Not necessarily. You can be a film writer without having a degree. You can do all sorts of different things and we live a good life and we’ve earned all we can get. We’re fortunate to do what we do. It just depends on where you’re at. We’re both at the top of a long career and that’s our goal.
You’re both in charge of the production on the new movie Starz’s adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds?
Nas, in a way. My brother Steve is in the room with us a lot. We always tell her, ‘Just get out of the way.’ I don’t think she notices we’re doing anything, because she’s been in some places all right. There are a lot of amazing actors in the room and it’s quite impressive that they know what they’re doing and they have great taste and they’ve got a good time. When we look on a screen with the sound on and see all these things, especially if you’re in front of the camera, it’s beautiful.
H.G. Wells was a huge influence on your songwriting and filmmaking style. Was that hard to make the transition?
Not at all. I don’t have anyone who really knows me and knows it’s a big thing because it’s so personal. I didn’t want to be anybody other than myself and I have that kind of freedom and I love it. If I don’t love it, I don’t do it — it’s not the same.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned about H.G. Wells?
I can’t really say something. I learned some things the first time I sat down and listened. You do something and you’ve become the greatest artist you’ve ever known. If there was ever anybody I’d like to look up to, it would be H.G. Wells.
When I do a movie, I get to watch all the movies he did and learn all the secrets and techniques. There’s one thing on a lot of those movies we just don’t have much to say because they’ve already been said. He always told us to think before saying things that weren’t right. It’s about being real. That’s what was fun about that.
How do you feel about the state of jazz in America?
I think it’s just a natural phenomenon that’s really going to change a lot over the next 10, or 20
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