New Delhi: Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win Best Director in the history of the Academy Awards for 'The Hurt Locker' in 2010. Her latest film 'Zero Dark Thirty' has been nominated in five categories at this year's Oscars. Bigelow describes the philosophy behind 'ZD30' and the gender specific roles in Hollywood.
Q: Do you see the Academy Awards as the appreciation for quality or the acceptance of popularity?
A: I think awards are appreciation and acceptance of your work. And the Academy award was definitely a reception of the content of the movie. The movie was based on a war which was again a hot topic of the period - full of journalistic inputs and research which caught attention and people could relate more.
Q: You are trying to establish women directors as a force in Hollywood but it doesn't seem easy for other women to win Oscars.
A: A filmmaker is a filmmaker. I lean on not to look through a lens that is separated in respect to gender or anything. I would be proud to carry the mantle if what I do can serve one person. Let's say I can be a kind of role model for other women directors to prove that if you're persistent enough, you can attain what you have in your sights.
When any film gets made it's a bit of a miracle. Certainly a film with substance! It's perhaps partially the sheer persistence of the core filmmaking team and not gender-specific. Personally I don't take 'no' well. I think that's part of it.
Q: Did you want to create any sort of pressure on American policy makers with 'Zero Dark Thirty' because several critics raise the question about your film's depiction of anti terror methodology?
A: The movie is not for anyone or against any one. It is neither a Go - America - go kind of movie nor anti-Pakistan. It talks about the torture that the contingents had to go through in the US Custody. It is a neutral story.
Q: Can 'ZD30' be seen as an attempt to recreate the present time as it is?
A: The movie has no agenda neither is it an attempt to create the present time. I felt that the entire story needs to be told, which people think they know. People know what happened, but they don't know how it happened, the choreography of the whole incident. People don't know where they landed, where they entered from, and who did they kill first and so on. The movie does not propagate a Go-America-Go kind of spirit.
Q: Oscars are also viewed as the reflection of contemporary culture. Does it mean that the audience is ready to see women directors as a separate entity than filmmakers who can only make 'chick flicks'?
A: I think who's making the films has never mattered to the audiences, what matters to them is the content of the movie and how is it made. And if there was any disparity, then it was within the industry may be. But I guess Oscar was waiting for a woman to break the monotony of woman making only chick flicks. It was waiting for a woman to make a tough move.
Q: Is there any fascination towards framing the people who are in real and immediate danger. We have seen it in 'The Hurt Locker' as well.
A: I constantly hope I had a good answer for that, like I was troubled in babyhood. I think that film has the prospective to be very liberating, beneficial and healing. I react to movies that get in your face, that have the capability to be stimulating or confront you, that take some risks. I like high impact movies. That's what I respond to as a viewer, so logically and unsurprisingly I respond to that when writing. I don't want to be made pacified or made comfortable. I like stuff that gets your adrenaline going.
Q: Why did you select Jessica Chastain as the character who is at the helm of affairs? Did gender have any role to play in it?
A: I chose Jessica coz she fit the role. Beside I needed very earthy people who don't carry the aura of being a star always. And have been seen less.
Q: What is there for Indians and other third world viewers in 'Zero Dark Thirty'?
A: I made the movie with a very neutral mind set. While making it I was just engrossed in it and made it with the aim to be faithful to the research, to not have an agenda, to hope that people go to see the movie and judge for themselves.
Q: What should we expect from your forthcoming films?
A: I generally pick up stories that energise me and inspire me, so let's see what inspires me next.