The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid?

[Hesitates] Very rarely would I use the word “afraid.” I feel trepidation. I get nervous, particularly when I’m about to shoot a big cinematic sequence that absolutely has got to work or else why bother. Going into those scenes, I have trepidation, because it’s mine to mess up.

The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?

Oh, I’m very happy.

Teri Emerson would like to know, when was the last time you had a good laugh?

Oh, I laugh all the time. I’m an easy laugher. You can find me on any set, because I’m always laughing.

The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read?

I’m a cinemaphile, so I read a lot of cinema books. The last one I read was a biography abut the director Dorothy Arzner.

What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome?

Poverty, to a great degree. I was very poor at the age of 16 and 17.

Working in the video store.

No, those were the good days. But even then, while working at the video store for five years, I was a high school dropout making minimum wage. And that’s what I existed on for what seemed like forever. We would dream about one day getting a raise to the wonderful world of $8 an hour. So, to overcome that minimum-wage kid white underclass to actually be responsible for millions of dollars when it comes to making a movie was a very big deal.

What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

If you want to be a filmmaker, you have to love it. If you love cinema as much as I do, and not many people do, and if you are focused and actually have something to offer, you will get somewhere with it. And when it comes to being a writer, just write. Writing is actually the easiest thing to get started at. But don’t write what you think people want to read. Find your voice and write about what’s in your heart.

What’s your favorite dish to cook?

That’s a good question, actually. I’d have to say barbecuing a steak. It’s one dish I do it really well, and it’s very satisfying. I can make other things, but I don’t like to cook just for myself. Barbecuing a steak is always good.

Inglourious Basterds is out this weekend.

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