Interview: Oliver Stone on the Red Carpet at the 50th Chicago International Film Festival

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CHICAGO – Love him or not, Oliver Stone is one of the most important directors of the last generation. The creator of “Born on the Fourth of July,” “JFK,” “Platoon,” “Nixon” and “Any Given Sunday” was at the 50th Chicago International Film Festival to introduce his director’s cut for “Alexander” and “Natural Born Killers.”

Oliver Stone
Oliver Stone at the 50th Chicago International Film Festival
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for was on the Red Carpet – with photographer Joe Arce – to get a few questions with the amazing Mr. Stone, and as usual he delivers the goods. What is it about Chicago and the Chicago International Film Festival that is ideal to showcase your director’s cuts of ‘Alexander’ and ‘Natural Born Killers’?

Oliver Stone: The festival idea from [Founder] Michael Kutza means that Chicago was the forerunner of other big city film festivals, and he did it long before them. I first came in during 1991, and in 1995 when I received an honor here. As far as Chicago in general, Roger Ebert played a very important role in my early career, he was very supportive when my early films were being ignored. The first critic’s prize I ever received was from the Chicago Film Critics Association, and probably my last. [laughs] That really raised my spirits. Because of your film ‘JFK,’ you participated in many of the recent 50th anniversary forums. What did the media get wrong about that anniversary, and how does that continue a pattern of wrongness since the assassination itself?

Stone: The treatment was incredibly shabby again, and I felt that the coverage was more fair when the film first came out in 1991. The reaction to the film has always been intense, and ‘conspiracy’ in association with the film has become the media mantra. The point is the original information that was released about the assassination in 1963 was off, every single fact that the media said was a fact was off. The case was never made, and it’s going back to the original evidence that was never examined properly.

The best source I have read recently is ‘Reclaiming Parkland’ by James DiEugenio. He takes apart Vincent Bugliosi’s ‘Reclaiming History.’ Bugliosi is a prosecutor, but he’s not a honest man. There was a recent documentary by Rory Kennedy called ‘The Last Days in Vietnam.’ As a veteran yourself, where were you and what was your reaction to the Fall of Saigon?

Stone: In 1975 I was a struggling screenwriter, and I was in New York City. I would say my reaction was numb. It was over. I’d seen the war as a mistake but at that time I wasn’t coming to terms with it.

The 50th Chicago International Film Festival concludes on October 23rd, 2014, with the Closing Night film, “Wild.” Click here for information and to purchase tickets. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Senior Staff Writer

© 2014 Patrick McDonald,

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