William Friedkin, the Academy Award-winning director of The French Connection, has dismissed modern superhero and sci-fi movies for dominating the industry, and says they lack substance.
“Films used to be rooted in gravity,” the now 79-year-old said this week at the Champs-Elysees Film Festival in Paris, according to the Daily Mail. “They were about real people doing real things.”
The Exorcist director continued, complaining there is little place for realism in modern cinema: “Today, he complains large projects are ‘all about Batman, Superman, Iron Man, Avengers, Hunger Games in America: all kinds of stuff that I have no interest in seeing at all.’”
According to the Mail, Friedkin admitted the industry’s trend toward creating films for mass appeal may have affected his own filmmaking career, which peaked in the 1970s.
Star Wars eclipsed his 1977 film Sorcerer, his proudest directorial achievement, and his projects never again generated the Oscar-winning success of The Exorcist and The French Connection.
“That is when my films went like that – out of the frame,” said Freidkin.
The director now says the “best work” for creative filmmakers is either on television, or on online streaming platforms, which he called the “new zeitgeist.”
“You develop character at a greater length and the story is more complex and deeper than cinema,” he said of TV. “Many of the fine filmmakers of today are going to long-form TV. It is the most welcoming place to work for a director today.”
Friedkin added he is “not interested” in making movies for the money, and explained, “I have to love the film, the story, the characters.”
Since the 1970s, the director has had success in both film and TV, but maintains Sorcerer will remain his favorite project.
“If I am remembered at all for anything, I hope it would be that,” he said.
Friedkin won an Academy Award for Best Director in 1972 for French Connection, and was nominated for the same award for The Exorcist, two years later.
That film has grossed more than $440 million since its 1973 release.