutual friend in 1988. He had just made one film, “She’s Gotta Have It”. He was looking for a producer to work with on a new script. The project was “Do The Right Thing”. We immediately hit it off. We are about 2 months apart in age, both grew up in the NYC area, love film and sports, and we are both hard working, passionate people who believe in our ability to do anything. It was a perfect match from day one and led to a 20 year collaboration on 13 feature films.
I first met Oliver Stone over the telephone. He called me a few times over the years to see if I was “ready to make a big movie”. We finally met and agreed to work together on “Alexander”. I found Oliver to be extremely intelligent and well prepared. He had done many years of research. That is his process as a writer. He is also very smart on the set. He takes great pride in his efficient and precise shooting style. Like Spike, he is extremely driven, hard working and self reliant. It must be their NYU training.
Alejandro Inarritu and I met briefly at an Academy Awards party for “Amores Perros” and “Before Night Falls”. We met again briefly when I visited Rodrigo Prieto on the set of “21 Grams”. When Alejandro first started working on the script of “Babel”, he called me to see if I would take a look. That started a 2 and a half year adventure/life experience that took us to Tunisia, Morocco, Mexico, Japan, and all the way to the Academy Awards. What a long strange trip it was. Three continents, 5 languages, it was definitely my biggest challenge. We are currently working in Spain on a new film called “Biutiful”. Alejandro makes intense and emotional films and we go through an intense and emotional process as we make them. His cinematic story telling gift is second to none. He is also a very, very hard worker and asks the same of everyone around him.
Julian Schnabel showed up on my doorstep in 1993 hoping to become a movie director. He had tried to find support from a few other people but wasn’t taken seriously. I was immediately intrigued by his unique approach and despite not having any prior training, his enormous love and respect for movies. He also impressed me as an artists so I said ok, let’s go. It took us about 3 years to put the cast, script and financing together for “Basquiat”. We have now made 4 films and are starting a 5th and have never received one penny of investment from the Hollywood community until after the films were finished. Everytime we had to go to private individuals for financing. Julian and I collaborate very closely. He is extremely generous and inclusive with me in all aspects of his creative filmmaking process. I take that as a great complitment and I am extremely proud of our work.”
A-“I don’t necessarily like working abroad for years on end but I do like to travel and learn about other cultures. The stories are what brought me to those places. I follow the story and do what is best to make the best film. I’ve found that shooting on location, whether it be in Brooklyn for “Do The Right Thing” or the West Bank of Israel for our new film, the location becomes a character and adds to the credibility of the work.”