AS: Evolve through the progression of the story…
JF: Yes. So in The New World I built a couple of buildings to add over time so it looked like the settlers had been there for a year. I installed them one weekend and then Terry wanted to shoot something that was from the first year. And I said, Okay but we can’t shoot that building because it’s not up yet! And he said, Don’t worry, I won’t see it! Trust me! He started shooting and there’s no controlling Terry. I borrowed an orange parka and I went and stood in front of that building. He was shooting the scene and getting excited and they were moving around with a Steadycam and the ADs said to me, Get out of the shot! Get out of the shot! But I just stood there. And then Terry comes around and the camera locks on this orange parka and he starts laughing. He knew he’d been caught.
Terry always says, I will never embarrass you, you’ll have final say. If there’s something you don’t want in the film I’ll take it out. And he says that to Chivo too. So I don’t really have to fear.
AS: With your main residence in Virginia do you find it hard to be away from Hollywood?
JF: For the kind of films I do I could be anywhere. I go back and forth. When I lived in California, in Topanga Canyon, I found I was only there three months out of the year. I like being away from Hollywood because in Hollywood you’re exposed to the business so much you lose track of the real world. Where I live there’s nobody in the business. We live on a farm.
I was painting some barns on a cherry picker with my airless-sprayer the other day and I started thinking I could paint a town with this thing in three days. I’m still always thinking about film. I use all the tools that our construction people use. I’m familiarizing myself with solutions to problems that may come up. Our farm is this big art project.
AS: Do you have a bunch of animals?
JF: We have less now. We have a few horses and dogs. But at one time we had chickens and we had up to 55 horses. When we had all those animals I wasn’t designing very much. And now, as I’m getting older I’m more excited about design. I want to do more films. I’m back at the farm now but I’ve been gone two years working three films back to back. And the first of the year it’s gonna start up again and it could be another year before I get back.
AS: What’s the next one coming up?
JF: My wife [Sissy Spacek] is directing a film in Arkansas in the spring. And Terry’s got two films coming up. And I know Paul wants to do another film. And I’ve been talking to some other directors about films. I don’t now exactly which ones are going to follow Terry’s but there are a lot of films out there. A lot of films I’d really like to do.