For over twenty years, writer-director-editor John Sayles has been one of the most effective and lucid storytellers in American cinema. Notoriously and brilliantly independent, Sayles's filmography encompasses many of the great sleeper classics of the past two decades - The Brother from Another Planet (1984), Matewan (1987), Eight Men Out (1988), City of Hope (1991), Lonestar (1996), and Sunshine State (2002), to name just a small selection of his work. Having just published a book of short stories, Dillinger in Hollywood (read last week's review), and in the wake of the theatrical release of the spot-on anti-Bush piece Silver City (featuring Oscar-winner Chris Cooper's already famous interpretation of a suspiciously Dubya-esque gubernatorial candidate), Sayles was kind enough to speak with our own resident Sayles fanboy, Charles Demers.
Seven Oaks: Thanks again for doing this. Although I guess I should have known from Silver City that you have a place in your heart for small, left-wing websites.
Sayles: [laughs] Sure.
SO: You're doing a lot of press right now for a book of screenplays that's been published, a book of short stories, the film - is it a nice distraction from the campaign, or would you rather be watching every minute of the train wreck?
Sayles: Well, you know, I can only stand to watch so much of things like the debates. And to tape them, and then watch as long as I can, and fast forward through it, then trying to watch a little bit more. You know, politics is - One of the reasons I think our voting percentages are so bad in the United States is they're so disappointing. You know, they're important, and it's important that people try to take control of their lives and their country and stuff like that, but they're pretty discouraging. You're so often going into the ballot booth voting for the least of two evils, or somebody you really don't care that much about, just because you dislike the other person even worse.