Whatever you might think of his (very dodgy) politics, it's quite clearly the case that any documentary that features writer/director John Milius is immediately made exponentially more entertaining. He's an essential part of Hearts Of Darkness and Easy Riders Raging Bulls, and his making-of and commentary on his own Conan The Barbarian are things of insane majesty. So the news that Milius is now the subject of his own documentary profile is both happy and welcome, and here's a trailer to back up that assertion.
Milius, a difficult kid who became both a voracious bookworm and an accomplished surfer, was refused entry to the Marine Corps because of his chronic asthma. So he wrote instead. One of the movie brat generation along with Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola (all of whom show up in the film, along with Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger and many others), he sold his early screenplays - The Life And Times Of Judge Roy Bean, Jeremiah Johnson etc. - for record amounts. He did uncredited work on Dirty Harry, and wrote the sequel, Magnum Force. And perhaps most famously, transposed Joseph Conrad to Vietnam for Apocalypse Now.
As a director, he put his surf experience to use in the epic Big Wednesday, brought his love of Genghis Khan and Akira Kurosawa to bear in the aforementioned Conan, and pitted Patrick Swayze against those dastardly evil communist Russians in Red Dawn. More recently, he created the BBC/HBO series Rome. He has referred to himself as both a right-wing extremist and a "zen anarchist". John Goodman's Walter Sobchak in the Coens' The Big Lebowski is based on him. He likes guns. A lot.
His mad public persona seems to be as much at the heart of the documentary as his work, and there are gems enough in the trailer - Sam Elliott's "He doesn't write for pussies"; Oliver Stone's "He says what he thinks... but I'm not sure he thinks!" - that the full film can only be a tantalising prospect. It was assembled by Joey Figueroa and Zak Knutson, and makes its debut at the SXSW festival this week.
Writing as a soft, liberal, sandal wearing hippy...
THIS DOC WILL ROCK!
Milius is one of the list heroes of bullish, macho, ott movies. However, you watch Big Wednesday and you'll see how he was also able to write touching, real and highly emotional scenes. It's also the greatest movie about the worlds greatest sport of all time!
Hopefully we will also hear from the original Leroy the Masochist - Gary Busey - in the movie...
Seriously, cannot wait for this!! More