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Veteran filmmaker and Facebook provocateur Paul Schrader announced a one-month sabbatical from posting on the social media platform as of Aug. 3.
The timing was not coincidental: He’s got a new film and the distributor asked him to cut it out. “[Focus Features] has asked me to chill on FB for a month. No problem. See you on the other side,” he wrote. “Card Counter opens Sept. 10.”
It’s not the first time Schrader has been asked by a distributor to “chill.” In 2018, the request came from A24, his partner on the critically acclaimed First Reformed, a film that earned Schrader an Oscar nomination for best original screenplay. To avoid jeopardizing a play for the podium, Schrader paused posting from November through February after catching fire for a post that revealed he hoped to cast disgraced actor Kevin Spacey in a new film project. “I believe there are crimes in life but not crimes in art,” Schrader wrote in the post, which was subsequently deleted. “Spacey should be punished for any crimes his actual person created. But not for art. All art is a crime. Punishing him as an artist only diminishes art.”
Schrader’s Facebook posts are savored by thousands of fans and followers. A Twitter account — @paul_posts — curates his musings for some 14,800 followers but seems to have missed a recent one that preceded the hiatus. Earlier in the day on Aug. 3 — the same day of a bombshell report accusing New York Governor Andrew Cuomo of misconduct and harassment of female staffers — Schrader offered up this query: “Is it really so hard to keep from touching attractive women in your presence if they work for you? Yes, it is. The evidence seems conclusive. But it can be done.”
Last year, as the COVID-19 pandemic was causing widespread production shutdowns, Schrader used Facebook to call out his team in not the nicest of ways. “Production halted five days before wrap by my pussified producers because an L.A. day player had the coronavirus,” he posted. “Myself, I would have shot through hellfire rain to complete the film. I’m old and asthmatic, what better way to die than on the job?”
Focus Features did not respond to a request for comment.
A version of this story first appeared in the Aug. 11 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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