We’ve sourced some of the most interesting and thought-provoking Doug Liman Quotes. Each of the following quotes is overflowing with creativity, and knowledge.
I don’t really make movies with an intention other than asking myself, ‘Do I love the character, and do I love the story?’
I always liked photography in film – I studied photography growing up. I like the medium of film; I like physically holding 35-mm film. I like the way it looks, the quality when it’s projected. I like the way it frames real life.
Artistic mediums go through phases where progress happens really rapidly, and then other moments where it slows down.
I have to have a passionate connection to my films, which I do with ‘Justice League Dark.’ I have a way into the story that’s personal, the way I have a connection to ‘The Wall.’
I’m really attracted to anti-heroes, and I’m a little bit of a troublemaker myself, and a little bit of a rule-breaker, and I like spies.
Trust me: you make a movie about time travel, and you know for a fact humans will never travel through time. The paradoxes that come up just from trying to tell a story with time travel really illuminates the fact that it’s impossible. It will never happen. We can barely get through a movie that involves time travel.
I always wanted to make a ‘James Bond’ film, and they only seemed to hire British directors, and I’d made ‘Swingers’ – they were never going to hire me for a ‘James Bond’ film off ‘Swingers.’
I’ve got a short attention span, so it makes sense that I like movies because, for the most part, they immerse you in lots of action.
We love movies like ‘Edge of Tomorrow.’ It’s why we go to the movies, and it’s why we make movies.
I think making a great action movie is one of the hardest cinematic endeavors. By definition, smart characters avoid action. Smart people don’t go down dark alleys, but if you’re making an action movie and you want to have an action sequence, somehow you have to get that character into that dangerous situation.
When you have films like ‘Bourne’ that succeed, not only does it beget sequels, but it begets people taking chances.
I started my career wanting to make a ‘James Bond’ movie, and I couldn’t get hired! I made ‘The Bourne Identity,’ and ultimately the impact of that film was that it changed the ‘James Bond’ franchise.
The one thing about reality is sometimes it gives you material that is wilder than some of your wildest imagination could come up with.
It turns out that it’s easier to do politics in a movie. People really don’t want it in their TV.
More of ‘The Bourne Identity’s script was taken from the events of the Iran Contra, which my father investigated for the Senate, than what was taken from Robert Ludlum’s novel.
I’m really anxious not to repeat what I’ve done before, to keep pushing and learning.
I’ll just say that there are certain people who continue to be hired in Hollywood, and that leaves me truly shocked.
There’s a weird intellectual approach to filmmaking, where I pose a question to myself and use the film to try and answer it.
There’s no reason my films can’t work as hard as VR does to hook an audience and never let them go, so I think that that it turns the volume up a little bit on storytelling. The same way when I was doing commercials and then I went and shot ‘Go,’ and ‘Go’ has a level of pace that is unlike any of my other movies.
VR is so immersive, and when it works, it draws you into the story in a way that is truly unique and powerful.
I think of myself as making independent films within the studio system. Yes, I’ve made movies with significantly larger budgets, and I’ve also made movies with smaller budgets.
I’m really drawn to adventure, and characters being plucked from normal life and sent on extraordinary adventures.
Even more than ‘Swingers,’ ‘Go’, for me, defines my career.
What I really found was that the one similarity between ‘Covert Affairs’ and ‘Fair Game’ is a deep love and admiration and fascination with the home life of a spy.
Ultimately, if you look at the characters in my films, you’ll see a lot of similarities going all the way back to ‘Swingers’ with Vince Vaughn’s character.
I always wanted to make big action movies as a kid, and that was my dream. In a way, ‘Swingers’ was the thing I suffered through the most doing because of all that dialog, so I could eventually be allowed to do a big dumb action movie, honestly.
I don’t really analyze my process. I do know that if it’s not right, I won’t move on. I’m tenacious to a fault about that.
If you look at my movies, they’re pretty densely packed, such that they not only hold up to a second viewing, they’re oftentimes better the second time you watch them. So I’ve always thought about crafting stories that could hold up to multiple viewings, and so VR obviously fits right into that.
VR should be more emotionally involving, but that doesn’t happen automatically by just taking a VR camera and sticking it onto what would be a traditionally blocked scene for 2D.
I subscribe to the school that there are no dumb questions.
I like to keep my options open. I’m known for changing my mind.
I’m very interested in politics, and I feel TV is a more political medium than film.
I had just come off doing a lot of commercials when I did ‘Go,’ so a part of the fast pace and efficiency comes from the discipline I had to learn from telling stories in 25-second increments, and that type of discipline is insane.
You gotta understand, ‘Swingers’ was a resume film for me. I never thought anybody would see the movie who I wasn’t in the room with showing it to them.
My older brother took me to Woody Allen double features when I was still teething.
At the end of the day, the less money you have, the easier it is to make a movie.
When I was shooting ‘The Bourne Identity,’ I had a mantra: ‘How come you never see James Bond pay a phone bill?’ It sounds trite, but it became the foundation of that franchise.
I populated ‘The Bourne Identity’ with real characters from American history, specifically characters from the Iran-Contra affair, which my father ran the investigation of. But at the heart of it was a fictional character.
I feel like, Barry Seal, he’s pure of heart.
I’m interested in the kind of anti-establishment ethos that goes with making an independent movie. I like to bring that to studio films – usually to the consternation of the studios.
To be a lone filmmaker thousands of miles from home with nobody believing in me, that seems romantic.
In particular, I’m drawn to the stories that have big, high concepts and real characters at their heart. And I love where those two worlds meet, and ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ is the perfect canvas to explore that.
I love that Barry Seal is working for the CIA, and he’s an awful liar. It just goes to how honest this character is at the end of the day, even as he rips off the country and the world to the tune of becoming one of the wealthiest men in America. There’s an innate honesty, a purity to him.
I probably shouldn’t treat interviews as therapy sessions, but I don’t keep a diary, so these end up being my way of keeping track of where I’m at and letting it all out.
I’ve been really lucky in terms of the people I’ve gotten to work with.
A movie like ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ is so huge and complex – the spectacle and action is all-consuming – and that on its own is enough of a reason for a lot of people to see it.
For me, the scale of the budget is part of the creative process. ‘Swingers’ is the movie it is because we made it for exactly the right budget. Had it been made for a higher number, it would not have been as imaginative as we had to make it, given the budget constraints we had.
There would be no Marvel without ‘Swingers’; there would be no Jon Favreau directing ‘Iron Man,’ no Robert Downey Jr. playing Iron Man; no ‘Avengers.’
I make movies for me and posterity. I’m more scared of history than I am of the studio.
People don’t talk about how hard it is to make a movie. Nobody does. Ever.
The audience has a level of control, when you watch ‘Invisible,’ that nothing in 2D can give you. The overall climax of the series will work no matter how you get there, and the climax of each episode will work no matter how you get there, but no two viewings of an episode will ever be the same.
I can’t impress people with the pedigree of obscure French filmmakers that got me into film. It was Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg. I really thought I wanted to make dumb action movies.
I think that I learned a studio system prefers a sort of professionalism from the director.
‘Swingers’ was always set in another world.
The thing about TV is it’s a meritocracy. I love that aspect of it – and I’ve had shows that have gone on the air and been canceled. I’ve seen the good and the bad of it.
‘Mr. and Mrs. Smith’ – every scene is from those characters’ point of view. They’re in literally every scene, very unusual in a big studio film.
I went to USC film school, briefly, which is a very traditional film school.
On ‘Edge of Tomorrow,’ we discovered that movie while we were making it.
Somehow super power and hero are so synonymous that they get combined into one word, ‘superhero,’ whereas I’m kind of more interested in separating those two ideas out. You have characters with super powers who may or may not be heroic, because human beings aren’t all heroic. I tend to be drawn to antiheros.
Casting is everything. I put a huge amount of work into casting, and consistently across my career, I am most proud of my bold choices I made in casting.
Making ‘American Made’ really was an adventure.
I really have thought about immersive storytelling my whole career, so when I first heard about VR, I was like, ‘Oh, this sounds like it’s for me.’
The reality is, the movies that were most impactful to me growing up, when I decided I wanted to make movies, I was going to see Woody Allen double features with my brother, back when they had double features.
I’ve always been interested in giving the audience a first-person experience in my movies.
Almost anything can be justified as a style of filmmaking if it works.
When my father would come home from his work at the Senate and talk about the things he could talk about – because a lot of his work was top secret – he would always tell me these stories and laugh. As deadly serious as his work was, he would laugh at the absurdity of it all.
‘The Wall’ is a reaction to ‘Edge of Tomorrow,’ where I was like, ‘I don’t need time travel and aliens to take a hero and pin them down in an impossible situation. I can do it in a much simpler way.’ And that was ‘The Wall.’
A part of me is a liberal New Yorker involved in politics and certain attitudes about movies. I kind of lost my indie credibility over ‘Mr. and Mrs. Smith.’ I know I haven’t lost it. I just have to go make an independent movie. I just have to do it. Just for me.
From a production point of view, I still have one foot firmly planted in the independent film world, and much of the shooting on ‘Jumper’ was done ‘Swingers’-style because that was the only way we could afford to do it.
I started making Super 8-mm films when I was about six years old and just never stopped. It was always just a hobby, but it’s one of the few hobbies that can actually become a career. You know what? I think it was my plan from when I was six that this is what I was going to do.
I’ve often found, as I did with ‘Bourne,’ where I was inspired by the events of Iran-Contra when I designed the CIA for the ‘Bourne’ franchise, that the reality of how things work is usually more compelling than the superficial, made-up version that Hollywood sometimes does.
I’m really interested in real people in extraordinary situations. The detail and reality to that.
With VR, you are directing in a 360-degree environment. The biggest challenge is that the viewer can look anywhere. They might look at the the weakest moments, the very things you edit for TV. You don’t control where they look.
All of my fellow directors, I think, would agree that in whatever medium you are working, the challenges and obstacles push them to be more creative. That’s the case with VR.
Given the kind of filmmaker I am, the kind of experiences I’ve been trying to give audiences, I was drawn to the potential of VR before I even tried watching anything in VR.