BILLY RAY has written or co-written the screenplays for Color of Night, Volcano and Hart's War and also created the sci-fi series Earth 2. In 2003, Ray wrote and directed Shattered Glass, which was based on the true story of fraudulent journalist Stephen Glass. Most recently, he found himself back in the writer/director role for Breach, a story based on real-life FBI agent-turned-Soviet spy Robert Hanssen. In this intriguing interview, listen as Ray touches on his inspiration from movie soundtracks, taking acting classes, genius by osmosis and writing for the Jetsons.
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Did You Know?
repeats some comments in this interview almost word for word in an interview he would go on to give a few years later. This repetition is perhaps most noticeable in what he says about returning to being only a screenplay writer after having been a writer/director on some projects. Here in The Dialogue: An Interview with Screenwriter Billy Ray
(2007)he says, "I got into this business to work with great directors. And I am not a great director, so it would be stupid of me to limit myself to working only with me." In a segment of an interview appearing in More Tales from the Script
(2010), Ray says "I got into writing with the idea that I wanted to work with great directors. I am not a great director, so it would be stupid to limit myself to only working with me." In both cases he immediately follows these comments by citing Ang Lee
and Peter Weir
as two of the "great directors" he would like to work with, although he reverses the order in which he mentions them. See more
Mistakenly thinking that Billy Ray
has made a mistake regarding the release year of five major American films, interviewer Mike De Luca
incorrectly "corrects" him. De Luca has just asked Ray if he thinks any particular year in the modern Hollywood "Golden Age" of the 1970s was its best year. Rays answer is, "1976." He calls it not just the best year of that decade but "the greatest movie year of all time." He substantiates this claim by pointing out that among the films of that year, the losing nominees for Best Picture at the Oscars were All the President's Men
, Bound for Glory
, and Taxi Driver
. He goes on to say that the winner was Rocky
, quickly adding that he's not implying it did not deserve it. Apparently misunderstanding him to be talking about the Oscars ceremonies of 1976 rather than about the year those films came out, De Luca then adds a parenthetical remark identifying 1975 as their release year. See more
At home, my computer monitor sits on top of two screenplays... And that's "Casablanca" and "Chinatown." And the hope is that, you know, genius by osmosis will just seep into my computer.
References Broadcast News