There was a moment in the mid-’90s when Oliver Stone could get anything funded, and he was making giant studio movies that were unlike anything anyone else was doing. It felt like he was pulling something over on the studios on a regular basis. He was larger-than-life, and it was amazing to watch happen from the sidelines.
During that time period, there was one project I partnered on with a number of people, including my co-writer Scott Swan. It was an animated R-rated horror film, mega-graphic and super creepy. And at that moment, Ixtlan Pictures, Stone’s production company, was looking to get into the animation business, specifically looking for material suited to adult audiences. When we met with the executives there, we were told that Stone got bit by the bug when he was working on “Natural Born Killers” and supervised the animation for that film. He thought there was a chance to do something no one had really done in the mainstream yet.
And for about two months, it seemed like it was a “maybe,” like they were thinking about whether or not they could put an animation pipeline together, trying to wrap their heads around the real costs of the idea. In the end, they decided not to move ahead with anything in the animation realm, and we moved on to try to find someone else to partner with us on it.
The most remarkable thing about that entire process was that even when we started to talk about them committing to us and the project, we never once met Oliver Stone.
It was his company, and we hoped that one of our meetings about the film would eventually include him. When it didn’t happen, we were most bummed about the realization that we weren’t going to ever end up taking that meeting with him. At the time, it seemed appropriate. Stone was incredibly busy, and he seemed somewhat unstoppable. We didn’t really expect to meet with him until we were officially making the movie. Sitting down with him to discuss his new film “Savages,” we’re both in very different places than we were in that mid-’90s near encounter. He was soft-spoken and charming with a laconic energy the day of the interviews, and the one thing we discussed off-camera was how much I’ve enjoyed watching his son, Sean Stone, show up in his films over the years, growing up from movie to movie.
It was a real pleasure to sit down with Stone finally, and I strongly urge you to give the film a chance. I think it’s huge fun.
“Savages” opens everywhere on Friday.