Director Noyce back from cold with "Salt" thriller

Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:04am EDT
 
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By Gregg Kilday

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - After ten years working outside the studio system, Phillip Noyce could be considered the spy movie director who came in from the cold.

In the '90s, the 60-year-old Australian orchestrated the Jack Ryan tales "Patriot Games" and "Clear and Present Danger," but then retreated to his homeland for such indie features as "Rabbit-Proof Fence" and "The Quiet American."

"Salt," opening Friday, marks his return to both the big-budget action thriller and to Angelina Jolie, whom he first directed in 1999's "The Bone Collector."

YOU ONCE SAID YOU'D HAD ENOUGH OF HOLLYWOOD AND ITS

COMPROMISES. WHAT PERSUADED YOU TO RETURN?

Phillip Noyce: I made three films in 10 years, and each one of the production processes was followed by a year and half of travel to the four corners of the earth -- enjoyable travel, but nevertheless a lot of effort helping distributors find audiences. After 10 years as a town crier, saying "Please come and see my movie," I really was glad for the prospects of having the colonizing genius of Hollywood doing the town-crying for me. The studio system is such an effective proselytizer.

Making films outside the studio system was a different ethos, a different approach to storytelling, a different set of priorities. It was totally invigorating -- working within the studio system can grind you down. I certainly came back feeling like I was 10 years younger, not 10 years older.

Sony is a studio which has no fear of age. Martin Campbell, when he was in his mid-60s, directed a worldwide hit like "Casino Royale" with the vigor and passion of a seemingly much younger director. When we were discussing crew members, I mentioned one potential person and said, "But he's not young." I was very relieved when (Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chairman) Amy (Pascal) said, "We don't mind experience here." Which was really pleasant to hear and affirming, that because you'd been around the block once or twice you might be considered an asset.   Continued...