The very recent news of Spike Jonze's "Where The Wild Things Are" adaptation being pulled from the 2009 Warner Bros. release schedule is just another example in many of how hard it is for a filmmaker, let alone an idiosyncratic nu-auteur, to get a film made these days. Even if the 'Wild Things' does come out sometime 2009, it'll have been seven years since the fanciful director has made a feature-length film (2o02's "Adaptation"). It's been something we've had on the brain of late.
In 2007 Tamara Jenkins released "The Savages" and it was her first feature-film in eight years. Paul Thomas Anderson's "There Will Be Blood," arrived in the same season and it was his first project in six. Kimberly Peirce returned to the film world in March of this year with "Stop Loss," her first feature since the 1999 Oscar winning "Boys Don't Cry." May of 2008 brought us "Mister Lonely" and the return of Harmony Korine, and in November Baz Lurhmann will release his adventure romance epic "Australia." All five directors had not put out a film in more than half a decade (7 for Lurhmann, 9 for Peirce, 10 for Korine). What took so damn long? Where did they go? It may take some of these struggling indie auteurs a few years to get their non-Hollywood projects off the ground, but nonetheless, we're overjoyed and grateful to welcome them back. But what about the others? There's still plenty of great indie directors that have seemingly gone MIA. The indie film market might be in the toilet, but here's a look at 6 AWOL filmmakers that we'd love to see make some kind of comeback, if that's at all possible these days.
Her 1992 debut, "Crush," about a severe car wreck victim whose writing career has been clandestinely hijacked by her conniving best friend (played by Maria Gay Harden) was a twisted and oftentimes confusing mess. It wasn't until 2001, finally in tune with her distinctly dark tone highlighted by hope and humor, that Maclean truly became to sparkle with the vibrant adaptation of Dennis Johnson's novel, "Jesus' Son." Starring Billy Crudup and Samantha Morton as fuck-up heroin addicts with hearts of gold, the quirky film centered on Crudup, whose aimless life shuffle managed to harm everyone around him. Since 1999, Maclean's only directorial work has been a few episodes on HBO's "The L Word", "Carnivale" and "The Tudors," but knowing indie cinephile thirst for more of her shimmering take on the underbelly of life.
Repugnantly awesome jackass and talented filmmaker there is convincing, almost-scientific, evidence out there to tie the "douchebag" meme to the beginnings of Gallo's persona in the media and public eye. This filmmaker you love to hate and controversial director has not yet released a film since 2003's snail-paced fellatio-boasting "Brown Bunny," and knowing Gallo, it wouldn't be a surprise if he never directed again. In fact, after 'Bunny' was savaged by critics at Cannes in its original cut, Gallo declared he would never make another film, but he's also "retired" many a time in his boy who cried wolf mien. He might be a delicious trashbag personally, and his films can often be exploitative to the point of artistic detriment, but there's too much idiosyncratic joy in them for us not to wish for another, and admittedly, "Buffalo 66," is a late-'90s indie classic in our minds.
Honorable Mention: Jim Jarmusch, the experimental black and white color scheme enthusiast who has brought us such gems as "Stranger than Paradise and "Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai" will be returning in 2009 with his new film, "The Limits of Control," featuring Bill Murray and Tilda Swinton (it'll have been 4 years; though it's currently editing as we speak). Mike Mills, the mind behind the auspicious "Thumbsucker" in 2005 has yet to declare another project, we can only hope it comes sooner rather than later. Amy Heckerling, whose career started off with such promise after directing "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" and progressed to the guilty pleasure "Clueless," has yet to make a film that received a theatrical release since 2000's "Loser" (The studio hated it and, "I Could Never Be Your Woman" went straight to DVD in 2007). Todd Haynes took fiver years after "Far From Heaven" to direct last years fever dream Dylan biopic "I'm Not There," we hope we have a chance to see a new project from him before 2012. Sofia Coppola exposed audiences to a highly stylized version of the pre-revolutionary French court with 2006's "Marie Antoinette," we hope her next project (she has yet to announce one) will resemble "Lost in Translation" more than the stuffy French anachronism. Miranda July burst onto the film scene with her 2005 debut indie hit, "Me and You and Everyone We Know," and thankfully has another presumably quirky and affected indie film in "Satisfaction" shooting later this year. Jane Campion, the highly acclaimed Kiwie director ("The Piano, "An Angel At My Table") released her last feature in 2003. Hopefully her new film "Bright Star" set to be released in 2009 will be a return to form. Guy Ritchie, the hyper-kinetic director with the crippling addiction to fast cuts and flashy dialogue is slated to release "RocknRolla," his first film since 2005, this October, which will no doubt please his facile, A.D.D., shoot-em-up cinema. David O'Russell hasn't released a film since 2004's egregiously counterfeit existentialist-101 comedy "I Heart Huckabees." Now that his current film, "Nailed" is essentially fucked, what does the future hold for him? Assholes should have just as much a right to make films as timid and fey indie low-talkers, no?