YOU MADE A VERY AUSPICIOUS DIRECTING DEBUT AT CANNES IN 1997 WITHNIL BY MOUTH, BUT HAVE NOT MADE A FOLLOW-UP FEATURE. IS THAT A FUNCTION OF HOW LACERATING AN EXPERIENCE THE MAKING SUCH AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL FILM CAN BE? No, no, no. I've written a couple of things since then, and I've tried to get something made. I'm cooking up something right now to do. What happened was, shortly after Nil, I had a couple of kids. I got divorced and I've spent a great deal of time raising my kids and spending time with them. One is nearly 14, and the other is 12.
YOUR CAREER HAS BEEN WILDLY UNPREDICTABLE, FROM THE VERISIMILITUDE OF SID VICIOUS, JOE ORTON, AND LEE HARVEY OSWALD TO THOSE BAROQUE VILLAIN ROLES YOU DID FOR FRENCH DIRECTOR LUC BESSON. Those parts [in Besson's Leon and The Fifth Element] were like cartoons, bigger than life. I got recognized for that, and that's all I would get. I've just been approached about taking on another one, and I told them, "You have to pay me a lot more than that to get me out as a villain."
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It's a huge ship to turn around. You're not in the driver's seat unless you're writing parts for yourself. [Batman Begins and The Dark Knight director] Chris Nolan came up to me and said, "I'm not only going to cast you as a good guy, but 'the good guy.' " I've had my villain phase, my punk phase. You want to try something new or different, otherwise there's no point in doing it. At the same time, I've got bills coming, so there's that. . . . This is a very strange profession.
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