Geri Cole: That scene really got me when she says like, but maybe she would have given birth to herself, sort of like what your mother sacrifices so that you can have the life that she didn’t necessarily have. Man, okay, so I’d like to talk a little bit more about your process, which I feel like you’re just leading me to all of the questions that I want.
Julie Taymor: I didn’t answer you on that. Yeah.
Geri Cole: A little bit in terms of where you were focusing the story around this ideograph.
Julie Taymor: Well, the ideograph isn’t the first thing. The first thing, it was the solution. I had to bang my head and go to sleep and have nightmares and dreams and all kinds of things before I came up with that bus, but it was because I kept going back. What I guess many of us do when we’re adapting a book, as you pull out everything that seems cinematic, not just visual but dramatic. The father and the mother and the little girl, all those scenes were almost like paper moon to me. They had that resonance of that relationship and how much this little girl idolized her father, but then how you saw the father holding back the mother, and why the mother started to take the drug. All that felt real movie stuff to me. That did not feel difficult, or it was there.
When I started to really go deeply, that’s when Sarah came on and she started to help writing those scenes, I wanted a partner in some of that stuff, but in the actual pulling out, I did that. What are the scenes that I really want to be in this movie? I wanted to India, I wanted the traveling. I knew it was going to be a lot in taxis and trains and airplanes and buses. I needed that because travel is the best education, is the motto of her father and is what she grew up by. There are a lot of these kinds of things that gave me indications. The book gave me indications. You do that and then in a way you start kind of writing those scenes, and Sarah started writing them. Also, we looked at a lot of documentary footage, tons, because there is, but mostly, it’s of Gloria past age 40. It’s once Ms. Magazine, is when she became famous, like the HBO thing.
But some of those scenes with the interviewers, the TV interviewers, all of those, they were also taken from David Susskind, is directly from David Susskind. We also decided, I decided I wanted to use archival material mixed with dramatic reenactments or enactments, not reenactments, because we made up stuff. When it wasn’t right, I had Gloria there. She’s an executive producer. I’d say, “Listen, Gloria, you told me that your house was in East Toledo, that it was an old farmhouse that had a highway right in front of it. A highway just came right down, you walked down the front steps, but that’s CGI, am I going to …” Kim Jennings is my extraordinary production designer, located an amazing neighborhood in Savannah, Georgia, where we shot 90% of this movie. I don’t want to have to CGI if I don’t have to.
I think the neighborhood says it all, that this is an old farmhouse in the midst of these rundown houses, and she said, Julie, all that matters is emotional truth. Because even the scene that’s in Houston, between Dolores Huerta and Gloria about abortion and choice, that never happened in that. Now, I’m spilling the beans here, but that did not happen in that hotel, nor at that time. Yes, Gloria did have these conversations with Dolores, and Dolores, because I asked Gloria to ask Delores if this was okay, because I wrote the scene and I wanted to have Dolores who was Catholic and had 10 children and was very anti-abortion. She did a change, and our change came through her relationship with Gloria Steinem. I thought, I want to show someone who is deeply religious, but comes to this evolution of understanding what choice means, that you could be anti-abortion and pro-choice, that it’s up to the women, it’s there right.
We don’t want to nationalize women’s bodies. I asked Gloria if it was okay, because as screenwriters, we have to economize our locations and it felt right, because we showed the real Phyllis Schlafly, and so we put … she was there, Dolores was in that room, listening to Phyllis Schlafly while the women’s conference, the Houston Women’s Conference was going on half the city away. So, she said, Dolores is fine with it. I’m fine with it. The content, the way you wrote it, it is correct. That was a great experience, because with Frida, Frida wasn’t alive. When the writers, I didn’t write that, I did the visual paintings coming alive, but there were many writers, Edward Norton actually did the draft that I worked from. He doesn’t get credit, but he did the draft. He did the final draft. Anyway, we had Chavela Vargas.
She was alive and she’s in the movie and she was a lover of Frida’s and she knew this, but the rest was all done by wonderful biography, but nobody that we spoke to directly will hear I had Gloria. Yesterday, Gloria just sent me a letter from Bella Abzug’s daughter who loved the movie and said that Bette Midler is the best Bella ever, and said it’s very hard for her to like portrayals of her mother, but she really did think that, that was special, and Bette got her.
Geri Cole: Obviously music is a large part of your work.
Julie Taymor: Huge. Yes.
Geri Cole: What’s your relationship to music? You said you live with a composer. Do you listen to it while you write? Is that a part of your process? Do you have specific songs or tunes in mind as you are creating different scenes and/or projects in general?
Julie Taymor: No. This one, on Glorias, Elliot Goldenthal, who did Frida, won the Academy Award. I’m so proud of him, and has done Titus for me, all of my films, all the Shakespeares, everything. Every film I’ve done, Elliot’s been the composer. He also has done most 90% of my theater. I do also Mozart, Bologna and Stravinsky, but if I have a choice, he also did an original opera with me, Grendel, which is the Beowulf legend, from the monster’s point of view, which we did at Los Angeles Opera and at the State Theater in New York, an original opera back in, right when I was doing Across the Universe, they were overlapping, which is the way life is. In this case, we talked a lot ahead of time. We knew that it would have to spend and feel an orchestration eight decades.
The only thing is that, for instance, when there’s a dance, at our 50th birthday party, I used Chet Baker as the temp music. Then we put that away. It was just the temp score. Elliot took the tune that is the father and daughter traveling in the car that’s kind of a Django Reinhardt type of tune. If you really listen, and his score is now out, it’s phenomenal. It’s my favorite score since Titus. I like Titus as well, but he took that melody and then orchestrated it with saxophone and made it a slow down, beautiful, sexy, jazz number to dance to for the party. But because we had musicians on the stage, of course we needed to have something that they were playing to that would be in the same tempo and rhythm that later Elliot could then put his own score to.
The rest is him responding from the get-go in the edit. Then the editor responding to his music when we worked together, Sabine Hoffman, who was my first time I’ve worked with Sabine, but Sabine was editing right through the shooting. This was very exciting, new relationship for me. I had worked with Françoise Bonnot on four of my other films, and Françoise Bonnot, who really was, my God, she was so important to me. It was very hard to think of working without her. She won the Academy Award for Z, for Z, but she passed away. I found Sabine, and I found it really wonderful working with her. Every week I would get my dailies cut. We actually edited this movie very fast when I finally got home. I think it may be, it took six or seven weeks to edit, and then the visual effects take forever. Put that aside, we still had to spend the requisite amount of weeks finishing the movie, but not in finding the story, not in finding it. She was doing that every week with our dailies.
Geri Cole: I’d like to talk a little bit about your inspirations and what’s in your cultural diet. What do you consume regularly? And then what you’re inspired by currently and/or historically throughout your life.
Julie Taymor: Oh my God. That’s such a huge question.
Geri Cole: I’m sorry. Yeah.
Julie Taymor: Well, I think if anybody knows anything about my past, I’ve traveled since I was a really young girl, and I would even say like Gloria, I went outside of my neighborhood when I was eight years old to Boston and worked in Boston Children’s Theater, professionally, doing shows as an actor with kids from the projects, from Dorchester, Roxbury. Culturally, they were as far away from my neighborhood … I went to public schools, so it was mixed racially, it was mixed socioeconomically, but not as much as when I went downtown and worked with these kids and became friends. That started young, but then when I was 14 or 15, I went to Sri Lanka, which was called Ceylon on the experiment in international living for two or three months and lived with a family, and traveled in India and Ceylon.
Again, I graduated, I’m going to do this really quickly, I graduated high school early and went to Paris for a year when I was 16, 17, and studied mime in Paris. Now, this is where I began to see movies, really see movies for the first time. I didn’t speak French very well, and you didn’t have to. I was in a mime school. I would go to the Cinematheque almost every day and watch myriad of films from all over the world. Can’t say foreign films cause I was in France, but it’s where I saw what I would say is the film that really influenced me more than any other, and that would be Kurosawa’s Rashomon, because Rashomon blew my mind as a young creative person, I can’t say writer at the time. I can say creator, because I was, then very shortly after that, I created my own shows.
I worked in theater companies where there were no writers, and the actors developed material themselves. Rashomon is, very quickly, it’s a phenomenal film by Kurosawa, black and white, that tells a story of a rape and murder, and everybody who’s part of that event tells the same story when they’re interrogated from their point of view. So, it’s all about point of view. It’s all about objective and subjective experience, and that’s what to me, when you see The Glorias, the objective experience, or in Frida, are the things that happened, and the places she went, and the people she met, and how she talked, and how they talked and what happened. The subjective is what is she thinking? What don’t you hear her say?
The whole tornado experience that people either love or hate, believe me, that is what she would say, if she dared say it, not exactly, but it’s really only three seconds of time that I created this expanse of hallucination of a whimsical menacing of this sexist interviewer.
Geri Cole: Mm-hmm (affirmative), of what women are actually feeling.
Julie Taymor: Yeah. You know what? I’ve been in interviews this past two weeks, people say, well, what was that? Or even, if that’s the scene that the New York Times picked for the anatomy of a scene, and I said, “Well, think about Hillary Clinton.” Think about Hillary in the debates four years ago, when that big red menace was stocking behind her. In her documentary, Hillary, she’s even asked this. What was she thinking when that was happening? What didn’t she say? I find that to be a landscape, especially in stories of women or minorities or anything, what aren’t they saying? Because if they open their mouths they will get the big BW, if they’re a woman, bitch witch. If they’re African-American, look at how Obama was able to not be the angry black man. You know what I mean? And women, Kamala doesn’t even have to open her mouth, and she’s the … you know what I mean? The stereotypes.
I wanted to show how … The thing about Gloria is she’s non-confrontational, she doesn’t like confrontation. You see that in a scene with Bella Abzug, but also, she laughs at the ends of her sentences. Watch very closely Julianne Moore. She laugh, when she gives criticism or says something that’s astounding, she almost laughs on all of it, and then says, “Right.” Then she can be critical and say, “Well, this is my uniform, black t-shirt and black jeans and black boots. It’s more comfortable than your uniform.” The tie pinching you, and she’s smiling, and those cuffs, you go up and down. But then I go into a hallucination, the room turns red, and I let it spiral into a kind of Mac Beth witches and Harry Potter witches and the Handmaid’s Tale and the Wizard of Oz. really, when you come back to reality to the objective experience, you realize that actually she didn’t say anything.
But as a writer and director, what that scene allowed me to do was to transition from the Alicia Vikander, younger Gloria, who can’t find her voice, hasn’t yet found her voice, is finding her voice, to the 41 year old Gloria Steinem who decides enough is enough, let’s start Ms. Magazine, and is that a good idea? She does it with Flo and Dorothy and the other women who are the editors. They start to create a magazine to put their voice out. So, it functions in the script kind of midway, and its purpose is to also help make that transition, because at the beginning of the scene, it’s Alicia Vikander in the interviewee chair, and at the end, it’s Julianne Moore, and now we … not that they don’t enter each other scenes throughout the movie, but the bulk of the story now we’ll move into Ms. Magazine and onwards.
Geri Cole: Of where she finds her voice.
Julie Taymor: That’s what I was saying about me. I’m always traveling. I spent four years in Indonesia. At the same time, Gloria, when she graduated Smith and went to India for two years, I graduated Oberlin on a traveling fellowship in visual theater and went to Indonesia, Eastern Europe and Japan, and I spent three months in Indonesia, decided to stay and start a theater company and wrote, and created two original theater pieces there and toured throughout Sumatra, Java and Bali, and wrote my first screenplay about that. Never got produced, went to Sundance. Yeah, never got produced.
Geri Cole: Could still. I’d love to see that.
Julie Taymor: I have it somewhere. I know what the title was. It was On Sandia. I did it as theater then. I took the screenplay and did it as theater and toured throughout Indonesia with it and brought it to LA MaMa in New York, did it with Bill Irwin and a lot of Indonesian performers, but I never transformed it back into a screenplay. No one was interested in Indonesia. They were interested in China. I said, “It’s the fifth largest population in the world,” but no one cared. No one cared. A lot of my interests though, like I told you about the grand delusion is the updated Transposed Heads, which is an Indian legend. I’d love to do that as … it is a movie musical script. We’re dying to find producers for that.
I’m doing one, the screenplay that I’m writing now is Pan-Asian, it’s Korean-based, but it’s also futuristic, so it’s non country, every kind of race is in it. But it would be more Asia because the inspiration is from Asian mythology, Korean mythology. I have another one I’m adapting with Olivia Hetreed is the writer, a fabulous writer from England, Erica Jong’s book, Fanny, and it’s called Hackabout. This is my first TV series. We don’t necessarily have the company to do it, but we have the two first episodes, which I think are brilliantly written by Olivia. In that case, I worked as the person who got the book and wanted her to write it. This is a kind of language that wouldn’t come necessarily naturally to me. My first movie I wrote, Fool’s Fire, it was done for American Playhouse, adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe, Lindsey-Lowe produced. Sometimes I’ve written my own, quite often I co-write and now I’m writing on my own, but I go back and forth and all around.
Geri Cole: We’ll call this a two-part question. I’m curious as to what success looks like to you, how that may have changed over the years. In that, I’d also like to talk about any hard lessons that you’ve won through the years of something that you appreciate now that you wish you had appreciated before.
Julie Taymor: Well, I mean a real Gloria kind of look back, right?
Geri Cole: Yeah.
Julie Taymor: Well, women don’t brag, so it’s hard to do this, but what can I say? The Lion King’s the most successful entertainment in the history of all entertainment. Now, if I were Trump, I’d be beating my chest at the same time. What I can say about that is that it makes me very proud. I adore my collaborators. Disney has done a great job putting it out, getting it there. It’s on hold right now. 90 million people have seen it live theater. We’ve been on every continent except for Antarctica, and frankly, the penguins could care less, but I think it might be playing in Japan right now. Two companies have been there 22 years. It’s a project that I adore still. It still gives me, but it’s a two-fold success.
One is, it’s given me monetary freedom, which means I only do projects I really want to do, because a project is not for a writer, director or creator. It’s not less than two years. Most often is five. With some of these screenplays that I have that I want to do, it’s 10 and even 20 years, then I know that they’re good because they last. But the other side of it is the emotional, spiritual gratification of having people all over the world be effected by a show that … it’s what you were saying in the very beginning, there is a common story to The Lion King. Our version, I’m surprised that the movie, and I probably shouldn’t say this, the updated movie didn’t keep Rafiki as a woman. After twenty-five years of most of the people growing up with Rafiki as a female, and now his story being developed quite a lot in the Broadway musical.
In a way, I’m glad because now there’s still room to do the movie musical of The Lion King, which I’ve been wanting, and Tom Schumacher, we’ve been wanting to do for years and years, but we’re okay with waiting because the theater is still out there, but it is a musical that it’s not African, it’s not American. The creators are from South Africa, from the United States, from Jamaica, from great Britain. We’re from various places, but the story is a prodigal son archetypal story that belongs to every culture. It’s a coming of age story. It does not belong to one culture. When we do it in Japan, they get it as much as they do in Shanghai. When I go to each of these countries and we adapted into the local language, I find out the hardest thing to adapt is humor. Humor is local. Humor is local.
You can have Nathan Lane in the movie, and the original movie have Borscht Belt Jewish humor, it ain’t going to translate to French.
Geri Cole: It doesn’t travel.
Julie Taymor: It doesn’t travel. When we did it in Shanghai, which I adored working there in Mandarin, we saw that the relationship between the hyenas and the lions that was inner city in America, which didn’t play well, even in England. There is a line you can cross that becomes racist for people. On the other hand, there’s a truth to certain things, so you do it. But in China, it was Shanghai versus Beijing. Or in Japan, it was Osaka versus Tokyo. The Tokyo Heights look down on the Osakans, and vice versa. There’s a class difference, there’s a dialect difference, and this caused eruptions of laughter that we, the creators, wouldn’t get, but we trusted our Chinese counterparts who helped do the adaptation to say, This is really funny.” Oh, is it?
Then, in China, I added one new character. This was after 20 years of not having new characters added. I added monkey, because monkey in China, the Monkey King is like one of the greatest trickster characters, and so in the trickster section of The Lion King, I just can’t wait to be King. There was monkey added to it, and monkey, I designed the costumes and I sculpted the masks. I made a character that was also … had a combination between Beijing picking opera style and African fabrics. It was a really and high style makeup and the picking opera style. My joy is seeing and learning. I could tell you many stories about what happens when you take this Broadway show, but you’re doing it … like in South Africa when we went back and did it there, in America, Timon and Pumbaa usually are played by Caucasian actors.
There’s like three or four roles that white people can play, let’s put it that way. It’s reverse racism. Okay? We acknowledge it. But this was 25 years ago when we did it, and frankly, having a lot of African-Americans onstage and Africans that wasn’t about racism, a show that was not about racism, was revolutionary and it was a first. It was before Obama, so you were too young, but you have to think about this. No kid had seen, no black kid, African-American kid, had ever seen a African King or a black King on stage with a white brother who’s the bad guy. That hadn’t been done. Now we’re in South Africa, years later, doing it. Even though Timon and Pumbaa are a mere cat and a warthog, one’s purple and one’s green, literally, the actors who performed them, though they have makeup on their faces, you can tell what race they are.
A white South African Afrikaners played Pumbaa, and a black South African from Cape town, from the townships in Cape town, which I have to tell you, is like, if you know what apartheid was, these two actors playing those parts was part of the story. This is what moves me as a director. I get to see how, in the rehearsals and in the translation or adaptation, who the actors are playing, it brought as much meaning to the script or to the event as the script itself. Because think about it, Timon and Pumbaa are outcasts. They’re outcasts. They were out of the city. The way I interpret it for these actors, I said, “You missed apartheid. You didn’t know you were best friends. You were on the fringe. You were out there. You didn’t know that you weren’t supposed to be best friends,” and that’s how they played it.
When the audiences came in to see this, they were astonished, because there was a story within the story, and that’s what live theater can do. That’s the exciting thing live theater. That’s why you asked me about moving back and forth in between. I get something out of each medium. I do cinematic theater in the theater, because of course, Lion King is very cinematic. You start with a wide shot, which is the circle of life, and you cut to the little mouse, which is an extreme closeup. How do I get focus? In movies, which are very movie-like, the things that I do in The Glorias, can’t be done on stage. A lot of it is CGI. It takes a lot of time, but I also try to be very visceral, very handmade in my visual effects. You’ll see that, I use animation, but the scene where Julianne Moore, Gloria is running on a conveyor belt, which is a highway, she’s running on a conveyor belt.
We took that and then we painted in the highway, and I want it to look very handmade. A lot of Across the Universe is extremely handmade looking the combination. So, it has a theatrical feel to it, but can I do that in the theater? No way. I love in cinema to write and create imagery that I can only do in cinema. I would find a way to do it in the theater, but it wouldn’t look like that. It would be … one of my favorite surreal scenes is when the 12-year old Gloria comes home from the barbershop in the police car and she’s going through her dark depressed neighborhood, knowing she’s going back to a mother who is hysterical and screaming. Hysterical in a mental way, not in a funny way, and she’s dying to go to Hollywood and be a dancer. I wanted people to see that about Gloria.
She wants to be a tap dancer. So, her neighborhood starts to transform in her eyes into, this is the 1940s, into the heyday of the ’30s in Hollywood, and we get to see Hollywood reflected on the glass, and she becomes the Gloria on the bus now. She’s the Gloria on the bus, and you see Fred Astaire leaping off of a marquee tap dancing on her window. I couldn’t do that on the stage.
Geri Cole: Yeah.
Julie Taymor: I could do tap dancing, I could do flashing lights. That’s pretty Broadway, but it would come off differently. I would say that’s highly theatrical filmmaking, and in The Glorias, you get three different kinds. You get the archival, which is … that’s documentary footage. A documentary, we shot the woman’s march. That’s our footage of Gloria, mixed with other footage that we had to license. But then you have the acted scenes and Rodrigo Prieto, who is a DP, who I’ve done three movies with now, beginning with the Fridas, lighting, the whole shebang. You’re making those scenes, and then you get the surreal moments, which are kind of the way that I look at inner storytelling. That’s the way I get to another level, which I think cinema offers. I love the early filmmakers like Murnau and Melies, and Fritz Lang. I love, before they could take a camera and go out on location, they were creating their locations.
It was German expressionism or impressionism, and it was very theatrical, but cinematic. Sunrise is one of the most beautiful movies that you’ve ever seen, and that is because of their limitations. In a way, limitation was freedom. In Frida, we had a low budget, I think it was $11 million, and in the screenplay, it said they have a scene on 5th Avenue, walking, Diego and Frida are walking down 5th Avenue looking at the store windows. Then there’s another scene, she’s in Paris and all this stuff in Paris. We didn’t have the money. Thank God, Because what happened was my fabulous production designers was a Mexican team, Felipe Fernandez, we created our own version of a walkthrough New York, through archival material, screen screening Frida and Diego walking through a collage, Allah, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo style painting, and it made it much more expansive.
With limitation, we had a broader perspective shown. For Paris, I noticed that in Puebla and Mexico City, there was a lot of iron work like New Orleans that looked very French, the architecture. By limiting the color palette in the French scenes to pastels and only shooting in these environments, I could create Paris. In the New York sequences, it’s all black, white and metallic colors and we created art deco scenery, the art director. Though the screenplay called for real locations, we didn’t have the financing to do that. Same with The Glorias, except for India, we really went, most of the movies shot in Savannah, so we had to create Sturgis and the biker thing. We had to create these backgrounds and the taxis through archival, but also sometimes through layering. I find that exciting. That’s what filmmaking can do.
Geri Cole: Yeah. That working within certain limitations actually opens up possibilities that you wouldn’t have found otherwise.
Julie Taymor: Yeah. When people have a lot of money, too much money, sometimes they try, and I’m not talking about Spider-Man here because you also asked a question I should answer about difficulties, bad experiences or good bad experiences, but Lion King, there was never a question of you’re spending too much, you’re not spending … we never talked about money. Still, one of the most successful transitions is going from this giant wide shot of the circle of life to a cutout of cardboard, a little mouse with a stick and a flashlight lit as a shadow. It costs about 50 cents moving across the big screen, the big drop with light. It doesn’t need money. It’s a concept. It’s how you use the tools that you’re given. And why do you use a mask, and why do you use a puppet? Or why would you use a human?
I don’t always use masks and puppets, only when it’s necessary. That’s a whole nother discussion, but I have had some deeply success, positive freedom speaking around the world, affecting people’s lives, all of it. That’s what we love as artists, the shamanistic experience of really moving people. Perhaps, I remember with Frida, one digression, when Frida open in Australia, I was there opening The Lion King, and a woman came up to me and said, “I just saw the movie Frida, and I have cancer, and I know I’m going to die within six months. Your movie of Frida and how she treated pain in her life has given me a whole different perspective or idea,” I don’t know what her words were, “of how to deal with the joy and the beauty and the color in my life.”
Now, if we, as artists can even have one or two of these kinds of experiences of touching someone deeper than just, oh, that was fun, oh I could … then we’ve done our job, then we’ve done it. Entertainment is really important. But I lament the fact that people are watching The Glorias not in a big group, because we had 1,000 people on opening night, our premiere in Sundance, and the visceral feeling of a large audience, the communal experience of people laughing together, especially when there’s humor, and there’s a lot of humor and Gloria Steinem and Flo Kennedy and Bella Abzug. That’s sad. But anyway, so I was going to answer your question, because I truly digressed, is that Spider-Man was the darkest experience I’ve ever had, because it was … I didn’t see it right away, but the misogyny was palpable, and Gloria helped me see that because she loved the version that was the script.
The script was co-written and then the writer basically ditched it. I don’t want to talk about it, I’ve never really talked about it publicly, but what happens when … We were so famous, me, Bono Edge, Marvel, Spider-Man that, I hate to say it, but Ben Brantley had the knives out before even a script was written. He called it vulgar. He called it vulgar, the concept of bringing Spider-Man to Broadway. Now they’ve done how many comic books and stuff like that. Our script, which I still think was a great script, we just never got to finish because people choked, they got scared. We never finished it. It never got out on stage. Knowing that and all the falsehoods and all the crap that was in the paper, I’d never experienced that kind of witch hunt before.
It took my African-American colleague and friend, the actor, Harry Lennix, who from a distance from LA said, “Julie, if you were a black man, this wouldn’t have happened to you. You have to understand that. You’re not looking at what I’m seeing here.” I didn’t, because I put blinders on. I couldn’t work if I had to say, oh, this is happening because I’m a woman. I didn’t, I just do the work, but later on hindsight. Now the thing about it is that my Trial by Fire wasn’t Spider-Man, it was living in Indonesia at age 21. It was dealing with an interrupting volcano, it was dealing with a bus and truck accident when my company was on route to our first performance in Sulawesi, Java, and we crashed. It was dealing with being a woman and a foreigner in a country for four years.
It was dealing with these incredibly catastrophic things that happened, and we got through it. It was amazingly difficult. After time, when I am in the midst of something like the debacle of Spider-Man and how it seemed like you’re drowning, I just kept stepping outside of it. Looking at it from above and going, okay, this will be a huge scar, but nonetheless, it will be a warrior scar. If I can just stay above it or out of it and look at it as not the end of the world, but as part of a life experience, and there was this … I was at a Ted conference, right in the midst of the highest point of chaos, and not everybody knew this was happening, but an incredible woman came up to me, an Indian woman, at the conference and she said, “I want you to come to speak at Ted India next year.”
I said, “I’m going through this shit right now.” And she says, “You got to go to India. You’ve got to come and you will see how this fits into the entire life experience, that you can see it in a valuable way.” She was right. You see, this is the thing. I don’t want to go into the Spider-Man stuff now, but it is an amazing story, and it’s something that does teach you ultimately, even as painful and as dire as it was, and I feel sad just that people didn’t get to experience what we had been working on, that it got aborted.
Geri Cole: Well, I’d still like to see that film about your experience in four years in Indonesia and your theater company, so I hope that you’re still planning on hiding that because that sounds like an exciting story of yes, a young woman in a foreign country. It sounds incredible. I know we are out of time. I just wanted to say thank you so much again for talking with us today.
Julie Taymor: Oh, thank you so much, Geri. Have a great day.
Geri Cole: Thank you. You as well. That’s it for this episode. OnWriting is a production of the Writers Guild of America East. Tech production and original music is by Stockboy Creative. You can learn more about the Writers Guild of America East online at wgaeast.org, and you can follow the Guild on social media at WGAEast. If you like this podcast, please subscribe and rate us. I’m Geri Cole. Thank you for listening, and ride on.