Paul Thomas Anderson sits next to the hand-cranked camera used to film the first part of the prologue of Magnolia (1999)
"We broke the film down into five sequences, and D was where everything spirals out of control after Dirk has been fired. It was sort of notorious - in shooting it, matching didn’t matter, so everybody could get freed up: ‘It’s sequence D, it’s a fucking free for all, cocaine madness.’ So the camera moves to reflect that. That sequence in Goodfellas where Ray Liotta is running around, everybody responded to it. I got this sick to my stomach feeling.
I was working as a messenger in LA at the time and I would do coke all day long and run around. I swear Goodfellas accurately portrayed what that feels like. There’s one shot in that Boogie Nights sequence that I really feel good about, when Heather Graham snorts a line of coke and the focus shifts from the mirror to the coke to her and it’s blurry for half a second; it’s a very quick shot, then it whips over to Julianne Moore and then Heather brings her head up. That’s the one shot where I can go, yeah, that’s what it was like to my eye. If you’ve ever leaned down to do a line, it’s a really odd moment where you feel gross about what you’re doing but you’re in this panic and frenzy. You’re so close to something your eye is trying to adjust. It’s this weird, blurry feeling."
Paul Thomas Anderson on Boogie Nights and cocaine.
"The one thing I remember thinking initially when I was trying to make films, you always feel like—you got nervous that somebody else was right who was talking to you. Who was in a position of power, that their opinion somehow was right or better than yours. I could never stop to think that “No, it’s just different. You just think differently than I do and that’s okay. But I’m not wrong.” You can be filled with such fear. And it’s really easy to just get your heart broken and kind of beaten. You’re sort of attempting to make films… It’s a miracle any time one of them gets made. It’s a miracle. It’s a miracle every time a scene gets done. It’s never any less of a miracle or any less difficult… There just should be no fear. Just don’t give a fuck. That’s kinda the best thing to do."