My Favourite Movies | Neil Burger

Hot Corn’s column in which musicians, actors, artists, directors tell us about their favourite movies

With a diverse range of projects to his name, most recently Neil Burger could be found directing Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart in the Intouchables remake The Upside. Was it a challenge to bring a much loved story to the big screen and inject a sense of originality about it? Of course. But it wasn’t as hard as taking part in the Hot Corn ‘My Favourite Movies’ feature series, where we ask filmmakers to discuss with us the movies that inspired them.

Neil Burger directing Kevin Hart in The Upside

What’s the first movie you fell in love with? It’s a hard thing, because there are films I fell in love with as a really young child, but then films that really influenced me as a filmmaker. The movie that made me want to be a filmmaker was Nosferatu, the original Nosferatu, which I saw on TV once and it was so strange and so powerful, and so transporting in a very, uncanny way that I just thought – what is this. I want to create something that transports people the way I feel like I’m being transported.

Freaky, innit

What’s the one film you never get tired of watching? La Dolce Vita. I mean there’s a number of films, Dr. Strangelove too. Raging Bull. Those three.

Cool, innit

Your favourite movie soundtrack? That’s a hard one. But I will that Philip Glass did the soundtrack to The Illusionist and I got to sit with him, and he’s arguably one of the greatest living composers, and I got to sit with him as he essentially wrote a symphony for me, for my movie. I got to watch that happen, and that was an incredible experience.

Since we’re on a black and white theme, here’s Philip Glass, in monochrome

What’s your guilty pleasure? I just saw Mary Poppins Returns last night, and it’s not a guilty pleasure, but it’s not a movie I thought I would be interested in. It’s such a throwback, and also remaking something in a daunting way and it’s very successfully done and can really hold its own with the original, and those wonderful musicals of the 50s and 60s.

Emily Blunt in Mary Poppins Returns

What’s the one scene that always makes you cry?  There isn’t one!



Your favourite ever remake? Oooh that’s a good question. I thought the Planet of the Apes movies were really well done, that was one of the important movies going back to when I was a kid, watching the Charles Heston coming upon the Statue of Liberty was a pretty profound thing to see in a movie, and I thought they did them pretty well when they were remade.

Yes, that’s an ape with a machine gun.

The Upside is out in cinemas now

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