When it comes to films, the best stories can be found in the independent films, says Clifton Collins, Jr.
Collins, seen recently in Star Trek XI as Romulan villain Ayel, spoke recently about different types of movies and movie roles and what he prefers. When it comes to a choice between dramatic or comedic roles, he has no great preference. “If you do to much of one thing,” he said, it’s easy to get a little stagnant and bored. I love switching it up.”
“Being creative in a changing environment and genre is a great way to keep a creative range of motion exercised, and helps to not get in that Hollywood pigeonhole,” he added. “Also, they both have their different creative rewards that are defined by the response that your character receives. In a comedy, obviously it’s the big laughs. In a more dramatic piece, it’s more of the ‘felt emotion’ of the audience. When one achieves that, it’s a very good feeling, especially if you have a great director who’s really going to collaborate with the artist that he’s hired, unless of course he/she has intentionally hired an actor that’s more of a puppet, they generally respond better to ‘line readings.'”
When it comes to mainstream movies such as Star Trek XI versus “Indies,” Clifton believes that the latter are more apt to offer a better story. “Well certainly, indies have more often than not the best stories. There is no money for the writer’s creativity to be blocked, and by that, I mean it’s easy to get blinded or seduced by an opportunity to write big action sequences, explosions, CGI, etc. I believe this is why most young directors loose sight on their sophomore films. They get bigger budgets and all they see is action, action, action, and no content. It doesn’t cost anything to write something brilliant, and brilliant writing will get you brilliant actors, which together will capture your audiences hearts and souls, their laughter and their tears. I haven’t seen a CGI effect do that, nor an explosion.”
That doesn’t mean that a good mainstream movie won’t be made though. It all depends upon who is making that movie. “In the case of a more mainstream film like Star Trek, well for starters, I’ll say one thing, J.J. Abrams and the caring supportive producers that he surrounds himself with…He is masterful at balancing what I like to call the ‘trilogy of elements’ that make a great mainstream action film: Drama, Humor, and Action. Then of course, he hires great actors. He loves what he does, and that said, he loves movies and actors. Not all directors do.”