Robert Zemeckis Talks ‘Flight,’ ‘Future,’ And Bristles At Bad Review

The new Robert Zemeckis filmFlight, starring Denzel Washington, is a hit with critics and modest box office performer. The director himself sat down for an interview in which he discusses his latest film, its ties to his earlier Back to the Future, and scoffs at his negative critics.

Hollywood has been good to Robert Zemeckis. With films like Forrest Gump, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and Back to the Future, he has enjoyed multiple Academy Award wins, critical praise, and box office gold. He has also pioneered multiple animation techniques for the film industry that were at first treated with heavy skepticism. Many of them are now the standard.

Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Zemeckis reflected on his career thus far, and discussed his latest turn with Flight.

On whether his films have lost some of the “sweetness” of Back to the Future and Romancing the Stone and become more “cerebral”:

“Maybe the sweetness and light went away because I just sort of grew, got older. I mean, it has nothing to do with technology, does it? It seems like it’s presented to me that because movies are digital, they’re less than. And I come to the conversation saying, ‘Hey, a moving image is a moving image. A movie is a movie is a movie.’ “

On what attracted Zemeckis to Flight:

“The screenplay was so good. It was something that allowed me to feel that kind of filmmaker passion. It was a challenge. It was, ‘Can I pull this off?’ It’s got no bad guys. It’s got no good guys. It’s got no obvious ticking-bomb plot, and yet it was extremely compelling and very dramatic. I thought that the character Denzel plays — that his substance abuse is a symptom of a deeper problem. What I saw in the screenplay was a story about a guy who’s just completely disconnected. He’s isolated from everybody in the world around him and doesn’t know what to do.”

On a negative review of Flight Manohla Dargis in The New York Times:

“I’m not going to respond to anything that a critic says.”

Read the full interview with Robert Zemeckis over at The Hollywood Reporter.