Brian De Palma

Whether it’s the studio, the producers, the actors, art directors– everybody’s got an ego and you have to be very aware of how they’re affecting the whole climate of the set when you’re shooting. You’ve got a kind of incredible sandbox full of all the toys in the world. You have a certain amount of time to get it all to work together, so your job is to get it done no matter what is going on within the world you’ve created.                – Brian De Palma, episode 236 of Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso

Legendary filmmaker Brian De Palma joins us this week! In celebrating the 40th anniversary of Blow Out, we discuss how the project came to be (4:17), the casting of John Travolta (7:49), a post-production mishap (8:48), and the film’s initial reception in 1981 (10:27). Growing up in ’40s Philadelphia, De Palma reflects on his complex childhood (11:06), his Quaker education (12:54), the moment he knew he wanted to direct (15:42), and the chaos of his early documentary work (20:44). Then, before we go, we revisit his masterpiece, Carlito’s Way (27:44), the end of “the director-as-superstar” era (33:16), and the enduring power of a childhood favorite, The Red Shoes (37:09).

Show notes

Watch the films mentioned:
Blow Out (Criterion Channel, or for free on Pluto TV)
– Carlito’s Way (Apple TV, Sling, Amazon)
– Dressed to Kill (Apple TV, Hulu, Amazon)
– Get to Know Your Rabbit (Apple TV, Amazon)
– Noah Baumbach’s & Jake Paltrow’s De Palma (Hulu, Amazon)
Vertigo (Apple TV, Amazon)
The Red Shoes (The Criterion Channel)

Illustrations by: Krishna Shenoi