House of D's director and star has a thing for lemurs and Téa Leoni, plus the answers to your most urgent queries.
Which actors have influenced you? -- Paula Loder, Porto, Portugal
Marlon Brando -- though it's hard to digest genius as an influence. Bob Hope. Jeffrey Wright.
If you were to write or direct a film based on an already published book, which book would you choose? Would you want to play a role in it? -- Barbara Whitney, Richton Park, IL
I still want to do My Dark Places and play James Ellroy. I always thought Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 would make a deep movie. I would love/hate to try to adapt it, to strike a real, but surreal tone and do the whole history of California and the U.S.A. through the eyes of the lovely Oedipa Maas. Plot to come later. That would certainly end my career.
What makes a good director? Are you one? -- Nikki LaCrosse, Simi Valley, CA
Many different things: visual imagination, depth of feeling, a sense of story structure and tension, love of music, empathy for actors and an ability to communicate to them, calm, resolve, playfulness. Am I one? I hope so. I know I can get better and will.
Who inspired your portrayal of the suicidal movie executive in Full Frontal? -- Andy Webster, New York
Nobody, really. Maybe Steven Soderbergh -- not modeled on him, but we discussed making the guy a straightforward, quid pro quo kind of guy. The kimono was my idea.
What's the funniest word in the English language? -- Donnaj Bakke, St. Louis
I wish "Donnaj" were in the English language. How 'bout "lemur"?
Do you think a real-life couple should ever play a couple onscreen? -- Marisal Camba, Pleasant Hill, CA
I'm not morally against it; it just seems to inhibit the fantasy of the viewer a little. Too reality-based for fantasy projection or something like that.
So ...will there be an X-Files movie? -- Lisa Beiter, Ithaca, NY
Yes. We hope to shoot next winter in Vancouver.
Aren't you glad you did the X-Files and now you will be asked stupid questions forever? -- Elizabeth Williams, Denver
What did you think the first time you read the Evolution script and realized that Head &
Shoulders was going to save the world? -- Rekha Chandrasekaran, Fairfax, VAI don't think the Head & Shoulders gag was in the first time I read it. I thought it was funny. Funnier than Herbal Essences, anyway.
Do you plan to continue writing and directing? Perhaps something where you play every major role, like Peter Sellers or Alec Guinness? -- Jesse Hassenger, Brooklyn
I do plan to continue. But to play every role and direct? That sounds like madness. Besides, there's only a few actors who can play every role in a movie: Sellers is one of a kind. Eddie Murphy also ...that ain't easy.
Were you influenced at all by John Cassavetes when making House of D with your wife? -- Kathryn Verville, Holyoke, MA
I love Cassavetes's work and I love my wife's work, as I'm sure he loved his wife [Gina Rowlands]'s work -- I love his wife's work. I feel, objectively, that any time I can get Téa Leoni in a movie I'm making, I'm lucky. Cassavetes probably felt the same.
If you were reincarnated as a pie, what kind of pie would be? -- Gayle Jones, Delight, AR
Pecan. Or maybe lemon meringue.
If you could live anywhere and still do your job, where would you live? -- Katie DiLello, Vestal, NY
Contrary to popular belief, I loved Vancouver and often think of living there.
If you were offered the part of James Bond, would you take it? -- Michele Hopkins, Oxnard, CA
Probably not. I think one well-dressed, crime-busting, iconic role a lifetime may be enough. Mulder, Fox Mulder