One filmmaker out there with a widely appreciated and highly-regarded filmography but generally stays out of the spotlight is Australian director Peter Weir.
The Sydney-born Weir is something of a legend, earning six Oscar nominations in his time and delivering a steady stream of what turned out to be masterpieces including “Picnic at Hanging Rock,” “Gallipoli,” “Dead Poets Society,” “The Truman Show,” “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World,” “Witness,” “The Mosquito Coast,” “The Year of Living Dangerously,” “The Last Wave,” “Fearless,” and “Green Card”.
However, Weir’s “The Way Back” in 2010 is the only film he’s made in nearly twenty years, and it would seem he has unofficially retired from filmmaking. Ethan Hawke, who worked with him on “Dead Poets Society,” spoke with IndieWire this week and discussed Weir’s stepping away from the camera. He says he believes it’s due to the director’s experiences on some of his later films, including one that didn’t make it to screen:
I think he lost interest in movies. He really enjoyed that work when he didn’t have actors giving him a hard time. Russell Crowe and Johnny Depp broke him. He’s someone so rare these days, a popular artist. He makes mainstream movies that are artistic. To have the budget to do ‘The Truman Show’ or ‘Master and Commander,’ you need a Jim Carrey or Russell Crowe. I think Harrison Ford and Gerard Depardieu were his sort of actors. They were director-friendly and didn’t see themselves as important.”
Weir directed the Crowe-led “Master and Commander” in 2003 which had reports of some minor behind-the-scenes issues, but the end product delivered with critical acclaim and plenty of Oscar nominations. After that, Weir was attached to direct the “Shantaram” adaptation which had Depp attached, but Weir left due to creative differences. That film was ultimately scrapped and an Apple TV series adaptation starring Charlie Hunnam has already been shot and is currently in post-production.
Weir is set to receive an honorary Oscar this year.