I don't think it's the job of filmmakers to give anybody answers. I do think, though, that a good film makes you ask questions of yourself as you leave the theatre.
I was trying to talk about where we are right now as a society, and talk about the fear we all live in, and certainly since 9-11, how it's affected us and the world.
Film is an emotional medium; it's not a logical medium. It's not an intellectual medium, so every decision you make as a filmmaker and an actor has to be emotional in some way, even in the rejection of logic.
For me, the most interesting people are ones who often work against their best interests. Bad choices. They go in directions where you go, 'No no no nooo!' You push away someone who is trying to love you, you hurt someone who's trying to get your trust, or you love someone you shouldn't.
I am really drawn to damaged characters, and I have a lot of sympathy for them. Making those complicated characters empathetic is something to strive for. It's too easy to create a good guy or a good girl.
I wrote an episode for 'thirtysomething,' and a producer said, 'That's really good, but what is it about? What does it say about you? What questions are you asking yourself?' I had never thought about that. This comment changed who I was, because it made me look at my own soul, the dark corners in my soul, and accept that dark side.
I have so many questions about love. How do you win at it? Especially if you're in a relationship with an impossible person? What if you believe in someone who's completely untrustworthy, who at their core can't even believe in themselves?
We give you characters we'd feel very comfortable judging, and then go: 'Oh yeah? Watch this'.
I just love actors, and I've always loved actors. I empathize with their job. Everyone thinks it's easy, and it ain't. To be that vulnerable and brave on camera is tough. The more they reveal themselves, the more we love them, but there's a lot of truth in what they're showing.
I'm such an antsy type of person. I can't write in a room without other people around. I write in coffee shops.
'Crash' came from personal experience. I saw things inside me from living in L.A. that made me uncomfortable. I saw horrible things in people and saw terrible things in myself. I saw a black director completely humiliated, but the three people around me just thought it was funny. 'No,' I said, 'that is selling your soul.'
All my work is partly biographical. I mean, 'Crash' was absolutely that, absolutely. But you just wouldn't recognize me in most of those characters. But I was in every single one of those characters in 'Crash,' because those were all fears that I had felt. Things that I had thought in my deepest, darkest heart.
I have never pretended to be the best Scientologist, but I openly and vigorously defended the church whenever it was criticized, as I railed against the kind of intolerance that I believed was directed against it. I had my disagreements, but I dealt with them internally.
As a general rule, I don't plan to travel with my Oscars, but we may have to make an exception.
As artists, we have to be brave. If we aren't brave, we aren't artists.
I don't know if 'Crash' is a good movie or not because I didn't set out to make a movie. Really, what I wanted to do is more of a social experiment.
I like to write about things about which I have no answers, questions that trouble me. These things trouble me.
My one guiding rule for success in the film world would be, be careful of your friends.
We all have these tendencies in us that could go this way or that. I think that's the real key in writing. To look at a character without judgment.
You have to have empathy, knowledge and compassion for your characters if you're a writer.