Good Old Boy

Tommy Lee Jones saddles up

In the press notes, you've cited several filmmakers and artists as sources of visual inspiration for the film, some of which, like Sam Peckinpah and Akira Kurosawa, are easy to understand; others of which, like the minimalist sculptor Donald Judd and installation artist Dan Flavin, are less obvious.

I would often sit around the monitor while things were being set up and ask different people if they thought there was any emotion in geometry. And they would say, "What?" And I would say, "Do you have any feeling for triangles? Hexagons?" There's a geometry to the film that I find very pleasing. I think Judd's work is highly intellectual and deeply emotional. And of course the influence of Flavin is obvious in the lighting, but nowhere more so than in the scene at the clinic where the border patrolman gets cured of his snakebite.

A decade transpired betweenThe Good Old Boys and this film. Has directing been a pleasant experience for you and is it something you look forward to doing with greater frequency?

The inner life of hexagons
The inner life of hexagons

Hell, those were some of the happiest days of my creative life—these two movies that I've directed. I'm very happy doing that. It just takes a while to get it organized. Of course, I had other things to do—raising kids; raising cattle; raising, training and selling horses; then looking for good material and people who you're truly interested in working with. A guy like Guillermo Arriaga doesn't come along every day. And neither do I.


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