Slipstream: Directed by Oscar Winner Anthony Hopkins

Interview with Anthony Hopkins

Origins and Goals

The movie “Slipstream” was something I created from an experimental screenplay I wrote three years ago. It was a ‘stream of consciousness’ experiment. Scenes have no obvious connection with other scenes; everything appears to be unrelated, haphazard with no significant ‘through line of action.’

The screenplay writer Felix Bonhoeffer is plunged into a state of consciousness that makes little or no sense at all. He is witnessing the end of his own existence. Memories flicker and explode into his awareness; everything is tumult and chaos as he is dragged into the whirlpool.

I wanted to break the movie ‘rules,’ dislocate the format. I wasn’t interested in making a ‘statement of purpose.’ I simply wanted to poke fun at everything, to express my take on the world, a tragicomedy of the absurd, signifying nothing.

Time and Memory

I am intrigued by the illusory experience of Time, Memory and Dreams. Whenever I watch a movie, I am more interested in what is just off Camera. When John Wayne wanders back into the great open prairie at the end of The Searchers,” I know that just Off Camera are piles of equipment, cables, lights, trucks, catering, and, of course, the silent, invisible engineers of the whole catastrophic of illusion–the movie crew; and, of course, on top of the pile, is the cantankerous God, himself, John Ford the Great Director, waiting to shout Cut!

Movie as a Metaphor

Sooner or later, the last word will be uttered, the epitaph: That’s It! That’s a wrap everyone!” And everyone will wander home, his or her separate way, to his or her little box on the hill. In “Slipstream,” I have used the ‘movie’ as a metaphor (that over used word) for life itself– Is it all a dream Perhaps

The Title

Slipstream is about the nature of reality and the illusion of life. The title means everything, and it means nothing at all, says writer/director Anthony Hopkins. The film draws much of its inspiration from popular culture and recent history, and at the same time, it’s completely original. Hopkins explains, “I’m fascinated by time and by the perception of events over time. Life is so illusion-like, so dream-like, that I think it’s all a dream, a dream within a dream.

Hopkins explains, “It’s about a man, who’s caught in a slipstream of time falling back on itself and he remembers his own future. I’m intrigued by the fact that the older I get, every moment just slips past. What is real What is fantasy You grasp this moment and then, suddenly, it’s gone. I was talking 10 minutes ago but that’s all gone, it’s all a dream.

Choosing Locations

Several key physical locations were chosen in and around the Los Angeles the most significant of which was in Californias Mojave Desert. Its befitting of a film that questions the very nature of reality, that to the casual observer driving through the desert, the Slipstream set could very easily appear to be a roadside mirage in the distance. Amidst the blazing heat and blowing sand, one would be certain that a last chance for food, gas and lodging appears at the end of the desert highway — an outpost of classic Americana.

For four weeks in the dead of summer, the company settled into the Mojve outpost, affectionately dubbed Club Ed, on the edge of the Californias barren, windblown, high desert.

Scorching Heat

Each day, scorching temperatures, well into the triple digits tormented the dedicated cast and crew. Production saw its hottest day with air temperatures peaking at 117 and a ground temperature of a hellish 165. It was so hot that even the regions local residents–rattlesnakes and scorpions, managed to stay away.

Club Ed was originally built over twenty-five years ago for the film Eye of the Beholder, starring Dennis Hopper. After the movie was shot, the films investors decided the set was too good to just tear down. The main structures still remain today and include a classic American diner, and old gas station, gleaming airstream trailers, and a motel with pool–all circa 1940s-50’s California desert.

The sets name is in honor of its original caretaker, a desert rat named Ed, who also doubled as the disc jockey at the local radio station. Hollywood location managers, photographers, directors and celebrities would eventually find the set and make it their own. Annie Liebovitz, Ridley Scott, Mick Jagger, and Claudia Schiffer have all utilized Club Eds classic route 66 appearance and endless shooting angles surrounded by unspoiled desert light and landscape.