23 December 2008


In his highly entertaining DVD commentary, BRICK writer-director Rian Johnson says that he discovered and fell in love with Joel and Ethan Coen's MILLER'S CROSSING (1990) in film school. From this, he found inspiration in the dark, detective fiction of Dashiell Hammett. Hammett created "private dick" Sam Spade, the brooding detective brought to life by Humphrey Bogart in John Huston's THE MALTESE FALCON (1941).

If you plan on joining the cast or crew of BRICK—or if you are a future audience member who can't wait for March 26 (Opening Night!)—get ready by seeing these films [Rian also cites Polanski's CHINATOWN (1974) and Kubrick's A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971) as influences on the language of BRICK] and Hammett's books and stories.

I remember seeing MILLER'S CROSSING during college, myself. My roommate bought the score and used to play it all the time in our dorm room. It would be the Coen's next film, BARTON FINK (1991), that totally rocked my world, though.

As theatre artists, our influences come from all sorts of places. This play is inspired by Rian Johnson's film, BRICK. But the very idea of turning a cool film into a stage play comes from childhood, I think...all those afternoons of playing World War II with my buddies. Or playing with Star Wars action figures while listening to a record of the music. Oh, and lest I forget, the very notion of high school theatre being something cool, fun, exciting...that all came from my own experience with theatre in high school...Mrs. Suber, my drama teacher.

Something is influencing you right now, today. Your life has been filled with influences—some good, some bad. Take inventory. How do, how will these things manifest themselves in what you create?

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