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Henry Jaglom / Filmmaker

April 26, 1998|Steve Hochman

Watch out, James Cameron. Henry Jaglom is sailing into big-budget waters--his new "Deja Vu" cost a whopping $3.5 million, the most he's spent in his 29-year, 12-film career. But this third collaboration with his writer-actress wife, Victoria Foyt, is still the 56-year-old, Santa Monica-based filmmaker's trademark semi-improvised, conversation-intensive (and effects-free) style.

DEFINITION OF TERMS: "Orson liked to use the word 'maverick.' He felt it was the only word that fit for people like us. He didn't like the word 'independent' because that could fit people who were just outsiders because they didn't fit in. Mavericks choose to be outside of the order."

BLACK INK: "My films make a surprisingly handsome profit. When you make films inexpensively they don't have to appeal to every 14-year-old in Iowa. 'Eating' made seven times what it cost, and 'Last Summer in the Hamptons' made nine times what it cost."

BIG DEAL: "One studio executive recently said, 'My wife makes me see all your movies. How'd you like to make a real film?' I said, 'What's a real film?' He said, 'Thirty, thirty-five million.' I said, 'Give me the $30 million and I'll come back in five years with five films and I guarantee you make a profit.' He said, 'That's not a deal.' It's all deal-making, not movie-making."

STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY: "Since Victoria has been my co-writer, she has been pushing me more toward narrative. She likes structure. Interesting that the box office has gone up considerably since then. People like story, and I'm less and less against it. It used to seem uncinematic to think about event, but I'm enjoying it now."

SCREEN TEST: "We had a screening [of "Deja Vu"] where we said to friends, 'If your husbands or boyfriends hate my movies, bring them.' We had very few walkouts. I don't know if it's a compliment or insult."

EXCLUSIVE CLUB: "John Sayles I'm full of admiration for, same with Woody Allen, Mike Leigh, Gillian Armstrong. The oldest one still making the films he wants is Bob Altman--people who are not making films as business or sales tools, but to really reflect a sensibility of their own. And despite the fact that he makes huge-budget films, James Brooks is a true maverick."

PRIDE OF OWNERSHIP: "Now I've done 12 films, and frame for frame, love them or hate them, they're my films."

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