Question: Do you or your fans worry that your latest project
will be too “mainstream”?
John Cameron Mitchell: Well, for me, "mainstream" is not
necessarily a negative because when I grew up, mainstream films in the
‘70s were critically lauded and popular. You know, in a theater there’d
be "Godfather" movies and "Network" and "Nashville" and, you know,
these were popular movies, these were mainstream movies. "Cuckoo’s
Nest" and "MASH" and these were all very iconoclastic films and often,
what would be considered now art films and independent films on bigger
budgets, starring major stars that looked like us. These people looked
like us, as opposed to now where stars are, you know, really kind of
royalty or aliens and they look that way.
So, to me, I never separated "popular" from "good." And, you know,
because of economics I think it has separated and so it’s rare for me to
go to a Hollywood film unless it really got recommendations from people
I know, because I'm... just so disappointed usually when so much money
is being spent, you tend to have a, go for the lowest common denominator
in terms of quality.
But there is, you know, doing "The Rabbit
Hole" really is, the budget was less than "Hedwig," it just happened to
have major stars in it, and there was no distributor or studio involved,
putting on commercial pressures, it was just the producers, who have a
mainstream understanding and how you live in Hollywood, but who
definitely had good taste. So, in a way with "Rabbit Hole" we’re trying
to make the kind of film that was a small, a quiet film about real
people that was common in the late ‘70’s and early ‘80’s as a mainstream
film. You know, like "Ordinary People," or "Kramer vs. Kramer" or
"Shoot the Moon," or any number of serious-minded-but-mainstream film
with mainstream stars, which is unusual right now.
Recorded on May 3, 2010
Interviewed by Austin Allen