"The studio was like the girlfriend who will never tell you you're lousy in bed, but she'll tell all her friends," he says. "It was like they were afraid to tell me what was wrong, so the process never ended. It came to a point where I couldn't work anymore with a group of people who were so...I can't say...I can't say they. There was one specific executive who unfortunately had the most involvement who was so deceitful and so dishonest and such a bald-faced slanderous liar, and it was just this miserable experience, and by the end, you were so demoralized...I would have loved to have seen the movie I know was there...I would have loved to have seen them be human." He says the last thing very softly and very sadly.
Soon enough, he will have his revenge. McQuarrie has a handful of projects in front of him (including a screenplay for the big-screen redo of the 1960s TV series The Prisoner), and he has just completed his script for The Green Hornet, which he pitched to Universal as being "no super, just heroes." It's a movie in which bored rich men play dress-up, in which being a superhero is nothing but the ultimate status symbol. McQuarrie would like nothing more than to direct The Green Hornet, but expects nothing. Maybe he'll get the gig if The Way of the Gun does well at the box office. Or maybe Universal will give the movie to one of Jerry Bruckheimer's boys. It no longer matters. After the last six years, what more could any of them do to Chris McQuarrie? Not a damned thing.
"I'm beyond that now, because they have already co-opted me," he says, chuckling. "If they hadn't, I wouldn't have made The Way of the Gun. My wife will tell you I am the kind of person who will eat and eat and eat and eat and eat all the shit you give me, because I'm a writer and that's what writers do, and then at a certain point, I become cornered. If you just pull out that one last turd and ask me to eat it, I will freak out on you. That's The Way of the Gun. I was pushed into a corner, and I finally responded by saying, 'This is how I feel.' There was a lot of anger when I wrote it. But it's kind of a peaceful thing where I've finally come back to the place where I'm writing because I like writing, and I don't care if people see it. I don't care if I'm never allowed to make the one great perfect all-expressing film I wanted to make."
And, for a second, you might actually believe him.