He made indie film history with the classic Swingers, showed the real life of players on the Los Angeles rave scene in Go, made action movies cool again with The Bourne Identity and introduced Brad to Angelina on Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Now Doug Liman is sitting pretty atop the box office with the teleportation tale, Jumper, starring Hayden Christensen and Rachel Bilson. Here, Liman shares a few of the lessons he’s learned in Hollywood.
I think of making films as an adventure and I want to work with people who see it that way, so working with new screenwriters and actors is one way of achieving that.
I do believe that constraints can help creativity, because it’s the natural tendency of filmmakers to be inspired by the movies that came before—and that can lead to imitation. Constraints can force you to find your own voice.
I do my best directing when I am operating the camera.
Editing for me is the process of learning to trust the editor, because I do go in there with very specific ideas in my head about how my shots should go together.
Indie [moviemaking] is more fun because you are alone; you are not as dependent on the whims of others. I guess it’s more fun for me because I’m a very self-sufficient guy—I like rolling up my sleeves. But I also like the opportunities that are available when a studio is behind you. I like the collaboration with the studio—I like being challenged by the studio.
I choose my movies with my heart, not my head.