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Nicolas Winding Refn on Hollywood's similarity to escort girls

Only God Forgives

Story by Jack Foley

NICOLAS Winding Refn has been shedding a little light on why he has so far refused to become tempted by the opportunity to direct a Hollywood blockbuster.

The Danish filmmaker is a hot commodity after working with Ryan Gosling to critical success on Drive as well as Tom Hardy on Bronson.

But while he was recently attached to direct Denzel Washington in a big screen version of The Equalizer, he later dropped out due to creative differences.

And he’s content to continue making films where creative freedom is everything.

“Art and business, especially in movies, go hand in hand… having creative freedom is a great luxury,” he is quoted as saying earlier this week, while promoting his latest film, Only God Forgives, at Cannes.

But elaborating a little more to trade publication Variety, he ventured: “Hollywood is like going into a hotel room and seeing the most gorgeous escort girl. She will say to you, ‘you are the greatest filmmaker in the world, I will do whatever you want’ and you’re so tempted, but you’re also like ‘am I gonna catch something?’

“Creative control doesn’t mean a whole lot if what’s at stake is tremendous. If you make a movie that costs $100 million, you may have as much control as you want but if that movie doesn’t make half a billion, you’re going to have an issue.”

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In a separate interview with Vulture, he said he wasn’t bothered by reports that his latest film had been booed in some quarters at Cannes. Rather, he replied, “oh, cool” when told that it had been, adding: “You know, great art – horrible thing to say – but art is meant to divide, because if it doesn’t divide, it doesn’t penetrate, and if it doesn’t penetrate, you just consume it.”

Next story: The Immigrant wins praise for Marion Cotillard at Cannes