John Carpenter is an undisputed legend of genre cinema, but he’s shown very little interest in getting back into the the game recently. Then again, when his back catalogue includes classics like Assault on Precinct 13, Halloween, Escape from New York, The Thing, Big Trouble in Little China and They Live, he’s more than earned the right to take it easy.
The filmmaker has only helmed two features in the last 20 years, with both 2001’s Ghosts of Mars and 2010’s The Ward disappointing critics and bombing at the box office, but he’s never officially announced his retirement despite a perceived lack of activity. The majority of his best efforts have been remade at this point, with several more stuck in development hell, but that doesn’t mean he’s been sitting idly by.
He directed two episodes of anthology series Masters of Horror back in 2005, and he’s acted as the composer on David Gordon Green’s rebooted Halloween trilogy, as well as working on the music for bonkers TV show Zoo before it was canceled in October 2017, while he’s also released several albums and will be making the move into podcasting in the near future.
In a recent interview, though, Carpenter teased that he’s working on a couple of things that might yet tempt him to return to the director’s chair.
“I’m working on a couple of things. But I’m not doing anything for a while, until the world comes back and rights itself. It’s insane now. It’s nuts. I’m not going to go out there and get sick. It’s stressful, it’s physically difficult, it’s tough, and you have to be a certain kind of human being to love it. And I’m not certain I am. I love it but not in an ego way. Music is a lot more gratifying, in a way, because there it is. It’s right in front of you, and you don’t have to wait until it’s cut together and deal with an armory of people making movies.”
John Carpenter may be 73 years old and has been out of the game for over a decade at this point, but he’s still younger than Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese, while Richard Donner is ending his lengthy exile from behind the camera at the age of 90 to direct Lethal Weapon 5. Age is but a number as they say, and if he finds the right project, then he could well end up calling action once again.