Hal Ashby made seven classic films in ten years, a string that few filmmakers can match. Yet the dawn of the 1980s also marked the end of his career, and the longevity of directors such as Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg has rendered Ashby an afterthought.
Amy Scott has launched a campaign on popular crowdfunding site Indiegogo to raise money for a documentary about Ashby and his disappearance from the annals of Hollywood.
“He made an unprecedented streak of films in the ’70s that were these incredible iconographic films,” Scott told TheWrap. “We’re trying to figure out exactly what happened in the 1980s. He was marginalized as a filmmaker.”
Scott is an editor who has worked on social-issue documentaries. Now Scott wants to break into directing, and a film about another editor-turned director appealed. Ashby won an Oscar for his editing work on “In the Heat of the Night” before launching into his career as a director. His movies, which include “Harold and Maude,” Shampoo” and Coming Home,” inspired contemporary filmmakers such as Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson and Judd Apatow.
Scott has already interviewed Jane Fonda, and has the support of Ashby’s family, which is executive producing the film. She needs the money to fund production and chase interviews with the likes of Jack Nicholson, who starred Ashby’s “The Last Detail.”
Scott stressed the need to act now, citing the death of Gordon Willis, a renowned cinematographer of the same era who died Sunday.
“It’s important to get the old Hollywood guard before it’s too late,” she said. “No one puts it together that [Ashby] did all of those films.”