I think he’s creatively attuned to grander things in his films right now. Which is awesome for us as viewers. But what we did was more in the vein of—and, yes, it’s a commercial and it’s 90 seconds, and I’m obviously not putting it in the category of After Hours or, y’know, Mean Streets or anything like that—but it was a much more of a run-and-gun exercise. Even the shot of the camera hitting me. And just having to knock something out in five days, it resembles those New York films more than a six-month sweeping shoot in Oklahoma.

The last time we were talking, for the November 2023 cover, it was right on the precipice of these two films—Wonka and Dune: Part 2—and now, obviously, your head is in a different place on Dylan. But when you kind of look over your shoulder back at what just happened, how do you regard it?

With just an enormous amount of gratitude. And gratitude to jump into something new right away, too. I feel earlier in my career, and the success of other projects, I questioned what the best way was to appreciate them. And this time, I feel like I’ve done it the right way—if there is a right way and there can be a right way—which is to simply take it as a green light to keep working on the things I want to work on that are inspiring to me. And to keep my head down and, you know, keep pounding my nail into the wall.

That’s probably the more contextualized feeling. The real feeling is I’m just so locked in on this other thing. Because I do work in this strange medium where things take years to come out, so I do feel like I’m 37 miles down the path.

You’re living in the future, movies-wise.


What about this Travolta thing? With the box-office success of Wonka and Dune: Part II, you were the first actor since John Travolta to have two major box-office hits out within eight months of one another. Or something like that. It’s not like one of those things where people were waiting around wondering, like, When will this record be broken? But it’s a useful metric to articulate a feeling in the air: These were two smash hits with the same guy at the center of them. What of it?

[long pause] I mean, it’s gonna sound pretentious, but it really just encouraged me to keep using the shades of color or paint that I want to use when I do, and the older I get, the more, or even talking to Marty about After Hours, when it came out and how it stood up over time as opposed to the initial reaction. You really just gotta pay attention to whatever you’re working on in the moment. Like: All right, let me just continue to trust what I want to work on, big or small.

Give me a Knicks prediction.

Holy shit. I’m gonna say Knicks in six in this series. And then we’ll see about Boston.

Have you been to a playoff game yet?

No, I’ve been so locked in on this movie. This call is about the most exciting and different thing I’ve done in two months, I swear to God.

But if the Knicks are in an Eastern Conference Finals, you will emerge.

Absolutely. Definitely. I’ll be there.

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