The director, behind films from The Exorcist to The French Connection, has criticized the lack of realism and substance in the majority of mainstream movies released today. “Films used to be rooted in gravity,” he said at the Champs- Élysées film festival in Paris. “They were about real people doing real things. Today, cinema in America is all about Batman, Superman, Iron Man, Avengers, the Hunger Games: all kinds of stuff that I have no interest in seeing at all.”
Friedkin believes the change happened in the late 1970s, around the time that he made the action-thriller Sorceror, which was overshadowed by the success of Star Wars. “That is when my films went like that – out of the frame,” he said.
He now believes that the best place for film-makers is the small screen. “You develop character at a greater length and the story is more complex and deeper than cinema,” he said. “Many of the fine film-makers are going to long-form TV. It is the most welcoming place to work for a director today.”
Friedkinhas directed two episodes of CSI and is hoping to make a Mae West biopic for HBO, which might star Bette Midler. He has also discussed turning his 1985 film To Live and Die in LA into a television series.
His last film, Killer Joe, gave the director a comeback of sorts after struggling with poorly received thrillers such as The Hunted, Rules of Engagement and Jade.