Director, screenwriter, painter, photographer, and musician Gus Van Sant revitalized the American independent film movement and was nominated for Academy Awards for Good Will Hunting and Milk. Before talking with architect Brad Cloepfil about art, inspirations, and Portland, Van Sant offered some advice and revealed what he snacks on in the dark at the movies.
Q. What’s your favorite movie snack?
A. Milk duds.
Q. What is the strangest place you’ve ever had a meeting?
A. I’m not sure-it’s always Chinese restaurants.
Q. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
A. To be invisible.
Q. When did you last laugh out loud?
A. When I read about the Iran murder plot, by the Texas-Iranian car salesman who had hired an impostor Zeta member to kill the Saudi ambassador to Iran.
Q. What scares you?
A. Physical violence.
Q. What’s your favorite thing about Los Angeles?
A. The weather.
Q. What is the best advice you’ve received lately?
A. Steve Jobs made it popular, but it’s been my advice as well: “Don’t let other people tell you what to do.” I gave a talk at graduation at my old high school, and my advice was, “Don’t let your parents tell you what to do”-as far as advancing in your life and doing what you want.
Q. When did you last break a sweat?
A. I exercise every day, so today-this afternoon, swimming.
Q. Where was the last great party you went to?
A. A small house party last winter in Portland.
Q. What do you think is underrated?
A. There’s a group in Portland called the Zoobombers; they’re underrated. I don’t know if they’re rated at all.
*Photo by Aaron Salcido.