Peter Weir, Australian Director, Announces His Retirement

Peter Weir, Australian Director, Announces His Retirement

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Peter Weir, the legendary Australian director, has announced his retirement. Speaking last week at the Festival Cinémathèque in Paris, where he was an honored guest, he said, “Why did I stop cinema? Because, quite simply, I have no more energy.”

Weir, who turns 80 in August, directed acclaimed films like Gallipoli, The Truman Show, and Dead Poets Society, but he has not made a movie since The Way Back, which debuted way back in 2010. He had most recently been attached to direct Johnny Depp in Shantaram until he leaving the project due to creative differences. It had been speculated that Weir might resurface to work on a Master and Commander sequel, but it’s now clear that he’s folding up his director’s chair for good.

This is not the first time Weir hinted at retirement. In 2022, he told Garry Maddox of the Sydney Morning Herald: “For film directors, like volcanoes, there are three major stages: active, dormant and extinct. I think I’ve reached the latter! Another generation is out there calling ‘action’ and ‘cut’ and good luck to them.”

It’s been suggested that Weir simply grew tired of the pressures he endured in dealing with some of the actors in his recent films. Eric Hawke, who starred in Dead Poets Society, was quoted in a 2022 interview with IndieWire as saying, “I think he lost interest in movies. He really enjoyed that work when he didn’t have actors giving him a hard time. Russell Crowe and Johnny Depp broke him. He’s someone so rare these days, a popular artist.”

As Hawke continued: “He makes mainstream movies that are artistic. To have the budget to do The Truman Show or Master and Commander, you need a Jim Carrey or Russell Crowe. I think Harrison Ford and Gerard Depardieu were his sort of actors. They were director-friendly and didn’t see themselves as important.”

Weir did not agree with this evaluation, however. He told Gary Maddox that “this quote of Ethan’s must have been taken out of context. I find it puzzling.”

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