I’ve started to do number 60.
A year ago, my twelve-year-old daughter, Chloe, was acting in my film RV. After a long day, I said, “You know, Chloe, you’re painfully opinionated and you boss everyone around. You should be a director.”
“No offense, Dad, but I’ll stick to being a movie star,” she said. “Directing looks too stressful.”
On the first movie I directed, The Addams Family, I ended up fainting when, after a sleepless night, I thought I could maintain some sense of awareness the next day by drinking nine straight espressos. When the head of Paramount Studios said that it was unreleasable, I spent the night weeping on Sweetie’s (the wife’s) lap. During Men in Black II, I was raced to the hospital with what I thought was a heart attack. After spending the night in the emergency room next to a woman whining, “I need quinine,” I was given an echocardiogram and told that I was simply suffering from stress and that I should get into a program of meditation. (I didn’t tell the doctor that I was meditating when the chest pain started.) On Wild Wild West, I broke my hand in five places when I punched Will Smith’s arm.
So why direct? It’s the closest a guy like me will ever come to being a general. I have a thought, and suddenly manly men are building gigantic sets. Plus, being forced to make thousands of decisions a week on topics that you didn’t know you were ever going to need to have an opinion about (Lara Flynn Boyle’s girdle comes to mind) is exhilarating. I also get to send back cappuccinos because the foam looks too much like a latte and work with people smarter than me, who make me look good. If every couple of years I have a psychological breakdown, well, at least I’ve got a thick head of foam on my cappuccino.
— Barry Sonnenfeld