Director Doug Liman likes that there’s so much buzz about space these days and takes a teensy part of the credit after news (broken by Deadline) last year that he plans to shoot a film up there with Tom Cruise in collaboration with Elon Musk’s SpaceX and NASA.
“It’s good. If we can inspire kids to study science. I grew up dreaming about going into space,” said Liman, who also directed Cruise on American Made and Edge of Tomorrow and has helmed hits from Mr. & Mrs. Smith and The Bourne Identity to Go and Swingers. He spoke Tuesday on a sunny roof deck at Spring Studios in downtown Manhattan during a Directors Talk Q&A at the Tribeca Festival.
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“I’m a bit snobby about it because Blue Origin is not going very high. Like, it’s space, but it’s not. I really think the moon or beyond is space,” Liman told Deadline.
Prodded by interviewer Jason Hirschhorn, CEO of digital content curation company Redef Group, Liman recalled his first film, of dogs in Central Park, and his first critic, his older sister, saying: “It’s just dogs sh*tting, Whose going to want to to watch that?”
“It was hard to track dogs running and the only time they stop is when they poop,” Liman said he explained. And he was only 6.
Eventually came Liman’s sleeper hit Swingers followed by an arduous but ultimately victorious campaign to make The Bourne Identity. It included a hair-raising solo flight to author Robert Ludlum’s home in the Glacier National Park in Grand Teton.
As the entertainment industry changes rapidly, Liman said he’s wowed by the quality of work and the originality of streaming content on television, though he mourns big movie palaces like the Ziegfeld in New York City, which is now an events space. However, he noted that Swingers (from 1996) literally disappeared on the big screen – “it was as though it never happened“ – but took flight later on home video. “Suddenly the country saw the film. Maybe it didn’t need to be in a big theater.”
Liman’s TV credits include two seasons of the series Impulse. He served as executive producer of Suits, the first season of The O.C. and five seasons of Covert Affairs.