Roundtable Interview With Allen Hughes On Broken City


We Got This Covered: Catherine Zeta Jones plays the wife of the Mayor in this movie. Does she play that role in regards to what you were just talking about? Could you tell us more about what she does in the movie? Is she like the seeker force of what’s going on here?

Allen Hughes: She’s a throwback one because of her presence, her obvious beauty, and I didn’t know that depth she had. The whole movie hinges on her. This woman’s having an affair allegedly or whatever, and she’s a mysterious woman. It’s not a political movie; I don’t look at it that way as far as politics and whatever. But it is an applicable movie where corporate America and certain sections of our society where you’re saying A but what you’re really saying is B-C-D. Catherine‘s character is that also; she’s an illusion as what Mark is seeing is not what it seems.

I had three women from different backgrounds in this movie which was interesting for me because there all so fully realized in Brian Tucker’s script. They are all very dynamically different and strong women and I’m very proud of that. If you look back at the films I’ve been involved in, outside of American Pimp, there’s always a strong female in there and we’re trying to fully realize them. I think this is the first time I’ve accomplished that so I’m proud of that.

We Got This Covered: This is the first movie you’ve directed without your brother Albert. Is this a big deal for you and at some point did you feel your arm was cut off with him not being there as a co-director?

Allen Hughes: I didn’t realize that. When me and my brother did rounds of interviews there was always a consistent question which was like “how does this work? Who does what?” As far as the filmmaking process, I felt great directing by myself. It’s a natural thing because when you look at like the NBA you got to have one coach. You can’t have the team looking over and seeing two because they are sensitive performers and they look at one guy’s face and they look at the other guy’s face and that can be quite confusing, and that’s why we separate our duties on purpose to where I work with actors and he works with the camera.

But the thing that really, really suffered was when we did our meetings together in Hollywood. Say you’re meeting with a studio, these people will have as many people in the room as you, and they’re basically trying to beat you up about how they want the movie creatively. But when the Hughes brothers are together it actually becomes a different entity with its yin and yang. We could have fifty people in the room and we can lay every one of them down just by sheer, whatever that thing is with twins. I’m hitting in the gut for three minutes and then once I let go he is coming over the head with haymakers, and then we walk out of the room and before they know it it feels like a tsunami hit them. When I go in alone though I feel the vultures coming out, and you look at the very nature of the way that system is set up; you got your filmmaker here and there are eight of you and you’re all on the same page. This is absurd! Eight people need to be in this room right now?! And that’s very challenging and it has nothing to do with filmmaking.

We Got This Covered: So did you feel a very visceral difference on this movie as a result?

Allen Hughes: Oh yeah, I think it’s much more efficient. But it’s natural because this is a one man directing gig. That’s the way it’s always been. There are exceptions where there was the Zuckers and the Wachowskis, and the Coen brothers who I hear sometimes get different credits but they really direct together. But in that case or other cases, there is always a bigger brother and a little brother and those rules have been established.

With twins, everything is like communism (laughs). When we were five years old, my mother when she poured Kool-Aid for us, she had to make sure everything was equal. We’re so nuts we are like “no, you got a more! Why does he have a drop more?” So my mom gave us the same amount of cookies, the same amount of whatever, and we grew up where it was always even. It’s kind of cool I guess, but it gets to be a challenge.

With rock groups I always like to say that you have John Lennon and McCartney, and this guy is all into Eastern philosophy and this guy is into whatever he’s into like kissing giraffes in Africa. They turn 30 and now they’re are into different shit because they got wives now and they got children now, and then they try to come together to make these records and movies and its difficult as you get older because you become a man or you become a woman and there it is.

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