“I was really hooked on movies at a very young age. The Manchurian Candidate (1962), along with Seven Days in May (1964), Fail-Safe (1964) and Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) were this quartet of anarchistic black-and-white American movies, each of which did things that you just didn’t do in American movies, especially in the realm of irreverence toward politics and government institutions and the Army. I was what, 16, it was shocking, it was thrilling and, interestingly, it predated my exposure to the French New Wave so, in a way, this was the American, a certain kind of new wave in American movies.” – Jonathan Demme
“Your antagonist has to be every bit as formidable as your hero, or you diminish the character you’re supposed to care about. For people starting out writing scripts, they’re in that ‘hiss-the-villain’ mode, and you always want to say “Wait, wait, wait. They’re human too. Give them some problems and you’ll end up with a better story”. – Jonathan Demme
“I don’t think it’s sacrilegious to remake any movie, including a good or even great movie. I think what’s sacrilegious is to make a bad movie, whether it’s a remake or an original. It’s what I always tell my actor friends, anybody who’s in this, this [business], you’ve gotta try to hold out and only do the scripts, do the material that offers you the opportunity to do your best work. Because if you do stuff that doesn’t give you that opportunity? Your work’s not gonna be good. And you’re gonna suffer in the long run from that. So I don’t care if it’s a remake if it’s a great script with parts in it that can attract fantastic actors, God, you know, to make the movie.” – Jonathan Demme
Jonathan Demme directed 8 different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Mary Steenburgen, Jason Robards, Christine Lahti, Dean Stockwell, Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, Tom Hanks, and Anne Hathaway. Steenburgen, Hopkins, Foster and Hanks won Oscars for their performances in one of Demme’s movies.
Jonathan Demme and Michael Mann have both directed a Hannibal Lecter film and have also both been involved in a film about Howard Hughes. Mann directed Manhunter (1986) and produced The Aviator (2004), which he was originally to have directed. One of Demme’s earliest films was Melvin and Howard (1980), and he later went on to direct The Silence of the Lambs (1991).
Trade Mark (Top 3)
Characters looking directly into the camera
Heavy use of steadicam interspersed with shots of handheld shots
Extreme close-ups on faces
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Behind the Scenes – Silence of the Lambs
(Interviews with Jonathan Demme . Jodie Foster . Anthony Hopkins & Film Clips)
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Jonathan Demme was born on February 22, 1944 in Baldwin, Long Island, New York, USA as Robert Jonathan Demme. He was a director and producer, known for The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Philadelphia (1993) and The Manchurian Candidate (2004). He was married to Joanne Howard and Evelyn Purcell. He died on April 26, 2017 in New York.
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“R.I.P. I have always felt inspired by your work . the edge . the brilliant films . the depth . your love of the documentary . I love DOCS too . We will all miss you . who love and admire you . and what work we will never see you create . what you have given us makes you IMMORTAL . I once was afraid to watch The Silence of the Lambs . several psychotherapists suggested I do not . I waited years . one day I felt it was time . it scared the shit out of me . it freaked me out . no matter how often I watch it . it still freaks me out . it is cathartic though . I scream a lot at the screen . shouting non-sense or just #@$% words. I am moved by your intense view of the unexpected in life . the endings . the beginnings . the unfairness of it all sometimes . the insanity . but most of all THE STORY TELLING . oh what a wonderful chrysalis you have created for us . thank you for all your marvelous and shocking gifts . this is my gift to you . Jonathan Demme .” – j.kiley ’17
Posted on ‘Expats Post‘ on 26th April 2017