VIDEO - DISCUSSES WORKING ON 'MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE' SCRIPT OPPOSITE ROBERT TOWNE
Early on in the Collider Connected video above, Drew Taylor asks David Koepp about the films he made with Brian De Palma in the 1990s:
Drew Taylor: Brian De Palma recently talked about how Mission: Impossible and Carlito's Way were the highlights of his career. And I want to know what you're experience was on these movies, and sort of what your take was.
Koepp: They were great. Brian and I have stayed close friends ever since. He lives just a couple miles away. We have socially-distanced coffee from time to time.
They were turbulent. Of the three movies I did with Brian, the only peaceful one was Snake Eyes. But I think the other two are stronger films, in part because of the chaos and fighting and friction. You know, the old expression, "Bad experience, good film. Good experience, bad film." So, I mean, I loved them. They were really fun, and even though there was fighting, I always felt Brian and I were allies. Even when he fired me-- had to fire me and rehire me-- on Mission: Impossible. He just the other day said, "You know, I think I was the first person to ever fire you." Yeah, Brian, you know [laughs], so what?!? You came back, didn't ya? But they were great experiences, yeah.
Drew: In the documentary, he talks about how you and Robert Towne were in different hotel rooms in the same hotel, working on different drafts of Mission: Impossible. [Laughing] Did you know there was a guy next door working on the same...
Koepp: Yeah, they didn't put us in the same hotel, actually. He was in the Dorchester, I was in the old Hyde Park Hotel, which is now the Mandarin. But yeah, it was really stressy. Once the movie got up and running, or once Paramount greenlit it, Tom got rather anxious, and wanted to bring Towne in to work on it. And then Towne came in, and Brian didn't want-- [Koepp throws his hands in the air] yeah, there was a lot of fighting. And then Towne came in and threw all the pages up in the air. And things stayed quite chaotic. And then three weeks before shooting, they said, "Will you come back... you know, try and put it all back together. But Bob's going to keep working, and you're going to keep working, and we'll just figure out what we shoot." I was like, "Okay... this oughta be interesting."
Drew: Has there ever been a situation where the movie was just too chaotic, or the script was in such disrepair, that you said, "I can't do this"?
Koepp: You know, I've always been able to find an appropriate moment to leave, if I needed to leave. I never had a dramatic leaving. I think, sometimes... and I think I've gotten better at it as I've gotten older. John Kamps and I wrote Zathura, that Jon Favreau directed, and Favreau really wanted to take a pass at it himself. We didn't want him to, so it seemed to make sense to leave, and, you know, let him do that. Which I think he was about to implement anyway, so, you know, [laughing] I'm not sure if I had walked out or was shoved. It's fine, I guess. You know, you gotta sometimes take your own shot at stuff. I didn't want to let that go, because it had a lot of my two sons in it. So it was a lot of personal stuff. I didn't want to leave it to somebody else. So, I think I probably threw a hissy fit on the phone as I left.
Other than that, you kind of know when you're time is up on a movie. Because usually if you get fired, or quit, it's not because people are unpleasant. It's because you're out of ideas. Or your ideas are just not jelling with theirs.
Koepp's new thriller, You Should Have Left, hits V.O.D. tomorrow.