Paul Schrader Thinks It's A "Slippery Slope" Revisiting Finished Films, Doesn't Like Making Movies With"Big Toys," & Hates Whimsy

Leave it to Paul Schrader to keep criticizing his filmmaking peers well into his seventies. IndieWire reports (via Interview Magazine) that Schrader had some choice words about other New Hollywood directors revisiting their previous films, and warned about the “slippery slope” of fooling around with finished products.

READ MORE: Paul Schrader & Richard Gere Will Reunite For A New Movie Later This Year

“I think that’s a very slippery slope,” Schrader said to Oscar Isaac about going back and changing old films. “Everything changes, and there’s nothing you can do about it. When people like George [Lucas] work with CGI, you’re not going to recast the movie, you’re not going to rewrite the movie. You could fool with the color. I think Terrence Malick fooling with the color was wrong, and I think when Francis [Ford Coppola] did his longer of “Apocalypse Now,” it was worse than before. So I think it’s better to just let them be.”

Schrader’s comments throw shade at Coppola’s 2019 recut of “Apocalypse Now” for the film’s 40th anniversary. But Coppola had already revisited the film before in 2001 for “Apocalypse Now Redux.” The 1979 film is notorious for its eight-month production, which went severely over budget and had all sorts of fiascos, including an egomaniacal Marlon Brando.  

And Schrader has an issue with that kind of maximalist filmmaking too, citing other New Hollywood directors’ penchant for playing with “big toys.” “I have never been drawn to the big toys like George and Francis and Marty [Scorsese], and once you get hooked on the big toys, then the budgets go way sky-high,” continued Schrader. “By big toys I mean crowd scenes, a period wardrobe, more explosions.” Indeed, Schrader’s never been one for big-budget movies, with all of his films being smaller, more intimate affairs. That includes his latest picture, “Master Gardener,” which finally hits theaters next month on May 19.

Schrader couldn’t help but criticize another New Hollywood brethren Robert Altman, as well as legendary French director Jacques Tati, in his new interview, too. Put it this way: Schrader doesn’t do whimsy or “cutesy stuff.” “No, I don’t. I never really cared much for that cutesy stuff,” Schrader said. “Jacques Tati did these films, and a lot of people love them. They are whimsy, so my definition of a room in hell would be where they only show Jacques Tati movies. And then go to the next room where they constantly play “Prairie Home Companion.””

In a word, ouch. But at Schrader’s age, one doesn’t need to hold one’s tongue. Up next for the 76-year-old? A reunion with “American Gigolo” star Richard Gere, adapting Russell Banks‘ 2021 novel “Foregone.”