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His name is Oliver Stone.
The Joe Rogan Experience by by.
All right, go. Thank you very much for being here. I'm a really big fan, so this is an honor for me. I'm real, real excited. I'm really excited about your book. I'm really excited about just your films, The Untold Untold History in United States, which I think is fantastic. I mean, that is that's one of my favorite things I've ever done and so thorough and so interesting. But the book, first of all, look how good you are going to cover there.
Well, it's an old shotgun, handsome bastard. Look at you, you know, looking good there. Here is that film.
It was 1968, November. I just come off the last mission in Vietnam. Wow. It was on a hilltop. We got stuck in the rain in the Ashow Valley. It was the first cavalry. And we really the helicopters couldn't get in for 11 days. It was awful. Wow. We had leeches everywhere. Oh. And the enemy, we didn't know where they were, but we felt that they were going to close it. It was it was too wet ultimately for them to close in.
But they knew we were there. So we were praying the whole time was kind of nerve wracking because it was my last few days, you understand. I was supposed to get out of there. What deros? Leave the country. I was due out. I had volunt. I had volunteered for an extra three months in order to get out of the army three months sooner. Wow. In other words, they had their normally you had to serve if a two year deal, you had to serve six, six months stateside on the backside of it.
So I didn't want to do that because I was going nuts with the rules and the regulations and I'd gotten some trouble with that. So I extended in combat for another three months and that ended up in this mission.
How much did your time serving impact your your directing? And you'll get you've had these life experiences as someone who's just a filmmaker. They really can't draw upon like you've had actual combat experience and when you're making movies about combat. I mean, that has to be a gigantic advantage or at least it adds layers to it that are almost impossible to create, to recreate for someone is just trying to imagine what it's like.
Yeah. And that was very important when we did Platoon. I was trying to get the exact distances and what and the amount of firepower is not as used. It's not as intense, generally speaking, as the movies make it. Yeah, and that's the problem because the movies have so much to play, you know, so much to show. They bring the enemy much closer than they condense things and they they amplify as much as possible. Now, I did that to here and there.
So I'm I'm guilty, too. But I think overall it's way overdone. And the newer stuff that's come out since 2001, you know, with the patriotic stuff and heavily, heavily militaristic stuff is way off, way off. And people don't die that way, like, you know, in the type of films like Mark Wahlberg made or, you know, those kind of films, they just way, way overdone anyway. And what in what way?
Well, what was the name of the film? Lone Survivor. Yeah. Was it the. Yeah. Yeah. They get dropped off whatever. And 10 guys and they managed to kill how many Taliban for each guy.
You know how much of that was based out. I mean, it's all about Marcus. Look, just like I haven't had a chance to talk to Marcus, although I'm friends with him, but I don't know how much of it they they monkey with everything whenever they may overdone.
It was way overdone. What I heard and what's been reported is that, you know, they got trapped right away. That was pretty quick. The ambush went on and they got they got the shit kicked out of themselves. And, you know, I can't I can't be I don't remember exactly the details, but he did get away. And you. Yeah, some people did scamps, but it doesn't look like it does in the movie where everyone's a hero.
Right. That is a problem. And that's one of the things that I really loved about Platoon. Everyone wasn't a hero. Yeah. I mean, the the Tom Berenger character, they only existed.
It's in the book. Yeah. Based on a guy called Sergeant. I called him Sergeant Barnes, but he wouldn't news his real name. Real guy then shot in the face was scarred, distorted, kind of handsome like that. But he was a serious guy and he knew what he was doing. He was the leader of the platoon. See, I made clear that the leaders of the platoon were not really the lieutenants. They were the platoon sergeant in the squad sergeants.
And they were very important in our lives. So I rarely saw officers. I was dealing in the jungle. You deal with what's right in front of you. So the sergeant was crucial. Barnes is a crucial character. So is the other character, Sergeant Elias, played by Willem Dafoe. Was he in another unit? I had combined four different units over in three combat units. I combined them into one one unit, one platoon for this movie purposes.
So the Willem Dafoe character was also based on a real person? Yes, he was based on a guy who in the Learns long range recon patrol who was a great guy. He was an Apache. Kind of an Apache Mexican mix. Not quite sure what it was, because I didn't get to know him that well, but I admired him because he had that life. Grace. A guy who fought a lot. He'd been around. He'd been an he'd been in before.
He was on a second tour and very much a love, a beloved figure.
And he was killed after I left the unit. He was killed about a month later in a friendly fire accident. Friendly fire is met. We talk about it. Yeah, well, quite a bit, you know, because it's also underestimated. People never. The Pentagon cuts it all out, especially in the movies that come from the Pentagon approval. Right. They they don't like to emphasize how difficult, how often I would say 15 to 20 percent of our casualties in that war were friendly fire.
Wow. Now, that's not just ground fire from when you get into a jungle situation, you're close to people. You don't really know where you're shooting. Sometimes you don't know where where the incoming fire is is coming from. So it's quite a mess. It's chaotic. The radio, people screaming, shouting, noise, confusion and a lot of fear that was highlighted for us when the Pat Tillman incident.
One very important one.
Pat Tillman, who is this spectacular athlete, decided to postpone his NFL career and go over and serve and was killed in friendly fire. And it wasn't really reported that way for a while.
That's absolutely correct. Which is the point is that they don't know. They really don't want the parents to know what's really going on. So if imagine if imagine 15, maybe 20 percent are dying from that friendly fire, that this is not just ground fire. This is, of course, bombing and certainly artillery fire because that is often misplaced. It's not that easy to get the coordinates down in a tense situation where you you can hit your where artillery 20 miles away, 40 miles away has to hit your house.
They hit the spot when you're making a movie like Platoon. And this is in many, much. Much of it is based on your actual real life experience. How much preparation is involved now and how much how much is it different than when you're making another movie? Because this is something that's intensely personal to you, obviously.
How much preparation? Well, I got I got a great combat adviser. He'd been there as a Marine. They'll die. He came in out of the blue. And he he was a real life or type. So he remembered all the details of uniforms and fire and the and the firepower.
I mean, it's you take a lot of details to put this together. But the preparation was I'd been doing it for 10 years. I started the picture in 1976. I don't know when I wrote it. It wasn't made. It was rejected by the by the powers that be the first time. And then there was it was considered great, great script. But to really, you know, to realistic a bummer, a downer, if you remember back in the 70s and Apocalypse Now and Deerhunter.
Yeah. Those were big films and mythic beautiful films, but they were not realistic. Then they had Sylvester Stallone to his Rambo series where he goes back and fights a war again. Do those drive you crazy? Yeah, although the first one was pretty good. But the first one was different. They're playing up the, you know. Yeah. The whole sympathy card. The pity card. I don't buy that. You know, there's a lot of that veteran feeling that, you know, is the way we were.
We were beaten. We had our hands tied behind our back and we couldn't win and that kind of thing. Believe me, it was as badly conceived or with a lot of misinformation. I go on in the book and talk about the lies that were spread by the military, the propaganda that were winning the whole time that they were using the body counts, heavy body counts. And they say, well, if we're killing so much, so many of them, they're not going to be that many left.
And but on the other hand, as the years went on, more and more of them kept appearing. So they the Vietnamese were indestructible in a way. They were like Anse. They were they were fighting for their independence, their for their land and their was their country. And they never gave up ever. I mean, you could a nuke them. And that's what Curtis LeMay at one point suggested. You could have dropped a nuclear bomb. It wouldn't have done it wouldn't have made the difference.
Thank God they didn't. But America went to extremes to win that war with poisoning. The bombing, the bombing of not only Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia was intense, intense, bitter, bigger by far than World War two for this crazy war.
Well, it also it set a precedent for our lack of trust in the military, a lack of trust in the government that guides the military, particularly in how they deal with the veterans that are dealing with things like Agent Orange or, you know, people that have come back that were sick, where they denied that this was part of the problem.
Sure. We didn't even have PTSD. We do. Yeah. What that was. But it started to prop up when I got back and I talk about it here a bit about PTSD, which I'd never heard of, but I think we all had it. What did they call it back then? Shell shocked or.
I guess so. But I wasn't it was not a diagnosis diagnosable. It was not an ailment that you could officially catalog, because if you did, the Army would be admitting to a huge amount of insurance problems and all kinds of medical problems they would have to cover. So it was you know, it was something that there was no word for it. But frankly, to get back to the issue of the original question, was it the platoon was rejected on for these two?
It almost came to be again in 1983, fell apart again. And it's a heartbreaking story.
It's in the book and it's resurrected. I mean, I forget about I just put in the closet after those movies came out, I said that they don't want to know about Vietnam. And in this country, they really forget it. It's not going to happen. Fine. I live with it. I was moving on with my career at Midnight Express. I had Scarface. I was I had other things in my night, but.
Michael Cimino, who had directed The Deer Hunter, told me he wanted to produce it with me as a writer, as a director, and that we would would we would resurrected because he said Vietnam is coming back. I said that Lance says, I don't think it's going to come back. He said, look at Stanley Kubrick's pictures. He's going to make a picture. It's called Full Metal Jacket. And it took it took three years or two years for him to make it.
But the fact that he made it certainly gave us some in Paris to make. We made it very low budget. And by the way, it was made by the same company as made Salvador my previous film. They made him I made him back to back in Mexico and the Philippines, back to back financed very low budget by Hemdale, a British company led by a gentleman named John Daley, who I met, who was my mentor. I much credit him in the book.
So we were nothing. Fellman Out of nowhere. I mean, we were the Barnum. I mean, we're in the Philippines and making a film that nobody really knew much about. And at the bank, you know, we were struggling to get it made. And there was a weather problems. There was all kinds of. Logistical problems. But we'd been through hell on Salvador, as I describe in the book, in Mexico, so we were a unit.
By this time, we got used to the difficulties of making low budget films in between the time you wrote it and the time it actually got done.
Was there ever any effort by the studios to try to water it down or to try to doctor it up and.
Sure. No, that went on quite a bit. Everyone read the script at one point or another. Everyone rejected it. So and when they finally almost got made with Cimino in 1983, we thought we were in. We thought we'd get it made now. But the resistance to it at the very end with the MGM was supposed to be the distributor. And Henry Kissinger was on the board of directors, along with Haig, Alexander Haig. You remember him, military guy who was secretary of state, very bad tempered.
They were both on the board. And whether they went to that board. I don't know. But that's what the story they cover their ass by telling me we can't make this movie. We can't distribute this movie because the board would be against it. Now, sometimes they say they tell you that without checking. But in this case, I don't know. Mm hmm. So as a result, the film fell apart again. This was a heartbreak.
Did you ever think, like, maybe I can move it a little bit or change it a little better?
Well, you just identified the Pentagon, said to me, forget it, we're not going to help you at all. And this thing is completely distorted. They were upset as hell about the fragging. I mean, that's to say real a tragic news. Yeah, yeah. There was a lot of that towards the end. It started in sixty seven, eight. But there was more and more discontent when Lyndon Johnson pulled out of the presidency in March of 68.
That was a big moment. I think all the so everyone kind of knew that this thing was not going to work out. And who wanted to be the last guy to get killed in Vietnam. Right. And so I think 69, 70, where more and more fractions, more fraction fractious. And there was more and more incidents. At one point there was a Pentagon document that came out. I've seen it. It said this situation in in the army is getting so poor, so bad, the morale is so low that it's.
It resemble it's beginning to resemble the French mutinies in 1970 in the World War One. That was a big concern of the Pentagon. They knew the thing was not going to work. It was cracking from within. So we gave more and more, let's say, more and more credit to the Vietnamese, South Vietnamese and saying that they were going to take our place and put more money. We put a fortune into them selfish enemy's army like we're doing now or the Afghan army.
It's interesting when you look back, what year did Platoon come out? Eighty. We finally made it out in 86 December when when you really think about it, you're only talk.
You're not talking about that much distance distance between that movie coming out and the Vietnam War ending. I mean, in terms of how we look at the world now, I mean, if we look at it's 2020, if we look at 2000, that doesn't seem like 2003. That doesn't seem that long ago. But that's kind of the timeline you're looking at. And so, you know, and a lot of ways was probably very fresh in a lot of people's eyes, particularly people in the Pentagon.
It was quite something when it came out. It was you know, it was it was like a bomb went off, went around the world. First of all, it wasn't just America. This film played everywhere and was, I guess, as a shock at the time because it was more realistic than any war feel that they had seen. And of course, it was dirty. And, you know, I mean, it was we had drug use in it.
Which was, you know, description of the division. There was a division in the Army. We were we were draftees, many of us. So it wasn't all volunteer, you know, and it wasn't all like gung ho at all. It was a split. And I just described I showed the split as much as I could. I would be in the I joined the camp where the people who I would say were anti authoritarian. I wouldn't say they were anti-war because we didn't have anything like that going on.
It was just the army sucks. The man sucks. You know, a lot of the black troops knew this. There was a lot of dissension with the black troops, too, because when Martin Luther King got killed in April of 68, that had that had a negative impact over there. So it was a lot going on in the country. People were seeing it, feeling it and knew new troops were coming in all the time from the country draftees.
So we were you know, you get a feeling for what's going on.
Did the movie did the movie feel different to you than anything else you've ever done in terms of your obligation? Because I really do think that that was the most realistic at that point for sure. War movie ever made and the one that left people with the most conflicted feelings. And just this this feeling of as much as you can relate in a film with notable actors that. You you you showed the horrors of war in a way that I don't think had ever been portrayed before in a film.
Well, we got the details right. I mean, when you see a dead body and you see it being lifted into a helicopter, that's really looks like a dead man. Yeah. The pain of death. I mean, you feel the danger. You feel it's it's never what you think it's going to be. It's always comes up in another way. It's like sloppy sometimes in battle. And that's why I don't like about a lot of the movies.
A battle is often just confusion. Breaking down. Things don't work. It's like Mike Tyson said, you know, your plan goes out the window when you get hit in the face. That's the way it goes. Never see, the Americans had a methodical way of doing it. We go into the jungle, we send the little guys into the jungle. They meet resistance, pull-back, bomb, artillery. Do anything, take minimum casualties. That's not what the Marines did.
But that's what the Army's idea was and that it worked to a degree that it eradicates the whole. The bombing is is very sloppy. Not only a friendly fire, but you have a lot of civilians killed, too.
Imagine when you finish your final cut of that movie. And it got had to be a very strange almost like you're releasing a child near you. I mean, it was it had to have been so much more personal and so much so much more scientific. I'd been through so much. I really I didn't. I mean, I didn't think it was good. I thought was a good movie. That was a good script. I didn't think I'd expect anything.
I had just done Salvador, which was about a dirty civil war down in Central America in which America, again, supported some pretty bad guys, death squads. And I showed that and that picture had not done very well because it had been America had been very little and no interest really in the Central American issues of the 1980s. I remember the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua. There was a lot of turmoil in Guatemala, turmoil in Honduras, where I went down there to research Salvador.
And what I saw in Honduras was the beginning of another Vietnam. That's one of the reasons I really committed to Salvador, was heavily when I saw the troops, the American troops. Now there are women, men and women, young in uniform, many of them National Guard, troops, reserve. They were they are building up for this. I think it was pretty clear that Reagan was going to attack Nick, a rival in some way. But it never happened because of a fortuitous accident when the CIA got busted for flying a cargo cargo over Nicaragua.
It was a huge scandal that led to the Iran-Contra unraveling with Reagan. So Reagan was unable to do what he wanted to do in in Nicaragua, although we had mined the port. We'd done everything possible supporting the Contras. All that pissed me off. In other words, it was like 20 years after the war, 15 years after war. Here I am back in Central America. I'm seeing the same thing, young guys like me in a country yet, you know, just believing what they're hearing from their superiors.
So you felt like this obligation to not just release Salvador, but also release Platoon, as in Platoon. Your experiences showing what the Vietnam War was really like. And with Salvador saying, hey, this is happening again?
Yeah, I did him simultaneously, except I didn't really believe an unbelievable tune was gonna work. Yeah. Come out. So I didn't have much faith in it.
Well, when it did come out, how much of a surprise was it when I was a giant hit?
Well, I knew that in the moment that put it this way, the shooting was you can tell from the young people, the actors and the their enthusiasm for this. There was a hunger. They were so delighted, delighted to become so. So soldiers, for the purposes of the movie, we trained them on a 24 hour basis for two weeks and it worked. I wanted them to get no sleep and they'll die. Help me with that. We we put them in a bivouacked training situation, but a real one.
I mean, where you don't sleep and you you basically pulling sentry duty all night. You have you split your duty with foxholes. Three guys. And Dale would stage attacks and stuff in the middle of the night. Really. They were nervous and they were they were tired beyond belief, which is good. That's where you want them.
So how did how did you plan this out? So when you were when you were about to start filming, you had it in your head. We have to make this more realistic. What's the best way to do it? And know from the beginning, we from the beginning, the way I cast it, I wanted. I wanted young people as much as possible in the in the roles. People who were fresh, who didn't look like they'd done other movies and types.
They were based on everybody I knew in my platoon. People from the South. A lot of people from the south, the people from the Midwest, a lot of inner city people, Chicago, especially St. Louis, New Orleans. And I know Californians and I try to mix it all up, but the whole idea from the beginning was that we're going to make this with our little bit of money. We to make this as realistic as we could.
So we planned it that way. And the camp worked. We got the full cooperation of the Philippine army and some shitty helicopters that they had, but very dangerous ones. But at least that was it was a start.
Had that ever been done before the camp that the idea of having them like six hours?
I don't think so, because that it bothered me a lot and feel maybe in the old days. But I don't I don't know one now.
What made you fall on that? Like what? Why was that? Well, I'd lived it. I had lived it. So I wanted them to. Above all, I wanted them to be tired, irritable. It gives you a sense of what it's like in it. There's bugs. There's heat. It's it's a jungle.
And it's how do they respond to that? At first, there were a lot of bitching.
There was a SAG set. This S.A.G., the same unions. And you you have to have 12 hour turnaround.
So a few of them quit. Really? Yeah. Wow. And we replaced them because I had a long list waiting list of people that I'd seen over the years. Wow. Actually, Charlie Sheen was the younger brother of Emil Emilio Estevez, who was my first choice to play in 1983. And after the movie went peeled back to 86. Emilio, I'd gotten older and I went with Charlie, who came of age about that time was my age when I was over there.
Oh, wow. So he was 19, 20. So, you know, that's when I wanted those bases. When you get the faces, you can train them. And Barrenger and defo were the oldest. And that helped enormously then.
There were those, you know, anchors of of the operation when the film was this gigantic success. Did that. How did that feel to you to that validate this idea that you had a shocking onto?
It shocked me. It shocked me. I mean, for years, as had been rejected 10 years, you know, I mean, I was sick of it. I was saying, I'm not going to make this movie because it's going to go wrong. You know, I didn't think was possible. But because of this, you know, Kubrick picture and the support of the English company. John Daly, they they wanted to make it. This is news for me, because all my life I'm fighting to make a movie against somebodies wishes.
All of a sudden, I got some people on my side. That's a big that's a big difference and enthusiasm of the cast and Dale Dye and all these great people and my cameraman and everybody, they loved it and we made it. And frankly, we finished it. We did it on budget 50. It was 50 days and 154 days. But that was in. We had the money in the in the in the that 10 percent contingency. We finished it in 54 days and it was tough.
And we got out of there just in time because the monsoons came. And in the editing right away, you could feel that people were reacting to it in a different way. We edited. There was no way. We edited it a little bit. But, you know, we played with it, playing with it. You massage it. But right away, I would say from the first screening on, you could tell people were responding, saying, this is real.
This is I've never seen this. This is real. So it it took care of itself in a way. I mean, they didn't put much money in the distributing company was Orion pictures were existing that they they put. They said we'll give it a quality release, a few theaters at Christmas in eighty six. And it opened Euge first day in New York. There was a line of veterans, young me, you know, veterans or look young.
I mean not war. War to enter as young veterans. They were around the block at the Loews Astor and I wasn't there. But people told me that they were. They went in quietly. There was a meet. And they sat through the film and very little talk or little anything. Not a lot of the gung ho stuff you hear. And at the end of it, they were quiet. And some of them wouldn't get up out of their seats.
Quite a few of them were sitting there still in their seats. You know, some were crying. They took off. And then it took off like I camp. I've never you know, it's a phenomena you rarely see in the world is like the top third highest grossing film in America that year. And it was. It was a blockbuster because it no children are allowed in. You know, and you don't have much of a woman's audience at first, so you don't figure on these things.
You know, it it took off and kept going. And then the women started to come in in the third week as it was getting more and more talked about. There's no stopping it in there. Even when you went to places like Paris or London, you know, people cared. It was unbelievable.
Well, it was a masterpiece. And is it is that your finest moment in your proudest moment? You feel like as a filmmaker?
Well, it's one of the highlights of my life. And it it's the climax of this book. The 10 chapters here lead up to that, because as my story starts in 76, I'm in New York, I'm broke, depressed, written 12 screenplays. Nothing's happened. I've come close a few times. Nothing's going on. And my marriage is ended. My first marriage and looks I haven't I can't accomplish in my life. The things that matter. So at the age of 30, you kind of wake up.
You say, you know, what can I do? My grandmother dies. I talk to her. I go and talk to her on her deathbed. She's she's dead. But in France, they let them. My mother was French, she said. They laid they lay them out. And I was talking to her. And in this, I think it's a very moving scene where he communicates with her because she loved him and his own family life was quite disturbing in many ways.
It was for him a traumatic divorce between the mother who his mother and father. And he goes into he goes into this. What happened in it's about a family to it's about how a family life can break apart. You can become a child of divorce. So his life kind of falls apart. And he goes off, you know, hence he goes to Vietnam as a teacher. He goes joins a merchant marine in all kinds of things that happen, comes back to school, goes back to Yale University, drops out again.
He writes a book, writes his first book about his experiences. I did this before back in 1966. I was 19 years old. Didn't work out. It was rejected. It was ultimately published about 1997. It's called A Child's Night Dream. So I was a writer from the beginning, I think, before I was a director. And when that was rejected, I just said, fuck it. You know, I'm too I'm too full of myself.
I'm too much of a narcissist. You can't write about myself. So I joined the army and volunteered for combat and for Vietnam. I didn't want to miss it. I wanted to see it right away for the experience.
Now, I wanted to get the bottom of the barrel. I wanted to see what what this country was about. I you know, I was I was inquisitive. Those I wanted to know what life was about. I mean, I'd grown up, relet, relatively sheltered. You know, I went to my father, made a living on Wall Street. He was a Republican Eisenhower supporter. He was a lieutenant colonel in World War Two where he met my mother.
I mean, he was a strong Republican and all his life. I grew up in that ethic. And it really it's something that when I went to Vietnam, he had never been in combat. But when I saw what I saw over there coming from a sheltered existence, relatively, it was shattered. The the glass was shattered. It was just I wasn't like, well, I couldn't take my father's word for it anymore, anything. So I had to learn for myself.
That's why it was different from your father's perceptions of what what I was I supported the war.
Like many, many people did for several years until he got older. And then he came around one day and he said, you know, I think it's a I think you were right. I think it was. It's a futile thing because the whole idea of the Cold War and what he began to question it at the age of 70, about 65. He said, you know what? What difference does it make if this domino bullshit? He said, you know, the Russians have a sub off Long Island.
You know, they can they can nuke us from anywhere. Yeah. It doesn't make sense to play this zero sum game of fighting for land, fighting for one country or another, intervening in other countries. He began to question everything. So. And I was to it. I didn't change. I know you're going to go to later in my life, but basically I didn't change until I went to this trip in Honduras, which I just told you about with my friend Richard Boyle for Salvador in nineteen eighty five.
I went down there and what I saw in Central America confirmed that we were doing it again. We were going into these countries. We didn't know what the fuck they were about. We didn't and we were fighting. So in most cases, the interests of most of the people, the majority of the people, they had had a revolution in Nicaragua because it was so corrupt. Major revolution in nineteen. None. And that the we've been opposed to that new regime ever since.
So when you first when you entered into the army, when you signed up, did you. Did you have clarity about this? Did you. Would you just have this idea in your head that you needed to find out, know what it was like?
No, no. I had no clarity. I was. I wanted to get out of New York and get away from my home. My parents were divorced. My father. I want to get away from my father. I want to get away from everything I knew. I knew I didn't like Yale University. I was in the class with George Bush. You know, I come from that generation of Donald Trump, George Bush, Bill Clinton, you know, same generation.
But I don't identify with those people because maybe they they didn't have that sense of service at all. I did. I had a sense of patriotism. Yeah, but I think you call it. I really think it was misplaced. But I felt that I owe my country something. They can't work just for myself.
The reason I keep going back to this, it's so significant that you had that moment in your life when you were involved in Vietnam and you were in combat duty because all of your films, although there are these big commercial successes, they all have a message.
I mean, Midnight Express, even Scarface. There's there's a message in these films that's based on real live scenarios that took place that a lot of people are unaware of in a lot of people got their education about Cuba, releasing prisoners to America. Based on Scarface. I mean, that's how a lot of people found out about that.
That's too bad, because I wish we had more can more study of what's going on in the world, more contemporary studies?
Well, that's, again, what I really loved about the untold history, the United States. It's a fantastic piece that you put together where another chair I slapping that chair right there, you know.
Excuse me. No words but you.
That's something that's really flavored your life. Is it your your work is not just commercial. You don't you don't just put out these commercial success. No, they are good, but they are commercially successful. But you balance it with a message, whether it's JFK or whether it's platoon or all of them. There's something to them that resonates with people.
In answer to your question about whether I was clear, no, I wasn't clear, I was. Here's what I felt at the time. I said, look, I've been I wrote this book. It didn't work. I spent two years putting it together. It's my whole lives on there. It's not of interest to a publisher. So therefore, I'm going to go into this army and I'm going to go to this war and I'm going to let at that time, I was a good Christian.
I'm going to let God sort this out and he'll decide where they put it. That's how you felt in somewhat. Yeah. So if I'm not meant to come back.
I won't. Wow. And I went under those conditions. So, you know, you have to realize a lot of people in 19 are suicidal in nature. Yeah. And we know this from the facts now. Now, they were talking about it. You know, it's in this country, in America, we have a surfeit of suicide among 1920s, 20 wounds. And it's sad, but that's where I was spiritually desolate. And frankly, it got cleared up over there in the sense that I came out very grateful to be alive.
Having seen a lot of death, had you been wounded twice and I'd gotten the Bronze Star and done 30, 30 or more helicopter missions. It seemed quite a fair share of combat, which I describe in the book. I came back. Alienated and numb. I didn't come back as a protester, but confused. How did you feel about fighting with my father? Oh, fighting with your father, of course, gave me LSD. Went on.
Unperfect. Did you know? Yeah. Didn't you know your you know, he didn't know I'd give it to him. But he knew that he was on something.
How did you do that. I just slip into his coffee. No scotch. Even better. How much? Quite a bit. He was stronger.
You handle that strength. He drank. He drank whiskey every day of his life. So, yeah, he was a tough nut, but he was great. He was like swaying to the music. Oh, wow. I mean, sex fantasy.
Wow. Did you tell him about it afterwards?
Like how? No, actually we do. But over the years we he knew I kind of. After a while he figured it out. I guess I was a long haired, wild kid.
Right back talk and black talk to him. Did you feel like you had to do it?
Cause like you knew what kind of an impact it would have on him?
Opens. Oh, I was fighting with him. No, we were fighting about the war, funding about everything. Like, I just didn't like his ideas and wanted to destroy his mindset. Wow. His mindset was OK when this Vietnam is a mess, but his mindset was. But we can learn from it. We can get armaments. We're gonna build up our knowledge for the next war. That was his thinking, right. He came out of that generation of World War Two.
He was his father was wiped out in the in twenty nine. And he his first job was as a floor walker. He didn't have anything. So he worked his way up on Wall Street. Very hard, hard worker research in the back offices. So when the war was the war center where war was the highlight of his life, he says he comes back from the war in America, faced his problem. You know, what are we gonna do with all these men now?
We got the women working. How are we going to employ all these people? Everybody seemed to be scared of another depression. They felt we're going back into that. So there was this militarized economy that we had and they kept going. It basically kept going and built up by nineteen. We it ended in forty five. By 1950, 51, we're back in Korea where we were building up again. So the whole concept of an enemy was important to the American economy.
And the Soviet Union, of course, fit the bill, although they were our ally in World War two and four and then did most of the fighting. They became our our biggest enemy right away. Right away. There was no hesitation about us. It was often a political decision to have an enemy, to create fear and to keep the militarized economy that we have. And it got Eisenhower talked about it. He was the one who built it up the most.
But we're getting ahead of ourselves.
No, no, no, we're not. It's fine. But my father came from that generation and. He believed firmly that Russia was really invading our country, threatening that they were in our schools, they were in our State Department. I mean, he wasn't Joe McCarthy. But there is a lot of that mentality. Nixon was like that, you know. Hoover was pushing it.
I grew up terrified. I grew up terrified. Dad, why? Why do what? Why? Why do we let the Russians do that?
That kind of mentality, him been besieged. And so my father and I fought a lot. You can imagine because, you know, I got kicked out. He take me to a restaurant. I did. I'd have an American tie. It was made the American flag. Right. And the restaurant owner would kick me out because I thought it was disrespectfully expert. Right. That's interesting.
You can have an American flag, anything now and you're respectful. That's weird. You get an American flag hat or a t shirt and.
Oh, come on. This was a different world. It's still the height of the, you know, still the 70s. The older people were were offended by that. Yeah.
Let's say it's interesting how that shifted. Right. Now, the more American flag, the better on everything. Socks, underwear, nothing. Nothing is respect. Yeah, it's different.
It's so yeah. It's really weird. It's kind of been bastardized.
What was it like coming back and seeing the protest, though, and and seeing these people that were your age that were, you know, angry at people like you who had had been over there?
I didn't have any horror stories. I didn't see that, you know, baby killer. That's been exaggerated, I think, by people looking for, you know, looking for revenge.
I mean, someone yelling baby killer at the soldiers. Right. None of that. I mean, I think there was just comfort. I went back to New York society, which was I didn't have any veteran friends in New York. My friends went back to small towns in Tennessee and Kentucky and Georgia and into Chicago. So I never I didn't see them until I made Platoon and. Well, I think the problem was it was indifference. People didn't care.
They didn't give a shit. I mean, most people were making money. It was a 60s man. People were getting jobs. It was all kinds of new liberating ideas. The world was on fire. And I think people were thinking about. Vietnam was an afterthought. Unless you were directly involved with a relative, at least in New York. Very little. Occasionally people would wonder why you why did you go over there? You know, like I was an outcast.
Why did you waste your time? Get ahead. Make some money. It was the Donald Trump was. Was the Donald Trump generation, you know, a kind of a feeling make money.
There's a thing about your films, though, that I think I could keep getting back to this. But because you did go over there. It's almost like in your films, like you have something you have to tell people. But, yeah, it's like you have to give them medicine, but you gotta give it to him and sugar.
I didn't think of it that way. I wanted to do I take thorny subjects. Yeah, but they're entertaining too. Because I want to know what happens next. Like you, I think you have an interest in. So even political matters can be fascinating. Yes. Who else would do Nixon's life right? I mean, come on. He was not the most popular guy.
No, he's alive. And for me, it was a challenge. Yeah. Same thing with the JFK murder. I mean, it was so, so gnarly.
Darwin's extra complex, right? Because you took some liberties there to try to move the plot along, you know.
But liberties in the spirit of the of that, I didn't violate the truth. Right. So in this, I mean, I had to combine characters.
And so that is a complex story. The story of JFK assassination is very complex because I can learn a lot from a person and what their opinion is like. What do you think happened? Well, Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. You get these very specific character types where these people have these predetermined patterns that they plug into show. And the Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone is one of the weirder ones. Yeah, sure. That is one of the weirdest arguments.
And when I talk to them about the magic bullet, you know, like in the old well, that's actually been proven that that can happen. I mean, that drives me nuts. Yeah, sure. Because I'm a guy who shoots guns. I'm a hunter. And I know what happens when bullets hit bones. It doesn't ever come out like that ever.
And also, I think, you know, there was a hell of a shot. One hell of a shot can happen. I don't think it's that bad of a shot. I don't think it's that big of a deal. I think that's overstated. There's many things that are overstated. One of the things that's overstated is the scope was off. You know, people always say, well, scope was off. Well, fucking at any thing can knock a scope off.
You can drop a gun in the evidence room in the scopes off. That's that's nonsense. That's people don't stand guns.
But the bullet hitting those two people and finding its way on economy's gurney magically with very little distortion, the bolt at all is straight up horseshit. And the fact that that that still gets touted as being, well, this is actually how it could have happened. And weird things happen with bullets. Sure. Weird things happen with bullets, but. One weird thing that never happens with bullets is when they hit bone and shattered bone, they always distort. Always.
Yeah, I'm making it. I made a documentary it's almost finished about. We went back to the case again. Taking all the information from the assassination records review board that came out of the film. They were they passed an act. The JFK Act Congress did was amazing. And they allowed the board to exist for five years and they went through a lot of detail. They weren't out to prove anything, but they were. They found along a little detail that we put into this documentary, which I think you'll love.
I'm sure a lot of it goes into into CE 399, the bullet.
But it also goes into so much else on the autopsy, that scrutiny of the two autopsies, the one in Bethesda and also the one in Dallas that there was no in Dallas.
Well, they they did. Yeah, they do. Yeah. Of what happened to him in examinations in Dallas. Everybody saw a huge gaping wound in the rear right of Mr. Kennedy. His head. Yeah. And that was covered up.
Yeah, there was there was also the reason why they needed to make that magic bullet work.
The guy who got hit under the underpass, you know, I know you're right. I could see your enthusiasm, although it's deep, you know. Yeah. And also, you know, come on. I mean, if you're an infantryman, it's a hot you can't fire three shots like that. Why are you not firing at him when he's coming towards you? If you're serious, it's very unlikely.
But possible. I mean, it can be done. The shot can be done. But that's one of the least ridiculous things about that story, is whether or not one person could've pulled off negotiations.
I don't think it'd be done. I think. I think the world's best marksman couldn't do it. I remember reading something about that. It's a hard job.
It's a hard, hard shots can be made hard shot, three shots in that time period, depending upon how much he trained and trained for it, depending on. I mean, I've know some people that are spectacular marksmen that can do some ridiculous shit. And it was so fast. He was. He wasn't. But he was also trained. And if he depending upon how much training he did between his time in the service and his time actually getting ready to shoot Kennedy, you can get a lot better.
I don't know how much training he did. I mean, you can take someone who's three years ago a terrible shot and then they kill someone you know. Well, he could have done. And he's a terrible shot. Look, three years ago, he was a terrible shot.
Well, if that guy was training with that hired time. Well, I don't think the rifle. Look, it can be done. But again, whether it's likely or not, that could be debated.
But it's the least ridiculous thing about that story.
Well, wait till you see the document. I can't wait. We. We go. We I think we pretty much prove that there's no chain of evidence on on the rifle either.
Oh, no, I'm sure. I'm sure. Did you read David Liston's book Best Evidence years ago? You know, that's what got me into the Kennedy assassination. Somebody gave it to me. A friend of mine, a musician friend of mine. When I was on the road and I read I read it, unfortunately, all day right before my stand up comedy shows that night. And I was so depressed I didn't think anything was funny. And I went onstage, I had a terrible show, and then I had to shake myself out of it for the second show because I was bombed out.
I was like, I had never considered it before. I'm like, Jesus Christ, they kill the president. They covered it up.
Yeah. And we're paying for it to this day because I think Mr. Kennedy was one of the really on the road to being a great president. I think he did a lot of great things that people don't even know. And we put that in the documentary when he was actually doing in Africa. People don't know what he was doing around the world, in Asia, in Cuba, obviously South America, what his plans were. People don't understand that it was a big divide between Lyndon Johnson, who he he was about to get rid of them as vice president.
And for the next election. There was a big divide in thinking between Kennedy and Johnson. Kennedy was without doubt pulling out of the war. There was a directive. We bring it up in the prom, the sec def conference in Hawaii from earlier that year. It was pulling out. He made that very clear.
Well, there was also the Northwoods document, which is really crown. Zenia, it's shocking when you actually because this is not speculation or any kind of conspiracy theory.
This is all from the Freedom of Information Act signed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They were going to blow up a jet airliner and blame it on the Cubans. They were going to arm Cuban friendlies and attack Guantanamo Bay. They're going to do all this to get us to go to war with Cuba. And it was it's it's stunning that this this is an this is an actual plan by the United States government, vetoed by Kennedy.
Wasn't their plan also to fly a plane into a building?
I don't know if there was there was a plane planned to blow up a drone jetliner. They're going to take a jetliner fly and blow it up in the sky and and, you know, attribute all these deaths to that.
That came about actually that Northwoods came about as a result of the movie because that was what they was felled by the assassination records review board. Real. Yeah. Wow. One of many documents coming out. That's why it's important for my safe space. Peace of mind to finish this thing is kind of like, OK, this is the end, they have to just put down the evidence because I couldn't do it in a film, right?
Yeah, that's what I was going to get to. Like what? What is it like when you have this passion for this story? And this is a critical story in the history of the United States. And a clear piece of I mean, it's it's a clear historical record of an assassination of a president and most likely, whoever it who.
I mean, I don't know. Who do you who do you think was behind it?
I think. I'm not going to, you know, get sued because they're old. Right. But I think that Allen Dulles has to be looked at a lot closer. And I think he was no longer in the CIA, but he had a tremendous amount of influence. And I think he needed some organized, very organized top people to help him. So I think it could have been a group of people that were involved, maybe involving certain people in the Pentagon, too, because there was an awful lot of strange things that happen.
He certainly had some ideas that didn't jibe well with the people that were in power.
Dulles was fired by Kennedy, let's call it out, call a spade a spade, which had never been done. This was a shock to the American way of government. I mean, we come from a pro military system and here was Kennedy questioning it and then, you know, went after he was killed. I mean, it was insane for Lyndon Johnson to appoint him to the Warren Commission, where he managed to control pretty much the hearings and who who was heard, who was hired.
And what the CIA was delivering to the was a joke. It was transparently a joke.
There's a quote a couple of things that are Joe Arlen Specter being the guy comes up with a magic bullet. There is another joke. Yeah, there's there's a lot of that that's just very disturbing when it's one of those things where you go over that subject and you just leave in this state of discomfort and an unease. And it's very hard to relax afterwards.
But you're way too die. I can't wait. I'd love. Look, I love like I said, I love the untold here. See the United States. And I think you do a great service with that. That series where you you illustrate in a way that's both entertaining and very thorough.
All the pieces that we're moving and all the things that took place, I really we really worked on I had a professor of history, Peter Kozmic, work with me five years. We spent on a while. He rewrote it.
It was really an of nonprofit kind of enterprise, but I really had to do it.
It's amazing. And I don't think it gets nearly the credit that it deserves. A lot of people like it, though. It's great. I love it. It's available on Netflix.
Yes. Yes. When you're doing good. Can I play you happy? I got a break. Yeah, yeah, yeah. No worries.
Thank you. We'll be right back. Ladies and gentlemen, so we're back. Yeah. You were asking me about. We're back. Yeah. You're asking me about, you know, why why I get attracted to these kinds of subjects and they don't seem attractive on the surface. But when you more you get into them, the more they can be exciting. So I am a dramatist at heart. There really that is my what I do best, which is to dramatize situations, take something and bring it to life.
So take it. Take it. The Kennedy murder was extremely challenging and I knew it could work. I felt like he could work. And it was a surprise hit like platoon. I mean, basically, how can you take this war is boring. There's a lot of details. I was in four different units. You know, time not not much happens. And then suddenly things happen. It's not that easy to make it happen in a movie time movie space.
So I took two different sergeants from two different units. And I imagine what would they be like if they were in the same unit? They did. They would clash. One would be the law and order guy who's a guy who believed in what he was doing and fought it viciously. And the other guy is is a guy who is an A.I. who who's a rebel, who is like a bit like my own character. My father was much of a law and order guy, my mother, who is very much a rebel.
I kind of put that into this conflict because I saw it in every platoon. There was people who were like doing marijuana, people who are doing alcohol. You know, there was that split. And a lot of the black guys I hung out with were doing. Marijuana. And they were doing the music. The music was unbelievable. But they had a different kind of music than the Okee music. So it was all the split in these platoons I saw constantly.
Black. White. And country. City sensibilities. Also very important point is it? I found over time that the law and order guys often were the most racist in terms of coming down on the Vietnamese civilians, because we and we had we did jungle duty, but we also did a lot of civilian villages search and destroy, search and whatever Saffer search was certain. We find stores weapons. Is that not necessary? Necessarily they were cooperating, but sometimes they were forced to.
But a lot of guys screwed with them, you know, didn't like the Vietnamese at all, which was not the black problem.
That was you know, that was more of. It was a white problem. Mm hmm. So I found there was a lot of that going on and I couldn't that was not my thing. And I just really didn't like what I saw. A lot of cowardice to try, I imagine.
And that's a shock education. I mean, you talk about like no escape. Just thrust into this completely volatile, chaotic world and then introduced to a bunch of different people that you weren't around, you know, and then when they got out, I got thrown into jail.
It's in the book, too. You fought for for federal smuggling marijuana coming back from Mexico. I had a few. I just. ANNOUNCER two Really? That's it. Federal smuggling for an ounce, taking some Vietnamese grand home. Yeah, but I never went home. I just went right to Mexico. So it was a few days later I was in the jail.
Wow. Call my father as a dad. You know, I'm in trouble. I said, why would you call me? Where you been for that? We knew you got out two weeks ago at Fort Lewis. And I said, well, I said, Dad, you want to hear where I met, you know, blah, blah, blah. And he got me out. He got me out with some money. Well, without it, I would have been sunk into that prison.
It was awful. Prison was filled with blacks and Latinos. I mean, there are 5000 people in there for two thousand beds. Well, I was the beginning of the drug war. Nixon was had been elected, but had not yet declared that war on drugs. But it was filled. Most of them were nonviolent crimes. You say. Yeah. And I saw that that side of America coming out. So we have a lot of law and order types here.
Well, that law and order stuff was instituted when they passed that sweeping psychedelics acts of 1970. Oh, God.
Yeah, well, they would. Where were they? We were trying to do is they were trying to squash the civil rights movement. And it's a big part of what they were trying to do. They were trying to make everything incredibly illegal, schedule one, so that they could have a reason to infiltrate these groups and start arresting people and break the groups up.
That's absolute correct. Yeah. And J. Edgar Hoover was still around, unfortunately. He was a lot of influence on marijuana. He'd been the devil drug.
What a fascinating character he was. Yeah. Just yeah. They never got him yet on movie now.
No. God, almost impossible to really. I really wish there was more I mean, real personal footage of all the crazy shit that he was actually into. Yeah. We get an understanding of how nuts it was that this guy was in charge of spying on people.
And Lyndon Johnson, you have to ask, you know, did Lyndon Johnson really believe the bullshit he was talking about, the black civil rights movement? I had a communist basis that the communism was supporting it. I mean, that was very much Hoover's thesis.
Yeah, well, that was a great way to get people motivated to see your side of things back then, you know. Yeah. During the whole Cold War scare and the Red Scare, it's like communism being a motivating factor for any group.
Yeah. Yeah. No. So when you put together JFK, you have this film that is about this incredibly important subject, but yet you want to make it interesting and you want to make it a great film and you succeeded in doing that. But what is what is that like doing that balancing act of having so much information to tell? Yeah, I like that story so complex.
Three hours and 10, 12 minutes. And I got it through the system, which is unbelievable. I'll tell you how later. But at the time I was I needed the protagonist and the protagonist. And who was the guy, you know. Yeah. The only person who ever brought any kind of charges publicly was Jim Garrison. In New Orleans, he was a district attorney. And I read his book. He wrote two books. And I actually got to know him.
And he was a man who like 20 years after he did this and went through hell, came back to it and wrote another book. And that's the book I bought. In other words, he was devoted to this some like you.
He believed a lot more than me. He'd been a patriot in World War Two.
And he'd served in Korea. He'd been. He'd been. Sheep. I mean, he'd been called every name in the book. He but he fought as a patriot. He firmly believed that Mr. Kennedy was killed by these intelligence forces. And he went after it. And in those days, you just couldn't do it. You couldn't prove a covert operation. Right. He got killed by the press kill. And that's we've now we've found out a lot more about why what was going on.
We know a lot more facts about how the media went after him with Washio, a lot of bullshit accusations and made him look as bad as possible.
Well, Kevin Costner did an amazing job playing him in your movie, too. Well, he was the basis of that bet. Once you get a Costner in the middle of it, then you can start to move. You got an interesting central character. Then you bring in all these crazies that you read. You read about people like Jack Lemmon Mouth, Walter Matthau, all the lunatics around New Orleans, Dallas, involved in the war against Cuba. Yeah.
And you get the sense I wanted that then I wanted to Lee Harvey Oswald character, which is to tell a little bit of his story. So I had two stories, Garrison and Oswald. I got to know Marina. I didn't know the attractive. A lot of the Oswald story. Not enough of it. But there's more now. But it's. He seems to have been definitely in the employ of the CIA. When he went to Russia the first time and when he came back again, he was.
There's too much evidence of it. Yeah. We to bring that out, too. But that story becomes. And then the third story would be the Dealey Plaza, the actual assassination. So Garrison is not there. He has to go back into the past two to find this out. Right. So, yeah, it's that threat. That whole Dallas section is part of the it's part of the structure. It starts the movie, but it also we go back to it at the right time.
And at the climax we go back to it for the final time, the way the way it probably happened.
So then that's three stories. And then the fourth story, if you want to know the truth. In my thinking at that time was a Donald Sutherland. Yes. Bless those. Comes into the movie at the halfway point. And he gives Garrison a lot of new information because Garrison thinks he's dealing on local level. He's thinking he's dealing with something that's in New Orleans. He's not sure what beyond it. So he now says it's a much bigger story, which sends Costner into the last act going to Dallas.
And it's too much for the Costner character. You know, here he's blown away by it. He knows he's up against forces and much larger than he ever thought in this trial.
Who was the what was the motivation for the Donald Sutherland character, Fletcher Prouty?
He was a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force. He was the focal officer between the CIA and the Pentagon, an all time timer. World War Two did a lot of service and he was in charge of basically providing the CIA with military equipment for covert operations. He worked in Tibet. He worked on a lot of the operations in the 50s, in the late 40s. We had operations going on in Ukraine, Ukraine, China, Tibet. He was he trained Tibetan's in the Colorado mountains and many stories.
He's written several books. He was a he was a keen observer of the differences that were going on. He knew Dallas used to brief him and told me stories about then everything changed after Kennedy was guilty. To see that you're going to meet him. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Oh, yeah. I hung out with Garrison, too. I mean, the both of these were authentic men. And Fletcher described, you know, the difference after November 63.
He felt it right when he left the Pentagon. A year later, it was over. There was something that changed in the country. And sure enough, we were in Vietnam faster than you can imagine. The combat troops.
Yeah, another crazy character in that whole that the whole historical record is Jack Ruby. No, no.
He's a he's a very strange one. And I just read a book called Chaos by Tom O'Neil. It's about the CIA and Manson in the 60s.
Oh, yeah, I know the book. It's very interesting.
But Ruby is in that book as well, because Ruby was actually visited by I forget his name. Something jolly. What's the name? Telewest. Jolly well, thank you.
Who was the central character in M.K. Ultra? Who they believe was involved in these various. See? Yeah, that's a plastic sell that comes off my arm.
About I'm I'm listening. But he was a central character in the CIA's use of LSD during the whole Operation Midnight climax in San Francisco. And they ran a free clinic in Haight Ashbury that's connected to Manson, where they were giving people LSD and running studies on them. Yeah. He read about is it Ruby in prison? And Ruby, who had shown no psychological trauma or distress after he left, was a mess curled up in a fetal position on the ground and was thinking they were burning Jews in the streets and literally was in a psychotic state.
And they think they dosed him up while he was in jail.
Yeah, he seems to be the mob connection to this thing. Yes. Yeah. You put your backs it back. Yeah. It's no rubies. His contacts alone. It goes back many years to the 40s. He was quite a he was mobbed up completely. Didn't want to do it. He was forced into doing it.
Why do you think he was forced? What do you think it was like?
I think he was scared. About what? Well, I have never followed that in depth because that, you know, people may say that organized crime killed him. I don't believe that because they didn't have the power to pull this thing off. I think that they there are an element to it. Yeah. You wanted me to rub out Oswald, right? Paulie Oswald was intended to die there on that day. You say there's a lot of things that point that direction, but he didn't and he couldn't be allowed to go.
It's crazy. They got Jack Ruby to do. I mean, they they killed off that all everything that Oswald said. And that station police station is gone. Yeah. It's hearsay. But what he said in the corridor outside is very interesting. And we know that Ruby was there. So it will be, I think, was pushed into this thing because they had to make it. It was a quick operation. We got to get to him, you know, and it's really crazy.
The story plays out 12 years later when on the Heraldo Rivera Show, Dick Gregory brings us approver film, introduce it to the American public. Yeah. And then they get the chance to see Kennedy's had gone back into the left heel. And everybody's like, what?
Yeah, that's disgusting story. But, you know, the on the on the Rubio affair. Don't forget the also he was urgently asking the Warren Commission to get me to Washington. I want to talk to what he knew. He didn't know everything. I don't think anyone knew everything. He knew his record of it. So the whole idea was, how can you get cancer out of the blue like that so suddenly? Yeah. So suddenly and die so quickly.
Now, there again, there's a lot of cancer experimentation going on at this point in the 60s. I'm sure doctors in the MLK cancer, too. There was a huge, huge experiment. There was a doctor in New Orleans. I forgot his name but worked on it. And Dairy David Faery was one of these people who knew him very had a lot of mice. And he was operated on his. He was using his mice, his cancer if feeding them euge doses of cancer.
The idea was that they said they were going to kill Castro with, you know, inject Castro with a needle and kill him because they'd make it so strong and getting this cancer to play they building up through these mice and a cancer that was so powerful that could kill. I mean, I heard everything on Israel, but there seems to be truth to this.
Do you feel like you're gonna put it to bed with this documentary in your in your mind? Like you can do the best we can do it.
I mean, Jim, do you. Eugenia working with me. He's he's followed this thing like he's a fifth generation researcher and he's very, very up to date. But when is this coming out? It's I don't know yet. Well, I don't know if we can get it out.
We're going to try now. When, like, Scarface is another movie, like we're saying that that that is the introduction for a lot of people.
They a lot of people, especially outside of Miami, really just didn't understand how crazy things had gotten there. And I have a good friend of mine who is an ophthalmologist who did his residency in Miami. And he would tell me stories like he was there in the 80s when all the crazy shit was happening and just he was like, it was a war zone. You would just everybody was you just everybody coming in was shot. People were all coked up and all these overdoses and.
Well, let's I think there's a lot of sensationalism in that, you know, America likes war. They win. They like to play up the machine guns and all that. That was 1930s Chicago. Time magazine went out of its way to sensationalize it. I was there. I saw, you know, it wasn't wild that way in the sense of shooting in the streets would happen rarely. But they happen. People would be gunned down. Families were killed.
Drug dealers went after families of each others. Yes, there was a lot of that kind of internecine warfare.
Well, my friend saw it because he was in the E.R., you know, so. Oh, I see.
What you doing? His residency there. So he was seeing it. I think in any American city, there's a lot of shootings every week. That's true. You know, especially right now. Right. But definitely there was a new element here.
It was the Colombian element and the Marielitos came in. Some of them Cubans who were gangster element out of Cuba. Yeah. And it got bloody when the Colombians were not playing around. So there was a lot of cutthroats. They used to. They used to. She vatos Colombian necktie. Yeah, that's right. That's it. Yeah. When I was there, I heard about a couple of these guys. It was interesting because I was working both sides of the case.
I was trying to get to know that the crime element is more than. So I knew all the lawyers and I went over to Bimini one day to to to get some real information about them because they couldn't in the U.S., they were scared to talk. So I located through a defense lawyer. A couple of some guys in in Bimini and went down there. And I met with them and they were talking because I was Bimini was another kind of world.
There was the government was on the take there, I think, and they had a lot of speedboats flying, going out of there every night at the hotel towards you know, he's very close to Miami. And I was doing Coke at that time. And I got when my wife, I me, she was my cover. And I, you know, and I a Hollywood screenwriter, I want to talk to you did Midnight Express. They like that.
You know, they want to know about the business. But then in the middle of this, we're all coked up in the hotel. And, you know, the way conversation goes and I drop a name just like that, you know, a guy I talked to. Well, he'd been a defense lawyer when I talked to him. But in the past, he'd been a prosecutor because prosecutors often flip to defense attorneys to make more money. So when I mentioned that name, the two of these three guys got really uptight and they walked.
They they excuse themselves, went to the bathroom. Like I said, I fucked up. I knew I'd fucked up and I didn't know it was only come out that bathroom, you know, if if they thought I was in some kind of cop, some kind of underground informer, because they did they hated that prosecutor that put them away would put one of them away.
So a few minutes went by there and it was pretty hairy. But I think I was paranoid. But because they came out and they didn't have guns in their hands, but they they cut the meeting off. You know, I went back to my room. They were staying in the same hotel all night. I was tense because I, you know, I knew they could come and get me. It was their hotel. They owned they owned the island.
Right. But it was nerve racking. And I got out of there first thing in the morning. The whole point is you say the wrong word sometimes and you're dead. That's that's the kind of tension I wanted for this movie. I put it into the scene earlier, the picture where Mr. Pacino, I'll call it, goes in to make a pick up, make us a trade. And he says, you know, he senses something's off in this meeting and he becomes that blood bloodbath with the dismemberment, you remember.
Yes. Yeah. The chainsaw. The chainsaw. Yeah. Yeah. I was gonna bring a scene up. You know, there was a chain saws murder at one point.
There's something about the way you film that was so excellent because it was obviously gory and disgusting, but you didn't have to show it.
I didn't direct it. I wrote it. Right. Brian De Palma did a great job directing it. Grand Opera.
No, that's right.
He did an amazing job as write you you when you are talking about someone who is in that world, when when you're trying to make a film about a guy who is in that world, who is not a good guy, you're your main guy.
Albert Chino's. Tony Montana is a bad guy. He's the hero. It's a very strange movie.
Well, yeah, it is, because he is a hero, because he's free in a way. He's a free man. That's where people liked it. People white people did not like that movie. When it came out, I was disappointed. At first there was the blacks and the Latinos in the inner cities. They went and they loved it. And also people, white people who were doing some drugs that they would. That was a kind of audience we had.
We were a bad boy movie. So the movie we didn't do as well as they'd hoped because it cost a lot of money, went three months over budget. It was a very tedious shoot. I was there the whole time. But over time the film garnered a reputation and made money for the big money.
What's become this iconic drug war movie? I mean, it's it's the movie for gangsters.
It's bold. Yeah. Yeah. In fact, wherever I go in the world, I mean, I pretty much people. You wrote Scarface, you know, I can. I got into Salvador. I got into the fascist party that way. Race and racism research. Yeah.
They thought I had weak or Hoeness, when you're writing about a movie or you're writing about a guy like Tony Montana, how do you you you did you walk this fine line of telling telling the story accurately, but actually making him likable in some strange way?
Well, he's not a hypocrite. You say he tells the truth, as he says, even when I lie, he's a he's a man who's free unto himself. And I think that's what worked because of the people around him are so corrupt. I'm yeah, the cops are corrupt in Miami. The system, the bureaucracy that. Press down on. By the way, I mean, let's be honest. Let's talk about the drug war. I mean, this is an invention that's come about.
It's a disaster. Yeah. Eurocracy of enormous billions of dollars are being wasted on fighting drugs with this super DEA and now the ice and all that, whatever they want. We always create wars. We call a war on drugs. War on poverty, war on this war on that we make. That's a problem. We make too much of a bureaucracy. I noticed this in Vietnam. It bothered to shit out of me because we were sending five people noncombat people over there for one every combat person.
We had an infrastructure. Las Vegas of the of the material. We had P X's. We had everything we wanted. They send cars over there. A lot of this stuff was, you know, sold on the black market in the end by by master sergeants making a buck on the side. You know, it was a lot of shit going on, crime stuff. And the Vietnamese were benefiting from it. They loved the Americans. Of course they loved us.
It's the same thing, Afghanistan. It goes on and on and on. It's like we create these super bureaucracies around events. So what happened in the war on drugs is the same thing. And then I think that Patrinos a hero, because in a way, he sees it all. He sees it. It's all bullshit. And he he calls it out. And I think people I think a lot of people just picked up on it. They knew the war on drugs was a lie.
Yeah, well, most people today at least have a sense that it's not going well.
You know, back then they thought many countries simply how many countries have we pissed off countries that we told, hey, you got to do it this way. We're coming down there. We're gonna bust you.
Speaking of Haraldur, did you ever see the footage? We're sure. Haraldur was in Afghanistan and he's walking through the poppy fields that are being protected by U.S. troops. Yasha. And it's on Fox News. So he's trying to do this weird propaganda job of explaining why in order to get these poppy farmers to give us information about the Taliban, we have to somehow or another protect their crops. So you've got American soldiers. It's a crazy story.
Well, then you find out that spectacular growth of heroin. Yeah, heroin, just heroin sales and heroin use worldwide went up in an amazing manner.
Yeah. This was brought on, by the way, in the nineteen eighties when we were when the we were supporting the Mujahideen against the Russians.
Yeah. That's when it started. They were they were fighting for the poppy fields. Yeah. We're talking about billions of dollars here. Billions. Yeah. And it's not like some of these drug dealers. We don't even know their names, but they're well-known in the Pakistani Afghani world.
Yeah. Some of them was unbelievably rich, but it's so transparent.
The poppy fields being guarded by U.S. troops and that's a new one. And them talking about it openly on Fox News and some. Don't worry, folks.
This is why they have to do this like it's it's one of the weirdest parts of the war.
Yeah. As was Dan Rather doing his standup at the beginning of the war about how we use we're fighting the awful Russians. They got us going on. I mean, you didn't see that clip. When was that an early in the war? Yeah, he was he was brought the flag to Afghanistan, you know, making heroes out of them.
Action. The guys we support that you have the most money was to Ecto Hekmatyar, who is a drug dealer. We gave him the most amount of aid. Matear He's like the killer, killer, warlord. It's so strange. It's such it's so strange how history repeats itself in different forms just over and over and over in Vietnam, there was a hole in Lao's.
There was a hole poppy growth. Yeah. And shipping, there was CIA shipping out. Air America. Remember that movie? Yeah, yeah. There was a I was a guy on who was in denial of this. And I showed him the CIA drug plane, the crash in Mexico with several tons of cocaine in it just a few years ago. Mike, this is a plane that had been to Guantanamo Bay multiple times. Like this is still going on.
All that shit that happened with Barry SEALs and know you're talking about Iran-Contra.
Yeah, I mean, that stuff still going on. It's an ugly story. Yes, very ugly.
You know, the Barry SEAL movie was OK. Other times they got a piece of it. Yeah. But it was uglier than that. Yeah. We were basically Reagan who was selling arms to Iran, taking the cash and splitting it with the Contras. Yeah, the Contras were one of the most brutal, brutal groups terrorist groups in Nicaragua tried to do. They were killing civilians, blowing up farms, scaring people. We supported them. We wanted a lot of bad guys everywhere in the world.
You have a very comprehensive knowledge of history. And is this one of the reasons why you decided to make that documentary series, The Untold History, the United States? Because you mean you obviously get some of it out in your films. But did you just feel like.
Well, yeah, I've done a lot of films about such subjects around it. So at a certain point in my life, I said I would really like to know more about American history because something's weird here. And I think I went to school kind of back to school. I never studied. I never got a college degree in normal subject matter, like history or mathematics. I got a film school degree. So I had to I thought I knew things.
But I learned a lot with going back and learning by with historians who were throwing out all the myths for me about American history. And I made that film with just five years. It took it. We had to rewrite it, rewrite it, rewrite it. It was complicated. We started with the Philippines because that was the beginning of overseas imperialism. And we walked. We worked our way up through the through the Obama administration from 1898 to 2013, its amazing series.
It goes too fast, if anything. Yeah. But I think people could watch it two times and without and learn each chapter is revealing stuff. People don't know about how this country really got off. I don't know. I mean, it got off. Maybe he got off on the wrong start with earlier. But, you know, it really got off.
Then it bent in its in its purposes. And assuming we're the good guy, assuming that, you know, this exceptionalism that we have, that we are somehow motivated in a different way than other countries. Yeah, that's them.
That's the the way we excuse it. Right. We're we're the number one superpower.
We do awful things but better us than them.
There's no excuse for that. No excuse. And it doesn't hold up to history and they won't hold up to God either.
Now, when you're making a series like that, is it difficult to edit it down to. Oh, yeah. A palatable sort of version?
I feel like it's I feel like it moves fast. You know, I can't you can't accuse that series of board. If anything, it just has to because there's decades to cover. But I'm so proud of that, I think. I'm glad you mentioned it's one of frankly, it's one of my achievements in my life. It's stands up there with JFK for me and Platoon.
Now, when you've done so much, I mean, you've had this amazing career between writing and directing and putting together all these incredible films. What motivates you now? Like what? What gets you going when you're trying to make a new project?
Well, this book is a lot of work. A memoir is a chance to rediscover. I went was going so fast at times between films that I didn't have that leisure time to think about what I'd done. And I think by reliving it. Each film, each film for me is important. By reliving it, I'd rediscover a lot. I thought a lot about the Vietnam War, for example, and came to a lot of the conclusions that I put here that I wouldn't have been so cogent before.
Also, I realize that I'm a fundamentally flawed character. I mean, I understand this and really understand that the contradiction in myself between my my parents, my fundamental nature, which is you have to do that with yourself. You have to look at who you are. My mom being who she was, my dad being I mentioned earlier, the writer director side. They're two different people. You can't be the same person when you do it. Writing is very much an inner inner loneliness, solitude.
My father was like that. And directing is very much being. External. Being. Warm, been inviting in, working with people, collaborating. It's a wholly other, totally different exercise in your mind. And those two. I think I think I'm double double minded, I say in the book. And I think that's a good thing.
Do you prefer to do both? Do you prefer to write the film and and direct it? Or how much? How much satisfaction do you get out of just writing a film like Scarface or writing a film like Platoon and directing it?
I think that for me it was both. I mean, that's why I wanted to direct. I went to film school for that. So the writing I'd always been doing naturally in directing is what I wanted to do. Then I then don't forget editing. There's editing process. And I worked very closely with my editors. And then there's the whole process of selling the film, which is another another category completely called marketing. Crazy fucking business. It's hard, you know.
I've done 20 of them in their killers, 20 films and a documentary, nine documentaries. And what am I gonna do now? I don't know. I think there's another book in me. That's reviewer. Absolutely. Because this is ends in 1986. A story is not over. It takes another it takes another turn as two films documentaries satisfy me. Do I need to make another film? Only if I really needed to. Was last film you did Snowden 2016.
Well, you interviewed.
Yes. Yeah. We talked about that like. Yeah. You lot. You. You. You understood his. You understood his point of view. It's a crazy story for our times that that. That this man is persecuted, this guy who I think is a hero. He's exposed things that are unconstitutional, things that no one signed off on. He exposed that there's this widespread surveillance of law abiding citizens who've done absolutely nothing wrong. And this data collection and the fact that this man is hiding in Russia is to me, crazy.
And I mean, I don't know. I don't even know if at this point time anybody could pardon him, but it's stunning to me that no one has. It's stunning to me that Obama didn't. It's stunning to me. I mean, he he pardoned Chelsea Manning. God damn pardoned Snowden.
Yeah. But Obama, he went after the whistleblowers, you know, with a ferocity that was crazy using the Espionage Act from 1917. I mean, this was really ugly. He was zealous. I mean, if he was actually like he did more damage in Bush in many ways overseas.
Well, it's very counter to his image. I mean, if you look at the Hope and Change website, remember that the whole thing about empowering whistleblowers to come out and tell their story hutches, they had to delete that.
I supported him at the beginning. Boy, seemed perfect. I mean, he's a statesman. He's a brilliant speaker. Seems like an amazing guy. But whenever the fuck happens, when you get in that office, you can't change things.
You know, I mean, it seems to be every president since Jack Kennedy. Is he Kennedy tried on a fundamental level. He wanted to change the CIA. You want to change the Cold War. It seems that you can't get off that path in this country. Can't. It seems very hard.
No one's been able to do it so far. When you see a story like the Jeffrey Epstein story, you know, which is playing out right now, frankly, you should talk to my son.
That is one of the craziest fucking stories of our time because it's a conspiracy theories, wet dream. And no one, no one would have ever believe there's an island where a guy brings prominent scientists, celebrities and politicians to fuck underage girls.
They film them all and use it to somehow or another blackmail them.
Or they film. They film them, apparently, according to Glenn Maxwell, there's tapes. You know, I mean, there's so much to this story that's so real something.
Oh, for sure. So that's going to be the next next mystery.
Well, the next mystery is how they're going to kill her. That's that's the next mystery. I mean, how long is it going to last?
Yeah, I mean, there's most to the whole trial doesn't take place for a year and it's a lot of time in the tombs.
You feel that was a murder from outside? Very upsetting. Well, yes, 100 percent. Yeah. So the guy's on suicide watch that the film doesn't work. The surveillance cameras don't work here. And Michael Baden, the forensic scientist, reviews the autopsy and is like this man was strangled. Look at the break in the bone of the neck. That's consistent with strangulation. Look at the position in which he was choked. Like which? Which part of the neck?
That's not consistent with hanging. Oh, there's all the factors point to the fact that the guy was killed and then the fact that I mean, the guy's on suicide watch. And you know, how how how is it possible that this guy was one of the most important witnesses in a case against a gigantic number of very powerful people, just ones of committing suicide? Woops, no worries. Sorry.
Well, if I'd stayed away from that victory. It's such a mess. It's a mess. It's a mess. But that's one that I would think would intrigue you. I mean, if at the end of all this, when the pieces all fall into place, is that something you would think about covering for a film? Well, if I had to write it, I think it's very interested in the subject matter. It seems it doesn't. You know, I mean, it's I don't know what it's about.
I mean, if if it's really what they say and there's all these world leaders and blah, blah, blah, I mean, it just doesn't really lead anywhere. It doesn't make sense. I mean, the world is much more important. Places world. A sense of world peace. And this is the most important issue. Peace in our time. And we are building up nuclear weapons at an incredible rate under this guy, Trump. And it's a huge it's a return to the worst of the Cold War.
And that scares me. That's an issue I would like to I think if I were to get involved again in another movie, not a documentary, would be that one. About the accumulation of arms, the building billboards and the the.
The madness of our leaders, Democrat and Republican, constantly pushing for more and more sanctions, more pressure on our perceived enemies, China, Russia, North Korea, Iraq, Iran and Venezuela. I mean, it's just why are we doing this? We don't have to. The world would be a much more peaceful place to take our foot off the pedal.
Is there anybody that has stood out in recent memory as a politician that gave you some hope?
Kennedy Boy, we got your act. It's 93. Obama. Obama. Well, I was there. I mean, behind me. Yeah. And I was hoping for Clinton, too. Mm hmm. It just doesn't seem to be in the cards. In other words, the office is not as important as you make it out to be. I think there is a system in place. It's a system that Eisenhower quite well described as the military industrial.
Yeah, it's a corporate complex. It drives money, profit, greed.
That speech is so amazing, that speech that he gave you. Upon leaving office, it was a warning.
Yes. He know that he'd for he knew that he'd fucked up. He said, I leave my successor a legacy of ashes. His famous quote. Eisenhower did not do horrible things. Eisenhower started intervening much more in other countries. He appointed John Foster Dulles, who was a psycho, in my opinion, as his secretary of state. It's like Pompei now, Mike Pompei. And Allen Dulles at the CIA, there were brothers. But anyway, Eisenhower knew.
I think he felt bad about what he what he had seen happen over those eight years. I do. And I think Kennedy was a great hope because it was a new man, new generation who changed to Kennedy in office. So he moved more and more to the left as he as he as he stayed in office. He saw the problems.
He couldn't believe it when he saw. He saw the lies. He was lied to a lot. The Bay of Pigs was the first one. Mm hmm. But he was lied to about a lot of other things we get into.
It's the great mystery. Right. Like what happens to a candidate once once they win the presidency and once they're in office, like, what is the process and.
Well, that's where you have to have courage. And that's where Obama really failed. I mean, when he appointed Hillary Clinton as a secretary of state, you knew it was over. Mean he had to make decisions. And you have to you have to go in a new way if you're going to be there. I'm off. It's just so it is such a become such a bureaucratized office that it's almost impossible to appoint a thousand people when you come in to work with you.
And I want to be on your side. But as a guy who's a storyteller, this is one of the great stories of our time, is how impossible it is to to be a president.
I think it's very hard, very hard. But you need guts. You need guts. And if you have guts, it makes a difference. Remember, Kennedy had been in war. He saved people. He was a hero in that. In the Pacific. Yes. Those are the kind of guts you need, right.
When you put together the Snowden movie. What was your aim like? What were you trying to get out of that? Felt like news. Important story. Because surveillance had. I never imagined surveillance at this level. I realized that it could be it with this new technology we had, that it could be everywhere. I mean, beyond my imagination, beyond anybody's imagination. And when I did the movie, it was to reveal what he revealed, which was shocking in its implications.
We went even further and we showed how the control of information, the useful information can destabilize many regimes. And they went after regime change became the new moon, new new modus operandi for the United States. It was OK to change regimes. We're good at it and the way we did it with soft power. Subtle. What happened in Brazil? Couple of years ago? Typical, you know, the whole forcing out the President Lula, getting rid of the Dilma, bringing in this.
Well, this other guy came in from the right, but essentially Brazil was completely changed. Completely changed. They're still working at it. In Venezuela, they did. They got they worked in Bolivia. They they got they got rid of the guy illegally. Honduras, Libya, Libya, Yemen, Libya. That's the most spectacular failure, right? Well, that was one of. Wow. It's a failed state now, but it was. Yeah.
But that comes down to our policy in the Middle East.
You know, when you make a film like that, how hard is it to put together? I mean, the Snowden film is so disturbing because it's it's current, right. We're dealing with things that are happening right now.
How hard is it to put it down and make it this dramatic piece? That's going to be an art.
It was hard. You have to judge for yourself. I like the movie. I think it's a it's a it's tense and it keeps the it keeps the tension throughout the movie. Like, of course, I got to know so very well and went to Moscow several times and met with him.
Oh really? Yeah. How does that get arranged? Well, it depends on your eyes.
No, I've done that too.
But that was you. Yeah, that was a terrorist groups in the Middle East. What was that for? That was for a persona non grata. It was a documentary I did about in 2003 for. About the leader of the PLO.
Well, Arafat. Yeah. I got real. Yeah. I did an interview with him.
Wow. What was that like? I was more I didn't because of my connections, I had more contact with the Israeli side. I was in Ramallah. So, I mean, I was talking to Netanyahu before he was prime minister. I was talking to the leader, the ex prime minister, the prime minister, all that.
And then I went to Ramallah, which was the capital of the PLO there. And actually, I was there the day the Israelis than that the day before the Israelis came in and knocked out that knocked out the lights and said, wow, they they isolated Arafat in the Ramallah power. We we got out at the last second, actually. But we were seen room. We were seen Arafat and showing his side of the equation, showing what he was thinking.
So part of that part of that, I went to see a terrorist group. They became quite famous later than that. Well known. They were young guys and they had their masks. And I went at midnight. I was more scared of the Israelis than them, real as the Israelis could be tracking with their all their they have all this equipment, you know, by the shit out of us when we're in there. So that's what I'm scared of.
So the Israelis were dangerous. You thought the Israelis would do that, knowing that you were a filmmaker?
I don't know what they're thinking, you know. No, I'm not sure. They they knew what we were doing. We saw they saw people going into a underground bunker with people with masks in the air. Who knows what they think. They have great reconnaissance. No, you have to be careful when you fight them.
And so they requested that you wear a mask. And when they tried not to. No, not the not not Israelis. But I mean, they transported gas. But when I got there, I took it off.
Did you. But but that decision was a tough decision to make to that, though, not for driving around with a mask on.
No, I was very anxious to meet them. They were they were what they call them terrorists. But you know who's a terrorist these days? Right.
You know, we can bomb other countries to death and call ourselves the good guys, but we kill a lot of civilians around the world with our bombing. This. That's true. But this message that you have that you. You. You're not just the guy makes movies, but you're a guy who makes movies and also a guy who's very outspoken about all of these issues in the world.
You do those to get in the way of each other sometimes, of course.
Yeah. As you know, there was people that think sometimes my outspokenness overshadows my work and it might be true for them.
But the real label you both ways to which is very fascinating to my world, is the world is complicated. And I did speak out. And some people think that's. They say I'm a filmmaker. Stick to being that. But, you know, it's very hard if you care. You know this. Well, it's it's very important that you don't and I'm glad that you have the courage to not stick to that.
You know, I mean, I think it's when someone oh, please, God, Snowden, Snowden, we couldn't get support for it. We it was financed ultimately from France and Germany and Italy. And we got some some small money at the end from the U.S. with a small distributor. I mean, this is the biggest story, one of the biggest stories of our time. And we couldn't get support from any of the studios.
We went to all of them. Well, people were terrified of it. That tells you a lot about what a mess we're in. We don't even have the guts to to talk about stuff. We shut up. We censor ourselves. We self censor. Yeah. I mean, I don't.
In the 1980s and 90s, I could have gotten it financed, but not now.
Well, it's such a tense time and that issue is so polarizing. And I don't understand how it isn't. I don't understand how it doesn't have universal support by American citizens that this story needs to be told. I mean, even when it was discussed as a podcast guest, you know, a lot of people were saying you should really stay away from that.
They don't understand. They think he's some kind of Russian agent is crazy, you know? He's very been very clear about it.
Well, he's it's very clear when you listen to all of the interviews with him.
And then when I get a chance to talk to him myself, he is who he says he is exactly a Boy Scout. Yeah.
I mean, he has a story and it's a spectacular one. And it's it's one of the most important historical moments of our time that we recognize that this overwhelming surveillance state has has existed without us even knowing it.
And cyberwarfare to me, it raises the whole issue of who's doing what to who is right. We were very quick to say they are doing that to us, China, Russia, this, that they're doing their stealed blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. What are we doing? Yeah.
You know, you had difficulties in making films, but is there ever a film that you wanted to make that you never could?
Yeah, sure. Was several me Mylai my life. I got very close. We're about two, three weeks away from shooting it in 2007 in Thailand and some of it in Vietnam. I'd been to it to me like in Vietnam. Great story, because the massacre is unknown. They don't know. We don't people don't know the real story. It was investigated, that massacre. You've heard of it, right? I've heard five hundred civilians were shot down in cold blood.
Babies, mothers, everybody. Old people shot and not one enemy bullet was fired. Not one. And we've heard all the obfuscations of that. The whole thing was, you know, basically a mis planned operation because of basically CIA was guiding the war and they were torturing to death some now torturing some poor soul who gave them information that was faulty. Happens all the time. Right. Torture works, right? It doesn't work. And as a result of the operation, they were told that there was N.B.A. in that village.
They were not there. So the guys went in thinking they should kill. Did you write the screenplay for this? I know someone else did. And I was about to direct it. And it was almost happened. It just ran into the fiscal crisis of 2008. OK. But that's an excuse. Nobody wanted to make it. Have you thought about trying again? I did, yeah. No, no. Go.
I also tried to make the work Luther King story years ago. Many years I worked on that. Martin Luther King's a great story. But it's too tough a story to tell. I mean, I think there's a lot portion of the black community that's really kind of treated like a saint martyr, whereas this is more of a human man and he's for, you know, his failings in this and that. But he's a hero in this. But, you know, his relationship with women is fascinating.
And we were into that whole aspect of it. And what happened with that? It just never got together. There might be a good time to revisit that now. No, I. I think it's a black filmmaker can revisit the rights. Definitely moved into that direction. I have also tried I tried for many years to do Evita and. I wrote a script for that, but if another director made it, how far down the road had you gotten with the Martin Luther King story?
Yeah. I wrote a I mean, someone else wrote a whole script. I think it's very good. But, Don, you know, you can't so many films get planned and not made for every film, you do this like five five abortion.
Damn. That seems like a great one, though. Yeah. I mean, he's such a an incredible and important character and borders as a world need. Martin Luther King Junior right now.
Yeah. Well, things are changing all the time. Well, listen, Oliver, I was taken up a lot of your time, and I really, really appreciate you being here. Your book is called Chasing the Light. It's your memoir up unto 1986. I really hope you make another one because you have had one of the most interesting and spectacular lives in show business. You're a bad motherfucker. I appreciate you.
Thank you, Joe. I really enjoyed today. I. When. Know was if there's a clean copy, I can give it to you. Yes. OK. What do you look what you mean? I was looking for someone with. No, that's my. That's Oliver. I have to send you.
I have one. How are you holding me? I'm good, but thank you.
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