Cimino with Eastwood on the set of Thunderbolt and Lightfoot.
Controversial Oscar-winning director Michael Cimino avoids interviews at all costs and hasn't spoken at length to a main stream publication in over a decade. However, Hollywood Reporter writer Seth Abramovitch convinced Cimino to engage in an extensive discussion of his career. The result is rather mesmerizing, as Cimino waxes about his passion for classic films (particularly those involving John Ford and John Wayne) and his respect for Clint Eastwood, who gave him his first job as director on the 1973 film "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot". In fact, Cimino spends a good part of the interview invoking Eastwood's name and praising him as one of the best filmmakers working today. However, he also goes into detail regarding the political aspects of his 1978 Oscar winner "The Deer Hunter" and laments the fact that he was painted as a right wing fanatic in the wake of the film's release. He also takes satisfaction in the reappraisal his massive 1980 boxoffice bomb "Heaven's Gate" is enjoying with both critics and audiences. At times sarcastic and even cynical, Cimino is nevertheless a fascinating character in his own right. (Oh, and he denies long-standing rumors that he is undergoing a sex change operation!). Click here to read.